Emma Watson was understandably baffled by the backlash to her recent, apparently risqué Vanity Fair photo shoot.
Although wearing a rope bolero and nothing much else in the Northern Hemisphere may be a questionable choice this time of year, practically speaking, it’s hardly a crime against feminism.
The 26-year-old actress was “quietly stunned” by those who seemingly want her charged, however, and during a press interview for her new film Beauty and the Beast she made it known.
“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” Watson 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. It’s very confusing.
“I’m confused. Most people are confused. No, I’m always just quietly stunned.”
Certainly, feminism has very little to do with Watson’s “tits” and is indeed about liberation and equality but – at the risk of quibbling with a Brown University graduate and very accomplished women’s rights advocate – I do disagree on one point: feminism is not about choice.
To be clear, I don’t think Watson has done anything wrong by having her photo taken; she is a Hollywood actress, appearing in front of a camera is quite literally her job.
I also think she is under no obligation to be a ‘good role model’ for young girls, though as the pioneer of the HeForShe campaign and a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, arguably she is one.
But whether it be posing on the cover of a magazine or ripping the hair from your nether regions, simply being a woman doesn’t magic your personal preferences into feminist acts because you chose to live by them.
Just like patriarchy sadly won’t vanish in a puff of feminist slogan t-shirts, as sassy as they may well be.