It was incomprehensible how much weight Emma Watson put upon her slender shoulders when she embarked on the inspirational United Nations speech in 2014. I was in on the HeForShe campaign immediately – sold! But, three years on, she ought to pay attention to the kids on Instagram, they have such noble, worldly, well though-out advice to offer such a clueless, uninspiring individual as the actress-formerly-known-as-Hermione. Of course, I jest (for those of you about to leap from your high, high horses and throttle me to death), though it could be argued that I have little reason or right to attempt to defend Miss Watson from the degenerate viewpoints that were scattered across one particular photograph of the 26 year-old on Vanity Fair’s Instagram page. Opposing arguments are compelling though, regardless of their given nature or direction, and it may not in the end be down to what rights or reasons we have for such provoking thoughts.
Maturing from Hermione to Belle in @beautyandthebeast is a true coming-of-age story for @EmmaWatson: "I couldn't care less if I won an Oscar or not if the movie didn’t say something that I felt was important for people to hear." Read the full cover story at the link in bio. Photograph by Tim Walker.
I personally feel you have the right to an opinion on a celebrity’s image (whether that makes me like you any less is debatable) – by default they have kind of afforded the invitation to do so – though that is certainly not their primary business in most cases. Neither do the reasons for spouting out an opinion of someone, or indeed merely a photograph of them, have to follow a certain code. What I will say though is I disagree without hesitation to those that claim “She’s not mature enough for that look.” or “Sorry but this doesn’t suit her, girl you’re too classy for this.”, and even the more profoundly put “So she has to show tits to demonstrate she is not a child anymore? #womanfail” or “I had such respect for the fact the she has always refrained from using her body to promote herself. Show us your brain, not your underboob.”. Hmm. I’m not quite converted. A further comment, “She’s already famous why she have to tale off close” perhaps warranted a little more thought in its delivery #GrammarNazi.
Maybe I’m the cowardly asshole for not defending Emma’s honor on Instagram when she’s electronically attacked (if you can call “Belle didn’t show her titties in #beautyandthebeast” an attack), but it is my right to refrain from banter with trolls and the droll for many a reason. It’s tempting though, very much so. I would like to avoid the nothingness of some of the remarks (“I don’t get why we need to promote Belle topless”; “Never remember any Disney Princesses being so naked.”) and remind them that Emma Watson is a British actress who played the part of Belle, in spite of popular, cherished opinion, she is not an actual Disney Princess. Nor did she know magic when she was 11 years-old, or dare I suspect she has never broken into celebrity houses and robbed them. Good old Instagram and the new Vanity Fair cover shoot are only the recent cherry on the critical cake – similar brands of opinion are out there, you don’t need to look far.
Being interviewed by the BBC with (the Beast) Dan Stevens, the Beauty behind Belle, assured yet bewildered, hit the nail on the head when she said “It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is”. Many of those commenters on Instagram (and elsewhere no doubt) voiced their views with their feminism halo intact, but honestly appear to be so far off track you can hardly see them for the trees. “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.” Watson goes on to exclaim, “I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.” – it is confusing, she’s right, and Emma’s one smart broad (insert your own misconceptions and misunderstanding of my humor here). I’m just a blabbering outsider when it comes to issues as powerful as these, but they still mean something to me.
I am not too concerned Emma Watson turned the role of Mia in La La Land. I am encouraged that she helped develop Belle from the passive character of the animated version of Beauty and the Beast (we can discuss the activeness of women in fairy-tales another day). I was also super-intrigued by the Maya Angelou books Mom & Me & Mom she left randomly on the London underground. Nor do I mind (and please forget I am a warm-blooded male) that she chooses not to wear a fucking bra under an open white crocheted jacket as the center-piece of a lavish, beautiful photo shoot by Tim Walker. In fact, two or three of my screenplays written over the last 10 years or so have been with her in mind. A successful actress from childhood, a feminist who turned to a sideline as a U.N. ambassador, established an incredible awareness campaign HeForShe to get men on board, she’s a self-declared pain in the ass, a decent human being with real strength and poise, who might even turn you down should you want to take a selfie with her. She has her reasons. And a right. Emma Watson has long since earned my respect that’s for sure. Over and over. The very first person I followed on Twitter I might add. Quite an honor, wouldn’t you say Emma?