It is 2017 and it seems as though people still don’t have a sound understanding of what feminism means. Emma Watson, star of the new Beauty and the Beast film knows this all too well. Last week, Vanity Fair uploaded a picture to Instagram in the lead up to their cover story with the actress.
The image features Watson dressed all in white, shirtless, with only a cropped jacket covering her breasts.
Maturing from Hermione to Belle in @beautyandthebeast is a true coming-of-age story for @EmmaWatson: "I couldn't care less if I won an Oscar or not if the movie didn’t say something that I felt was important for people to hear." Read the full cover story at the link in bio. Photograph by Tim Walker.
The internet police couldn’t live with that though, accusing the Harry Potter star of having a double standard. Why? Apparently feminists can’t show their boobs!
“Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing,” Emma explained in an interview whilst promoting Beauty and the Beast.
Radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer was very vocal on Twitter regarding the Vanity Fair image, calling Emma Watson’s actions hypocritical for complaining about the sexualisation of women before doing the same thing in her own work.
Emma Watson: "Feminism, feminism… gender wage gap… why oh why am I not taken seriously… feminism… oh, and here are my tits!" pic.twitter.com/gb7OvxzRH9
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) March 1, 2017
The double standard concerning female and male nudity is highly concerning. Why can a male actor be shirtless on the cover of any magazine in the planet, but their female counterparts can’t be?
A woman has the right to do as she pleases with her body. She should be able to do so without the opinions of others attempting to tear her down for not fitting their ideal for what a woman should be, for what a feminist should be.
She is controlling how she is seen. She is getting to control the message – and that is the difference between being sexualised and being confident in your body. Sexualisation is from an outsider’s point of view, it is their view of the image.
“She’s an empowered woman who is posing for a very tasteful image. She’s not being exploited, she doing it in a controlling position. It’s a positive use of her body,” Sam Smethers, chief executive of gender equality group Fawcett Society, said to the BBC. He argues that Watson has fought for the rights of women and girls everywhere and that she should not be criticised for this image in the slightest.
I know it can be shocking that a woman can be both brilliant and sexual (note the heavy use of sarcasm), but Emma Watson has done the right thing in hitting back at those who attempt to miscommunicate the idea of feminism. Why? It’s only by calling these people out that we will get to the true definition of feminism and only then can women truly feel comfortable with showcasing their bodies without fear of criticism.