In the past few days, Emma Watson’s feminism was called into question because of her decision to pose in a revealing ensemble for a Vanity Fair photo shoot, celebrated when she defended her ability to be more than just her body, and then called into question again when statements she made in 2014 about Beyoncé were applied to the situation.
I can’t remember exactly what piqued my interest in fashion when I was young (if it even was one thing), but I do know what has long been my favorite part about it: the photographs. From glossy editorials in magazines, to the coffee table books put out by photographers, and even the advertising, I’ve been enamored with the images, often more so than the clothes.
But if Emma Watson received criticism for being a feminist and showing off some cleavage, what does one make of a feminist who loves fashion photography—a medium that routinely features young women in states of undress, being objectified in images often taken by men?
There are arguable feminist approaches to fashion photography—one can who abuse their power. One can view images as a celebration of the female form, as they do with art (after all, there is nothing wrong with nudity). And sometimes, it’s ok to enjoy a pretty picture because it’s pretty, without having to ignore aspects of gender inequality.