Dear Emma Watson,
I have always loved your work. You clearly stood out as the most talented of the child actors when the Harry Potter movies were released. You were quite the natural, all effortless and with so much flair. Your Hermione was so strong, so brave and so full of grit. Of course, you were playing the dream role -a feminist heroine penned by a feminist writer, and suddenly girls all over the globe had a new role model. You brought sass back in vogue. You were the heroine who relied on courage and knowledge rather than a pretty face, when it came to solving a problem, or even better, saving the world. As a young woman and then as a mother of a young girl, I was glad we had public figures who were more than just the sum of their body parts.
You carried your confidence and self assertiveness well beyond the Potter years. You advocated for women’s rights and were admired likewise. And then suddenly, you do a half naked cover for a fashion magazine. And then you go and justify it by saying that feminism is all about ‘choice’. Seriously, Emma?
So OK, yes, as an independent woman I need to be able to make my own choices. I am with you on that one. But does that absolve me from all the wrong choices? Even if they’re committed in the name of feminism? If that were the case, Lindsay Lohan would have been the most ideal role model for all the 90’s teens. With all due respect to her situation at the time, she was not the kind of behavior we wanted our girls to emulate.
As women the world over are fighting against sexual objectification and fighting to be taken seriously, your cover seems tone deaf to the very cause you espouse. To quote you: “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.”
We do not want to beat you with your own stick, Emma, we really don’t. But then again, we live in a world where women are frequently groped, females are secretly rated by male co workers according to their sex appeal and women face growing social pressure to either sport a certain ‘sexy’ look or be dismissed as hags. Heck, even an accomplished lawyer like Amal Clooney’s worth only boiled down to how she carried her baby bump. You see the pattern here? If all this is unequivocally sexist, how is your provocative cover not?
You didn’t start these trends. No, you’re better than that, so I wont blame you for something you don’t deserve. But my dear, dear Emma, you are most surely perpetuating the same sexist tradition. Showing off your t*@s does NOT make you a feminist- a term you have publicly identified with for years. I agree with you on that feminism is NOT equal to man hating, but in my books feminism is NOT equal to man titillating either. And let’s face it, a (semi) nude cover DOES intend on titillating outcomes, whether you like to admit it or not.
Please, Emma, there are many young girls who look up to you. Girls who believe they can achieve anything they want to, even without having to flaunt their t*@s. We live in a milieu when it is not unheard of women being asked for sexual favors in return for what they deserve rightfully anyway. Please don’t make it OK for them to think they need to ‘sell’ their talents in more ways than one.