Actress Emma Watson is a proud feminist, she has campaigned for gender equality, started her own feminist book club, and has rightly stated that true feminism is about equality for all, rather than attacking men. However after posing topless for Vanity Fair magazine, she has faced enormous backlash, saying that it’s ironic that she calls herself a feminist but then shows her breasts. Of course Watson has already put her critics in place, but I still want to show my support for her and her actions. Feminism is about gender equality as Emma has stated numerous times, and equality means that women should have sexual freedom to the same extent men do. Although we are all aware that we have not reached equality yet (and thus we must continue to campaign for it), the harsh response to Emma’s photo shoot makes me question if we’re further from equality than I thought we were.
Some people just have an issue with nudity full stop. Personally I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and it’s great to have body confidence, plus after all, it’s just human anatomy; it’s natural, and there’s no point being squeamish about it. However even those who just have a problem with nudity can’t really deny that Watson’s shoot was actually very classy and tasteful, and it’s great to see women being confident in their own skin. Yet the biggest issue arising from the photos is that it goes against her feminist identity. I can understand this if Emma was being forced to take her top off by a sleazy male photographer, but this clearly wasn’t the case judging by Watson’s reaction to her critics. Posing topless was a choice Watson made, and as it was her choice, I applaud her for it. Men have the freedom to take their top off whenever they wish; it’s socially acceptable for men to walk down the street topless, and no one ever tells them that it’s inappropriate, or that they’re doing it for attention. Therefore if you truly are a feminist like Watson and believe in complete gender equality, you should believe that women can express their sexuality to the same extent men can, which means a woman should be able to pose topless without being called an anti feminist. When you consider the true definition of feminism, those who are slamming Watson are the anti feminists, as they are denying women the right to express their sexuality and flaunt their body in the same way men do.
Women are usually critized when they take a revealing picture of themselves, however the reason why Emma particularly has faced such a backlash appears to be because of how frequently she has expressed that she is a feminist. Many female celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna often post sexual pictures on instagram because they are proud (and rightly should be proud) to show off their bodies, yet Watson has faced the most criticism for her nude photos because some say it’s hypocritical that she constantly talks about being a feminist and fights for gender equality, but then takes her top off for the world to see. Watson described the backlash as suprising, as if people were shocked that she ‘has boobs’. It appears that her critics believe feminism and female sexuality cannot co-exist which is against the ideals of equality, meaning Emma’s photo shoot was not a ploy to get attention, but instead was to prove that these two concepts can co-exist, and of course to express her body confidence.
Emma Watson is clearly a beautiful woman with an amazing body that she should be proud to show off just like any man would, because we all have the right to feel confident in our own skin. She is also a true feminist who understands the real meaning of gender equality, and has actually worked for gender equality unlike many so called feminists. Women have every right to express their sexuality and openly believe in gender equality, as men are allowed to do the same. So regardless of the critics, I think Watson’s photo shoot was still in keeping with her feminist ideals, because feminism is about sexual freedom.
For more on Emma Watson’s feminist work please read my Famous feminist icons post.