Emma Watson’s recent photo shoot with popular women’s magazine Vanity Fair resulted in waves of controversy last week, as people took to Twitter to object to Watson’s visible breasts.
The photo in question (below) showed the Beauty And The Beast actor posing in an open crochet top by Burberry, revealing a fair amount of under-boob. The image, featured towards the back of the extensive photo shoot by Tim Walker, has overshadowed the otherwise tasteful outfits which flatter Watson’s fine figure and are nothing if not elegant.
Watson, who is undeniably attractive, looks fantastic throughout the magazine, the pictures sitting alongside an in depth interview in which she talks about growing up and her latest roles.
However, as a feminist campaigner and UN ambassador, Watson cannot escape the public eye and certainly not their judgment. Many took to social media after the release of the image to complain, some even going so far as to say that the image fails the actor as a children’s role model and feminist.
Julia Hartly-Brewer, a talkRadio presenter and Telegraph columnist, Tweeted her personal criticism on the image.
Though one of the less offensive tweets about the actor, Julia Hartley-Brewer was swiftly attacked with hilarious results by Watson supporters.
In fact the majority of conversation following the initial backlash was positive towards Watson, with arguments turning away from her exposed breasts and to feminism itself.
Watson later expressed her ‘shock’ at the reaction to the photograph, stating in a BBC interview, while promoting her latest movie venture Beauty and The Beast; “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with.”
She later added, “I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”
As a Global Ambassador for the United Nations since July 2014, Watson helped to launch the UN Women campaign ‘HeForShe’ which calls on men to advocate gender equality. In her latest film she takes on the much-loved role of Belle from Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, a favourite of and often role model for children.
Both of these things have opened Watson up to intense criticism on her views and her actions, both in the political sphere and as an actor.
Aside from criticisms being thrown at Watson herself, the photograph and resulting controversy has opened up the argument on what we consider feminism and where the line should be drawn between feminism and sexual confidence.
Some have gone so far to raise the issue that feminism itself is no longer the ruling argument but equality on the whole, calling for improvements in women’s and men’s rights.
On some grounds, it is possible to say that Watson has achieved one of her personal goals of inspiring national conversation on the topic of feminism and issues therein, though maybe not quite in the way she would have liked to.