In a world full of wizards and witches and Wands , Emma Watson as Hermoine Granger stood out as a shining beacon and a rallying point for all young girls out there.W ho did not love the beautiful, smart and talented Emma? I will admit I had a huge crush on her then. After the outrageous success of the Harry Potter franchise, many of her peers have struggled to remain famous and land quite important roles in movies( Daniel and the twins excluded). Apart from landing major roles( perks o being a wallflower, beauty and the beast), she has also become a symbol for feminism and women rights. She is also a UN ambassador which is a mean feat all on its own.
Cue the Vanity Fair photo shoot. On of the pictures she takes shows her parade topless under a skimpy white crocheted bolero jacket.
She has come under attack for this from many corners of the internet. What was her reply? ‘I really don’t know what my t*ts have to do with it,‘It’s very confusing. I’m quietly stunned.’Feminism is about giving women choice,’ she explained. ‘It is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. They were saying I couldn’t be a feminist and have boobs.’ Wise words Emma, only problem I have is that you are a hypocrite.
Remember the year 2013. Beyonce released her album with her name , and she used an excerpt from the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, taken from her TED speech We Should All Be Feminists. Many lauded her for the songs in the album and many were disdainful. In the videos to the songs ,Beyonce could be seen in provocative poses and dance routines that to many were mainly made to be tintillating and arousing. Many lauded it as ‘fierce feminism’ at its ferocious best.
Others were clearly not amused or impressed. In fact, one particularly vocal female critic said
‘As I was watching, I felt very conflicted,’. ‘I felt her (Beyoncé’s) message felt very conflicted in the sense that on the one hand she is putting herself in a category of feminist, but then the camera, it felt very male, such a voyeuristic experience of her.’
That sounds like exactly the kind of feminist that Emma Watson would deplore: a woman using feminism as ‘as stick with which to beat other women.’
The only problem is this was Emma Watson saying this.
Feminism has become very confusing. When even those who are supposed to be advocates and champions of the cause do not even seem to understand what it is about anymore. This is why people like Kim Kardashian post nude selfies and pictures and one half of feminists say ‘Go girl’ ,while another group say ‘what a slut’.
‘It felt incredibly artistic,’ Emma said this week, ‘and I’m thrilled with how interesting and beautiful the photographs were.’Of course she was, that’s what all actresses say when they strip naked to promote themselves and their movies.Though they tend to take a much dimmer view of women who pose as topless in Porn magazines. That, they sneer, is ‘demeaning to women.’
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t disagree with Emma’s assessment; the photos are unarguably interesting and beautiful.
But how does exposing her breasts to the world fit with Emma’s condemnation of Beyoncé doing the same?
A generous observer might say ‘uneasily’.
A less generous observer would brand it flaming hypocrisy.
I don’t want to be too harsh on Emma Watson, not least because she is still young and should be allowed to evolve her views as she ages.
What do you think, has feminism lost its way?