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Backlash on Emma Watson’s Vanity Fair Shoot: Feminism or Hypocrisy?

This week, BuzzFeed posted on its Snapchat story? an article about Emma Watson’s Vanity Fair shoot. While the article focuses on Watson who opens up about her metamorphosis from child star to leading woman, critics were more focused on her breasts and disputed on how a feminist could do such a thing. Was it hypocritical of Watson to reveal herself in such a way? BuzzFeed comments, “Since then, several articled have been published objectifying Watson. The Sun published an article with the headline “Beauty and the breasts.”

The Telegraph writes about Daily Mail columnist Julia Hartley-Brewer who tweeted a picture of the page, writing: “Feminism, feminism… gender wage gap… why oh why am I not taken seriously… feminism… oh, and here are my tits!” According to CNN She later defended her tweet, saying Watson “complains that women are sexualised and then sexualises herself in her own work. Hypocrisy.”

Emma Watson, as featured in the March 2017 issue of Vanity Fair
CREDIT: TIM WALKER/VANITY FAIR

Talking about how important her role is in the upcoming film Beauty and the Beast, Watson emphasized how important the approval of her mother Jacqueline and Gloria Steinem’s is.

“I couldn’t care less if I won an Oscar or not if the movie didn’t say something that I felt was important for people to hear.”

Emma Watson

As we all know about how Watson feels about empowering young girls, the type of backlash she received on her picture featured in the magazine was a bit surprising to the Beauty and the Beast star. Watson later comments to CNN saying, “The more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. … For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” On a lighter note, although she received a lot of criticism for her picture, she gained a lot of support as well.

In an interview with Reuters, Watson, responded to the controversy by clarifying the definition of feminism to critics:9

“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” she 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.”

So what does Gloria Steinem, arguably the most high-profile feminist, think about this controversy? According to CNN once more,

Steinem laughed at the notion that Watson was a “bad feminist” because she appeared in a revealing photo.

“Feminists can wear anything they f****** want,” Steinem told TMZ. “They should be able to walk down the street nude and be safe.”

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