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Emma Watson’s nearly topless photo raises questions about feminist hypocrisy

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Emma Watson’s latest photoshoot for Vanity Fair sparked an unexpected debate about nudity and feminism. Can women display underboob and still consider themselves warriors in the fight for women’s equality?

Watson’s Vanity Fair shoot featured an artsy photo of the star wearing a white crocheted bolero jacket without a shirt underneath. While you can’t see any nip action, there is a lot of cleavage and underboob visible.

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The photo led to a fair amount of criticism from commentators like Julia Hartley-Brewer, who tweeted, alongside the picture: “Emma Watson: Feminism, feminism… gender wage gap… why oh why am I not taken seriously… feminism… oh, and here are my t- -s!”

But the Beauty and the Beast actress certainly does consider herself a feminist and explained that feminism is all about allowing women to make their own choices.

“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” said Watson. “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.”

It’s important to point out that Watson didn’t have the same line of reasoning during her 2014 interview with Wonderland Magazine where she made some judgy statements about Beyonce’s salacious music videos.

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“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 was quoted as saying.

So which is it? Is female nudity in line with women’s empowerment, or does it feed into over-sexualization? I think Watson screwed up and had a hypocritical moment because a lot of us who fight for gender equality have wavering positions and fuzzy reasoning.

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There are various schools of feminism with different interpretations, and some who do disagree that women posing nude leads to empowerment. I personally think that women should have the choice to show as much skin as they’re comfortable with, and it shouldn’t negatively impact their careers.

But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never had judgmental thoughts about women in various states of undress. Those thoughts are unquestionably wrong, and I admit that a woman’s sex appeal shouldn’t delegitimize any of her accomplishments or hard work.

However, I do think that in today’s society, posing nude or partially nude distracts from the credible work women do, which is part of the reason I choose to avoid posting racy photos on my Instagram account. I can get a lot more followers baring it all. But I also know it comes at a price, including gross comments from pervy dudes.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the way women present themselves that should be reformed, but rather the flawed logic and needless judgement people like me have time to time.

Obviously, guys don’t deal with the same level of criticism if they show off their bodies. Russian President Vladimir Putin literally staged a goofy shirtless photoshoot to show the people of Russia how “handsome” and “fit” he is. No one questioned his ability to lead a country as a result, although a lot of people did crack jokes about it.

Former Congressman Aaron Schock was applauded for his fitness when he flaunted his six pack on the cover of Men’s Health. Using his sweet pecs didn’t end his career, although using taxpayer money to lavishly decorate his office did.

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So to summarize, yes you can consider yourself a feminist if you like to show your body off. But people like me need to consider the multifaceted nature of people in general. Men can be sex symbols and also earn respect for their professional accomplishments, and the same standard should apply to women.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

WATCH LIVE: Trump to address the nation after mass shootings leave 29 dead

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US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

Trump will again find himself in the role of consoler-in-chief after a tragedy -- which he has struggled with in the past -- when he speaks at 10:00 am (1400 GMT).

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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

Trump to address nation after US shootings leave 29 dead

Published

on

US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

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2020 Election

Julián Castro destroys NRA’s ‘good guy with a gun’ claim: Armed Texans ‘didn’t keep those people safe’ in El Paso

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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro reacted to the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio by knocking down the conservative premise that a "good guy with a gun" can stop the violence.

In an interview on CNN, Castro said that President Donald Trump is "making it worse" by "fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate."

The candidate also blasted the NRA's talking points.

"The NRA, for years, has said that the answer to these mass shootings is more guns, that a good guy with a gun is the answer," Castro added. "We’re in Texas. That shooter went into a situation where people routinely carry guns."

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