Emma Watson posed topless for Vanity Fair…so?

Emma Watson, known for being an actress, a UN Goodwill ambassador, for campaigning for HeforShe, and as of yesterday, known for a photo shoot in Vanity Fair where she exposes some flesh (so what?). 

Being a female in 2017, especially a female in the limelight is difficult. Gender equality is still an issue, too often the line between standing up to gender inequality and submissing to the rules of patriarchy is blurred (by covering up you’re following patriarchy but by stripping down you’re following it too).

By posing in a photo where a portion of her breast is on show, Emma Watson is being accused of going against her own feminist ideals. As women, we are advised to cover up i.e. don’t sexualise yourself if you don’t want males to look at you in that way. You can’t win, but no one should cover up in fear of what people think. 

The definition of feminism is as follows; the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Why does the photograph debunk Emma’s stance on feminism? It doesn’t, if a person (male or female) wants to pose without their clothes then why can’t they? By taking control of her own body and the way it's presented, then surely that is standing up against the society that suggests women should cover up unless they want to become sexual objects. If a magazine article publishes a topless Justin Bieber people aren’t outraged with the fact he’s sexualising himself to gain publicity.

Yet to label the photo shoot itself as a ‘feminist action’ is going a little too far… Yes she’s deciding for herself how she wants to be presented but at the same time (through no fault of her own) Emma Watson portrays the exact body ideal the media obsess over; white and petite. What about other females that don’t fit this ideal? Is this liberating for them? On the other hand, female liberation has to start somewhere…

Let’s not ignore the fact that women so often don’t achieve the same publicity if they’re fully clothed. Had Emma Watson not been a little risqué would her interview in Vanity Fair been talked about half as much? Would it have been published in the same way if she was four stone heavier? Probably not. But why should Emma Watson be criticised for capitalising on what she naturally has? She shouldn’t but judgement is inescapable.  So I sat back and thought; if I had the same opportunity as Emma Watson would I have taken it? Yes, probably. In the same way when I put make up on, am I doing so because I want to or because I feel I have to? Our society makes us feel obliged to do certian things and feel a certian way, trapping us in this judgemental mind-set and critiquing people for taking a stand against it isn’t going to change anything. When reading comments about the Emma Watson article on Facebook one man commented ‘it’s not her boobs I have a problem with, it’s that haircut’. Although it may be a joke, comments like this are the problem. It perfectly exemplafies the way some people think it’s their god given right to speak about the opposite sex in an entirely sexualised (and often derogatory way) and it’s this mind-set that needs to change before we can start to find true gender equality. 

Don’t blame Emma, don’t blame Vanity Fair. Patriarchy is everywhere, you can’t win or lose. By covering up or by stripping down, you’re adhering to it’s rules. I’m not attempting to end the age old debate or struggle for gender equality, but merely pointing out nothing can change until people’s attitudes do. So like I did when I first saw the Emma Watson article, I’m not going to blink twice at her decision. 

Image 1- https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=he+for+she&safe=off&espv=2&biw=1030&bi...

Image 2-https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=emma+watson+vanity+fair&safe=off&espv=...

Image 3- https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=emma+watson+vanity+fair&safe=off&espv=...

Cover - http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/01/people-are-angry-feminist-emma-watson-has-...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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