Renowned feminist Emma Watson has come under fire for a revealing outfit she wore during a photoshoot with Vanity Fair.
In one of the photos, shot by Tim Walker, the 26-year-old actress wears a shawl with nothing underneath. Her partially exposed breasts have caused the internet to lose its collective shit and claim Watson’s outfit choice means she’s a hypocrite. Many people are asking how she can call herself a feminist while simultaneously revealing her body.
As a goodwill ambassador for the UN who began the #HeForShe campaign, Watson has been an outspoken champion for gender equality. The idea that showing some subtle underboob somehow goes against feminist ideals is absurd.
In fact, her critics’ disapproval demonstrates the very reason why we need to fight for feminist ideals in the first place:
Society deems it completely acceptable to police women’s bodies.
Policing women’s bodies is the exact opposite of what feminism is all about.
Emma Watson’s breasts — and all female breasts for that matter — are just like any other body part. But they have been sexualized by society. It is the fault of society alone that it cannot fathom a woman being both empowered and sexual at the same time.
As Gloria Steinem explained in response to the backlash against Watson, “Feminists can wear whatever the fuck they want.”
Watson also fought back against her critics with Hermione-like wit:
“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” Watson said. “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, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”
Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of free will. Women (like men) should be allowed to dress however the want — no matter how modest or revealing. Society not be involved in regulating and policing any woman’s outfit just because some people do not like her wardrobe choice. If you don't like showing skin, cover up. That is your choice. But don't tell someone else that they don't have the same choice in the matter.
Feminism is about giving women the agency to control their own bodies and do with them as they please. This includes a woman’s choice whether or not to show off her body in a photoshoot. That does not give society the right to see woman solely as sexual objects. And that does not give society a free pass to scrutinize her choice either way.
It simply means a woman should be allowed to feel comfortable — and empowered — in her own skin.
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