Over the years, Feminism has generated a negative stigma, causing some to feel a sense of being threatened; that the sole purpose of the feminism movement is to take over the jobs of men. A common misconception of feminism is that it is to discriminate against men and make women superior to them. This belief could not be further from the truth.
Feminism, in its briefest form, is a movement to gain equal rights for women and to be considered as intellectual counter-parts to men, not as a lesser, weaker gender.
The reason for why I write this post is because of Emma Watson, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. She is a person who I have greatly admired from the first time I watched her bringing to life my favourite fictional character (Hermione) in the first Harry Potter film; she is, and will always be, my role model.
However, despite her best efforts to actively promote feminism, she has come under fire because of her Vanity Fair cover and ‘topless’ picture.
The main reason for why this picture has incited a mixed review is because of the “topless” aspect of it. In other words, Watson is deemed as not behaving as a feminist should because she is not wearing a bra underneath her Burberry caged cape. According to critics of the picture, a woman cannot be a feminist and reveal her body in the “vulgar” way that Watson has done. Watson has subsequently responded to critics, in an eloquent statement, as can only be expected from Watson, stating that the controversy around the picture reveals just how many misconceptions there are surrounding feminism; Watson rightly says, “feminism is not a stick to beat other women with, it is about freedom and equality“.
From responses I saw on Twitter, it seemed, (to me), that many critics were women, calling Watson a “feminist hypocrite”, undermining all they stand for, because she dared to show the world she is a feminist and then pose for a picture like that. When reading these Tweets, I could not help but feel angry. In my opinion, a woman is not a hypocrite for calling herself a feminist, then showing her body without clothes. A person is hypocrite if they call themselves a feminist, then berate, or criticise, a fellow woman for showing their body without being fully covered.
The list of misconceptions for feminism is non-exhaustive and it is not until we are all more aware about feminism, and begin actively working to bringing equality to all, when these misconceptions can be banished. Another main misconception is that it is only men who are bringing women down. In my opinion, this is not entirely true. In fact, when given the chance, many women have been seen tearing down their counterpart, in a very similar way to how Watson has been targeted for the ‘controversial’ picture.
How can equal rights be gained if we are not empowering each other?
1: Photo of Emma Watson [Header Image and Blog Post]
2: Cartoon Image [Header]: Unable to find source and creator of the cartoon at this time.