Watson, Women, and 'What Is Your Feminist Aesthetic?'

by - 3/07/2017 08:22:00 pm


Hello! So I actually planned to post an apple traybake recipe this week but this issue really hit me hard and I decided to push that post back in order to address this more serious and controversial issue. So sit back and enjoy the ride.
This week Emma Watson was slammed by many for being a 'hypocrite' due to her recent shoot with Vanity Fair where she appears 'topless'. For some reason the whole event has sparked controversy across the nation. For some the issue is that she can't claim to be a feminist and be open with her body, for example Julia Hartley-Brewer; while for others it's the issue that in 2014 she commented on Beyoncé's performance as being a 'male, voyeuristic experience of her'. A quote which was taken out of context and when you look at the full interview she later elaborates:

‘I would say you get a sense of ‘I can be a feminist, I can be an intellectual, I can be all these other things, but I can also be OK with my femininity and being pretty and with all these things that I thought might negate my message of negate what I’m about’. That really is the most interesting thing about the album. It is so inclusive and puts feminism and femininity and female empowerment on such a broad spectrum’
Either way people aren’t happy. Up until this moment Emma Watson has been considered a ‘national treasure’ and now, simply because of one photo shoot, there has been a sharpening of pitch forks. Emma then gave a reaction to the backlash in a rather beautiful interview with the BBC where she states:

‘Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality’
Personally? I think women should be able to do whatever they like. If Emma Watson wants to pose topless for Vanity Fair that’s fine, if Beyoncé’s performances are what Beyoncé wants then let Beyoncé do her thing (because she is good at it!), if Taylor Swift wants to serial date (which I don’t personally believe she does) to find her perfect partner then let her, if Gary Lineker has to present Match of the Day in his pants because he lost a bet then by all means go ahead, if Leonardo DiCaprio wants to strip down on the beach for his holiday then he should be able to without being labelled as 'The Great Fatsby'! I have run out of examples but you get the picture. I simply believe in equal rights for men and women, I think we need to stop body shaming all genders, we need to see each other as equals.

The issue reminded me of a TED talk I recently listened to by Ashley Judd and wow is it accurate. Posted in October 2016, this talk rings so true with recent events that I just have to bring it back. I finished listening feeling empowered and motivated. She is a wonderfully strong woman with a wonderful message. Take fifteen minutes and listen.
Coming back to Emma Watson,I can understand why people have a problem with the hypocrisy of the shoot but not the content. Emma Watson previously said:

‘'The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.'
But these quotes were made when she was a lot younger and a lot more influenced by her ‘Harry Potter Image'. I think that this shoot signifies her maturity. Much like when Miley Cyrus handed in her Hannah Montana image, Emma Watson is shedding her Hermione Granger.

After this rather sticky issue to start the week, I was doing my usual Buzzfeed read of the latest stories and came across this article about a petition against a rapist speaking at the Women of the World festival. After reading the article I just knew I had to listen to the TED talks that it refers to and I was blown away. The honesty and depth with which they both speak astounded me. I really felt his remorse and I really felt her pain. If you do anything this week, please, listen to this talk. During the talk they emphasise the fact that their approach is not for everyone, and it should never be assumed that contact between rapist and survivor is appropriate. So the claim that they shouldn’t speak at the festival because of concern over unwanted contact, to me, is unfounded.

'Amira Elwakil, who started the petition, said she was concerned that it might encourage rapists to contact survivors, and that this could severely disrupt their process of healing.’
However, I can understand why their presence at the festival could be a problem. What do you think?

