Emma Watson is under fire for going topless in a photo shoot. Folks, feminism has always taken both sides of this issue — female nudity is either empowering or degrading, depending on the day of the week.
If social media discourse has taught us anything, it’s that Twitter remembers. While every person in the entire world debates whether Emma Watson’s breasts are feminist enough, Beyoncé fans have unearthed a particularly unfortunate quote from Watson’s past which seems to contradict her recent sex-positive activism.
For a bit of history, 2013 saw Beyoncé release her self-titled LP, which included a spoken word interpolation from the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, taken from her TED speech We Should All Be Feminists. While Beyoncé’s outspoken views on feminism, politics and sexuality were widely heralded, one person who felt “conflicted” over the pop star’s stance was none other than future He For She campaigner and problematic favourite Emma Watson.
“As I was watching [the videos] I felt very conflicted, I felt her message felt very conflicted in the sense that on the one hand she is putting herself in a category of a feminist, but then the camera, it felt very male, such a male voyeuristic experience of her,” Watson said during a conversation with journalist and actress Tavi Gevinson, as published in a 2014 issue of Wonderland Magazine.
Watson’s apparent hypocrisy, particularly in light of a boob-heavy pictorial in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair and her stance that feminism and expression of sexuality aren’t contradictory ideas, have naturally riled the buzzing panic button of pop fandom: The Beyhive.
Now Watson is being slammed on her hypocrisy, which seems fair enough. Why is it OK for her to do something that might titillate men while declaring it wrong for Beyonce to do something similar?
This highlights one of the issues with feminism, and progressivism in general: it’s contradictory and subjective. If obsessed feminists like Watson can’t keep “the rules” straight, then how the heck are men supposed to know what’s acceptable and what isn’t?
After all, objectification of women is bad, but women baring it all for “slut walks” — demanding to be seen — is supposedly empowering. Is a man being able to see bare breasts good or bad? If a women declares she’s trying to look sexually appealing as part of her femininity, is it polite to be complimentary or not?
Watson has said previously that she’s still “learning.” Is it any wonder the world refuses to take feminist concerns beyond equal rights under the law all that seriously?