By KAYTLYN BIDDLE
Following the release of her recent Vanity Fair spread, actress Emma Watson is being shamed for the photos that appeared in the magazine. She is being told her pictures are too revealing and that she is not allowed to display her body in such a manner. Comments have appeared on social media insisting that she cannot wear whatever she wants and still call herself a feminist. How would you feel about thousands of people commenting on what you can and cannot do as a woman?
Watson has been an outspoken advocate for feminism, speaking at the United Nations, marching alongside other celebrities at the Women’s March in January and holding a feminist book club through social media. People are upset because the photos taken reveal Watson’s body in a risqué manner, and feminist advocates say that these photos go against everything she said she was fighting for. With the release of these photos, some people believe Watson is not a feminist at all, but an anti-feminist.
I respectfully disagree. While you do not have to agree with what she says or the way she goes about embracing feminism, you do have to look at what feminism is supposed to be at its core. To me, the movement has always been about allowing women control over their bodies, jobs and futures in a way they have not been able to before. The assumption that I dress to impress other people, that I need to wear makeup to leave the house or that I was the assistant in the room rather than the boss are all reasons I was interested in this movement in the first place.
We cannot say that women’s chests should not be sexualized while raging about someone who is proudly showing off their body. Emma Watson is an adult who deserves to do what she wants with her body. You don’t have to agree with what every other person does. But saying she cannot take these pictures (which were taken with her consent) because it is anti-feminist is like saying your friend could not get her ears pierced because it is disempowering.
Women are supposed to empower other women, and here Watson has taken control of her own body and released pictures she chose to take. We should be celebrating the fact that she has taken control of her body rather than tear her down for “flashing” parts of it. These photos don’t discredit the work she has done up to this point. She still attended Brown University, still spoke out against sexism and still pushed to make her most recent character “Belle” a more empowered person.
A woman can be so much more than one stereotype or another and can break the boxes we put them into. A woman can be a feminist while still embracing herself. There are no rules to being a feminist, there are no guidelines of how they should behave, look or act. They don’t all have to be young or old or a STEM major or an artist or even a woman. They just have to stand up for the right to choose, and be a proponent of freedom and equality. I don’t care what she does with her body or her photos; it is her life and she deserves to control it without people attacking her for embracing her freedoms.