Emma Watson was the target of the public’s outrage a couple of weeks ago. Watson is an actress from the infamous Harry Potter series, but in the last couple of years she has been known for many other things. She is a self proclaimed feminist who speaks on women’s rights regularly. She is a UN Goodwill Ambassador who helped launched the HeforShe campaign. Recently she has been tackling sustainable fashion by showing the public that you can look great while wearing clothes that are eco-friendly via her Instagram account @the_press_tour.
Watson was recently photographed for a shoot in Vanity Fair wearing an outfit that partially revealed her breasts. The actress was featured in the photo wearing a white crocheted bolero jacket with no shirt underneath. There was a lot of underboob and a little bit of cleavage. After the photo was released, many commented that a feminist should not be revealing her body in this way and that she is not a true feminist for doing this.
When asked about the criticism, Emma commented, “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, and it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.” To some, this may be obvious, but many cannot seem to see how nudity and feminism can be in harmony.
Nicki Minaj recently revealed a whole breast at the Haider Ackermann show during Paris Fashion Week and she was not met by as much criticism as Watson. Nicki has said many feminist statements in the past, and the foundation of many of her songs is about being a female boss. Arguably, she has not led a UN campaign and been very vocal about equality, but she is an example of a celebrity who is openly for female equality. It calls to question who is deemed acceptable to show their body as a feminist. In this case it shows that both of the celebs’ bodies are a big part of their job. Appearance and presentation is a big part of being in the public eye.
From Emma’s reaction, it is hard not to assume that she is held at higher standards when it comes to what she does with her body. Whether race and body type comes into play is another question. Beyoncé is also a self-proclaimed feminist and she is not shy when it comes to showing off her beautiful curves and sexual dance moves. All of these women are feminists and should not be questioned when they reveal something about themselves, whether is a physical aspect or personal.
Elle magazine commented on Watson’s picture saying, “It’s understandable why many women are still frustrated with what they perceive as overt sexualisation of the female body. Many early feminists rightly wished for women to be recognised for their minds, not their bodies. But we have both minds and bodies, and denying one in favour of the other denies the wholeness of any person.” Women are overly defined by their body when they have minds too, they are both body and mind, like any other individual. One should not define a person without the other; you cannot say you are for women’s rights without taking in consideration the whole woman, every little thing about her.
Words: Seyi Adejori
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