“Beauty and the Beast” star Emma Watson shot back Monday at critics who contend feminists cannot dress in sexy fashion, following a Vanity Fair cover story in which one of 10 portrait photos reveals part of the underside of one breast.
“This is a fundamental and complete misunderstanding of what feminism is,” the 26-year-old actress and activist told The Associated Press. “Feminism is about equality and it’s about choice. It’s about a woman being able to say. ‘I’m gonna wear a dress’ or ‘I don’t want to wear a dress.’ Or, ‘I want this kind of future’ or ‘I don’t want that kind of future.’ And it’s about the ability to choose. It really boils down to choice.”
The former “Harry Potter” series star, who was named a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 and helped launch the organization’s HeForShe gender-equality campaign, told AP there are “so many misconceptions and misunderstandings about what [feminism] is. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. . . . It’s just not.”
Watson appeared to be referring to conservative British radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer, who had tweeted, “Emma Watson: ‘Feminism, feminism... gender wage gap... why oh why am I not taken seriously... feminism... oh, and here are my [breasts]!” Hartley-Brewer in turn received criticism, with one woman tweeting, “The only true way to champion feminism is to abandon your physical body and become a interdimensional gaseous being.”
The Vanity Fair photos were taken by famed fashion photographer Tim Walker and styled by the magazine’s fashion and style director, Jessica Diehl.