A magazine posed the question, "Is actress and feminist Emma Watson a hypocrite for going topless in Vanity Fair?" since fans had commented things like, "#hypocrite, lost respect for all your work. Complete opposite of what you preach. Don't give men and society what they want. You disappoint me." And, "Emma Watson: "Feminism, feminism... gender wage gap... why oh why am I not taken seriously... feminism... oh, and here are my tits!""
To be fair, many people were supportive of the image -- or didn't care at all until Watson was attacked for it -- but the "Beauty and the Beast" star was completely taken aback by the idea that she would be considered a bad or non-feminist for posing for this photo:
Maturing from Hermione to Belle in @beautyandthebeast is a true coming-of-age story for @EmmaWatson: "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." Read the full cover story at the link in bio. Photograph by Tim Walker.
Americans are notoriously fine with violence but queasy about sexuality, and somewhere along the way "feminism" got itself about a dozen different conflicting definitions, depending on the person using the word.
Watson and her "Beast" co-star Dan Stevens talked about the fuss in a Reuters interview, where Watson was "quietly stunned." Stevens was confused as well. Why couldn't she be a feminist and also have boobs? Watson argued:
"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. It's very confusing."
Watson previously talked to Entertainment Weekly about the problem with the term "feminism" itself because it sounds pro-women, and that leads many to think it's anti-men:
"I think the word is really difficult because it seems to inherently address a preferential treatment of the feminine over the masculine because it has the feminine in the word, and I think that's a real oversight and misunderstanding. This isn't just girls are better than boys, boys are better than girls. This is just everyone deserves a fair chance."
At this point, we might just need an entirely new word. Or, as Maisie Williams of "Game of Thrones" suggested at one point, just "normal person" will do. Anyone who doesn't think women should have equal representation and treatment should get their own special term.
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