Finally, while on Buzzfeed I usually have a go at the quizzes for a bit of fun or just to pass some spare time. I came across a quiz called 'What Is Your Feminist Aesthetic?', it originally struck me as inappropriate but I took the quiz and got my answer. I couldn't tell whether this post was supposed to be a joke, a satirical quiz to highlight the stereotyping of feminism, or whether it was actually serious. So I messaged the author who was really lovely about it and confirmed it was satire, saying it was about 'how everything a feminist says is scrutinised for hypocrisy'. She also directed me towards her fuel for the quiz, this article about 'The Different Types Of Feminists There Are' which attempts to compartmentalise feminists. It is articles like this that make it difficult for people to declare themselves feminists because they do not feel they fall into any of these 'categories'.
The quiz and article made me think about why I myself am so reluctant to label myself a feminist. 'Feminist' has almost become an extremist term, people interpret it as man-hating and believing women are superior rather than equal so bringing about the term 'Feminazis'. It is assumed that men cannot be real feminists because 'how could they possibly understand what it is like to be a woman' but we have these great campaigns like 'He for She' that simply do not get enough publicity! I think we should stop using feminist as a label and segregating people based on 'how good a feminist they are' or 'what type they are'. I'm scared to label myself a feminist in the fear that I won't be good at it but after writing this post I have realised that it is not something we need to be good at, it is something that we need to believe in and share. That everybody needs to believe in and share.
A friend sent me a photo of an article in 'The Economist' by Louise O'Neill which she said perfectly summed up her view of feminism. After reading it, I totally agree.

Nuanced feminism is inclusive. It is for women of all races and religions, it's for transgender people, it's for men, it's for straight people, gay people and everyone in between.

Let me know what you think about feminism and the recent world events below, I know this was quite a long post. Feel free to disagree and criticise me as this is, after all, only my opinion and I believe myself to be quite open minded.

This talk basically sums up everything I've just said in 10 minutes.

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33 comments

  1. This post was definitely very intriguing, I'd about the Emma Watson situation and it's quite frankly ridiculous! She can do what she wants with her body, and by doing that shoot she is showing us how to be body confident. xx
    Lots of love,
    Marina Rosie xx
    http://marinawriteslife.blogspot.com/

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    1. I totally agree! There is so much negativity around women's bodies and I think it's about time we stopped it!
      xx

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  2. I don't normally pay attention to these topics but I was shocked about this 'outrage' on Emma Watson. I also thought feminism was all about empowerment and doing what you want and standing up for your rights as a woman. I also agree with everything you said, but it's just all a bunch of cray how people have reacted to this...seriously everyone finds the smallest and dumbest things to complain about nowadays lol.

    Stacey, thebambieyes.com

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    1. Couldn't agree more. Everything gets blown out of proportion mainly by sites like twitter and people like Piers Morgan. I feel more sorry for celebrities than ever, they can't do a thing without getting scrutinised!

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  3. I totally agree with the message of this post. Live and let live. However, there is one thing that troubles me and that is what kids are viewing these days. Music videos have became increasingly pornographic- and something should be done about that. Perhaps making two versions-one that is only for adults and others that will be showed on MTV, Vh1 or whatever.

    I'm all for women, men, transexuals sharing whatever they're comfortable with, expressing their sexuality etc...but we should try to protect the children and the young ones. There is a lot of pornographic content out there and I wonder how it will affect the new generations.

    This controversy over Emma is ridiculous. I actually read what she said about Beyonce and I saw her claims were taken out of the context. Just because Emma identifies as a feminist, doesn't mean that she is obliged to spend her life in turtlenecks and covering herself up completely...Shouldn't feminism be about celebrating femininity? This was shot for a magazine, it is rather artistic...and it is not even a very provocative photo. I mean the breasts aren't really visible....and didn't early feminist march topless to warn society about double standards of female vs. male nudity?

    So, yes, I think that we as society in general has deep rotted problems with perception of our own bodies. That's the real issue here, not Watson being hypocritical because she wasn't really being hypocritical.

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    1. Completely understand your point of view. Children are being exposed too early to media, particularly social media. But is it the media who need to be limited or the children? I mean shouldn't it be the parent's limiting the children's access to ipads and to R Rated content? I do agree we should be protecting them though and it should be easier to do so.
      Definitely feminism should be about celebrating femininity! I think the shots of her are stunning!

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  4. I heard about the controversy with Emma Watson but haven't really looked into it. Whatever it's about I love her!

    Caitlin, Beauty & Colour

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  5. Really interesting post and you got your point across really well! I definitely need to listen to these TED talks too!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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    1. I was really worried that people would read this the wrong way so THANK YOU! Definitely, all 3 TED talks influenced me in a way I can't possibly describe.

