Emma Watson Shuts Down Critics Who Said Her Braless "Vanity Fair" Shoot Isn't Feminist

Actress and all-around Renaissance woman Emma Watson had some strong words for critics/trolls who said her recent Vanity Fair shoot was hypocritical of her feminist views. (Watson is the U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Women and a driving force behind the #HeForShe campaign, BTW.) One of the images from the spread features a photo of an openwork capelet draped over her bare chest, and apparently some people have an issue with this.

"It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is," Watson told Reuters during a "Beauty and the Beast" presser. "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."

Here's the image in question:

Some people saw it quite differently: Radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer, in a widely retweeted post featuring the so-called "controversial" image, commented that "...she complains that women are sexualized and then sexualizes herself in her own work. Hypocrisy."

But images like this aren't about some sort of cheap objectification or stripping off to draw the male gaze. It can be liberating, artistic, and, yep, feminist to express your sexuality on your own terms.

"We'd been doing so many crazy things on that shoot but it felt incredibly artistic and I’ve been so creatively involved and engaged with [fashion photographer Tim Walker], and I'm so thrilled about how interesting and beautiful the photographs were," Watson said.

Watch the clip of the interview below:

Ultimately, it's up to Watson to decide what she's comfortable with. That's exactly the choice, freedom, and liberation she was talking about, no?

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• Emma Watson Sings "Belle" in a New "Beauty and the Beast" Preview
• Emma Watson Hid Feminist Books on London Trains

Photo Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Swarovski