Well, here we are. It's 2017 and a few inches of bare skin are enough to call years of a woman's valiant actions into question. After a recent Vanity Fair shoot in which a few inches of Emma Watson's otherwise tastefully-clad cleavage is bared, a select group of people who enjoy being angry have readied their pitch forks.
How could Watson, U.N. ambassador, renowned activist, and dedicated feminist, pose in such a way? How is exposing a minute segment of your own chest an action indicative of a feminist? What kind of Disney Princess is this?
Now that we're up-to-date, let's take a look at the image that's drawing the crazies from their fitful slumber.
Yup, that's it.
Watson, who stars in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast, graced the VF cover in honor of a story ironically entitled "The Bewitching Emma Watson: Not Your Mother's Disney Princess." The interview itself is overwhelmingly empowering, and yet, we are (not so surprisingly) resigned to basic bitch pedestrian observations regarding the appropriateness of the 26-year-old woman's ensemble.
The article begins as follows:
"Since her years as Hermione ended, Emma Watson has fought to assert her own identity. Now that she has found her voice—most notably as a U.N. ambassador—she’s revamping a classic stereotype, the Disney princess, in Beauty and the Beast, the live-action musical coming out in March. Watson talks to Vanity Fair about her metamorphosis from child star to leading woman."
In writer Derek Blasberg's account of his time with the star, he describes her everyday attire as "makeup-free, her hair shoved into a bun...wearing a nondescript dark wool coat over a baggy black sweater." Blasberg witnesses as Watson plants feminist literature around the New York subway in hopes commuters will pick up the books, read, and learn.
"It's good that we're spreading a little bit of love," she says of the activity.
Blasberg describes her as "friendly, intelligent, and down to earth." She describes her struggle with the idea of fame, and her near exit from the public eye in favor of a more discreet existence. She discusses the importance of privacy — how she hadn't realized as an 11-year-old Hermione that her life would be forever publicized. She is kind, humble, and brave.
This is the same woman who is having her integrity called into question for a top that may fairly be compared to conservative swimwear.
Naturally, then, Watson herself was baffled by this reaction.
"It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is," she told The Telegraph after catching wind of the so-called "backlash" while promoting Beauty and the Beast. She went on to clarify exactly what a feminist view on this shoot would look like.
Let's all take note, shall we?
"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 just always just quietly stunned," she finished.
Join the club, Emma. Join the club.