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  6. I agree, women should do what ever they feel best. x

    LAURA ­| Laura Thinks About

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  7. This was a very refreshing read! I think Emma has the right to do as she pleases with her body, and the photo truly isn't that shocking or revealing. We all make comments at a time, and the truth is we change through life! All the more power to her. Thank you for the read!

    Sending light + love your way,
    My Lovelier Days

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    1. Thank you for reading! I totally agree, I think the photo is refreshing and empowering.

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  8. I hate the "feminist" label for the very reasons you stated, and I think it's sad nowadays that society feels the need to label our actions and our beliefs.

    As for the whole thing with Emma Watson, I had no idea (sometimes I live under a rock when it comes to celebrity news), but I think it's ridiculous. What she did was neither vulgar nor outlandish, it wasn't even distasteful, so why are people getting their panties in a bunch? Honestly there are a lot worse issues they should be voicing their concerns for, and a grown woman embracing her feminity isn't one of them.

    Thank you for your insightful post! Really enjoyed it and it reminds me I should listen to TED talks more :)

    Jenny // Geeky Posh

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    1. Thank you for reading so thoroughly! Definitely, all of the TED talks i've linked were amazing and really touched me.

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  9. Hey Kate! I agree with you completely! This post is a great read. I really think what Emma said sums it up best, "It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality.’

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  10. I agree with you! I love Emma Watson, I think she's amazing for girls/women to look up to. It's not about boobs at the end of the day, it's about being able to do what you want to do without being constantly criticized by it because you're female. Emma Watson has proved that we have a long way to go still!

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    1. I think Emma is a stunning role model! Look how far she has come from the Hermione Granger girl to now! Think the media are too quick to criticise, I agree particularly females.

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  11. I agree with you completely! You do you, unless you are being racist, sexist, homophobic etc, it doesn't matter to anyone else! x

    www.bisoushollyolivia.co.uk

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    1. Yeah, I originally wrote that everyone should be able to do what they like but then thought about Trump and many others who exhibit racist and homophobic behaviour because 'they want' and modified it!

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  12. Very interesting post, I love Emma Watson!

    Lauren x Huggled

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  13. Emma is unbelievable :)

    http://www.adhiwahyudi.net/2017/02/elevate-your-office-style-in-high-shine.html

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  14. Great post, Have a lovely weekend.

    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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    1. Thanks Gemma, loving your work with Laura Ashley this week! xx

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  15. Fully agree! Feminism is inclusive. These rules we set for ourselves are the opposite of feminism.

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  16. I bow down to you for speaking up about this. I personally was rather confused about all the noise about Emma's case. I don't see anything bad with that shoot and who we are to judge her? In my mind, she didn't do or said anything that would be very controversial. I think people nowadays are more focused on calling out someone and judging rather than trying to empower others, especially women. The whole internet was breaking and only talking about Emma Watson and her shoot when it is such a minor thing compared to other world problems. I only want people to stop focusing on such not really important bits and instead put their rage and energy towards empowering and fighting for something more important than whenever Emma Watson posing topless is bad or not. :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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    1. Haha thanks Leta! I agree there are much more pressing issues to be facing and fighting rather than whether Emma Watson's photo shoot is 'too revealing'. Let's break the internet with something other than women's 'nudity'!

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  17. The controversy is annoying and pathetic she is a great role!
    xx

    www.sakuranko.com

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    1. I agree. Young girls look to her as a role model and I think she bears the burden well.
      xx

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  18. Really enjoyed this read and it's great to see you had so many comments in response. As a big fan of Harry Potter and a women, I feel really inspired by Emma Watson and her presence in the feminist movement so this post really spoke to me. Good job!

    I’ve been really enjoying your blog lately so I thought I’d include you in something a little different to what I usually do… the One Lovely Blog TAG! I was nominated a few weeks back and thought I’d show you my appreciation for your blog and content and let you know how much of a wonderful job your doing. If this is something you fancy, give it a go! But don’t forget to tag me in the post so I can read your response. Just head over to my blog to see the rules!
    - Lau xx

    Life Of Lau

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    1. Thank you Laura! Oooh thanks that's exciting I'll check it out! xx

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  19. This post is amazing dear!!
    I really enjoyed reading every single word, so meaningful and special :D
    Kisses
    xx

    https://thathappymess.com/

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