Celebrities who have weighed in on the nudity and feminism debate, from Emily Ratajkowski to Little Mix

Numerous famous women have been slut-shamed for posing naked on social media

Olivia Petter
Thursday 22 November 2018 18:26
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Can posing nude be considered a feminist act? It’s a contentious question and the arguments vary; some claim that posting naked selfies on social media is a way of reclaiming sexual autonomy and is the beacon of female empowerment: a photographic f*** you to the patriarchy.

But others disagree, arguing that women who sexualise themselves in this way are still giving in to the male gaze, thus rendering their intentions void.

From the recent controversies surrounding Little Mix’s music video to Emily Ratajkowski’s Instagram feed, see the celebrities sparking important conversations on this perennially-divisive topic.

Kim Kardashian-West

The reality TV star is so synonymous with her candid stream of selfies, she’s even published a book of them.

But she is regularly criticised for posting nude photographs of herself on Instagram, where the mother-of-two has 120m followers.

In 2016, one photo of the Kardashian posing naked in a bathroom struck a nerve with Sharon Osborne, who said she felt insulted by the argument that Kardashian’s naked posts were in line with her feminist values.

The following year, she told The Daily Telegraph: “Kim says she’s doing everything in the name of feminism, but that’s not feminism! Those girls live off their bodies, half of LA has been through them and everything they do from the sex tape to the plastic see-through dresses and the gym wear is about sex, not female progress.”

But the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star defended herself, arguing that she has never claimed her naked pictures were a feminist act.

“Never said that,” she told E! News, adding that she was “misquoted”.

“I post nude photos because I like how I look and I feel proud when I've lost all this baby weight and I post it because I feel like posting it and I feel powerful.”

Kardashian also addressed the controversies in a follow-up blog post published on International Women’s Day later that year, describing the criticisms she received as “slut-shaming”, adding that she feels empowered by her body and her sexuality.

“I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me,” she continued. “And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world."

Emma Watson

The Beauty and the Beast actor became embroiled in a heated debate after she posed topless in an issue of Vanity Fair in 2017, which critics argued was a betrayal of her feminist values.

“Emma Watson: Feminism, feminism . . . gender wage gap . . . why oh why am I not taken seriously . . . feminism . . . oh, and here are my t- -s!” wrote one person on Twitter at the time.

The 28-year-old fired back at those who took issue with the image, which was shot by leading fashion photographer Tim Walker, affirming her feminist views in an interview with Reuters:

“It just always reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is,” she said.

“Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with.

Emma Watson defends Vanity Fair photoshoot

“It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality.

“I really don’t know what my t**s have to do with it. It’s very confusing.”

Emily Ratajkowski

The 27-year-old actor and model often makes headlines for her Instagram posts, which have seen her pose topless with Kim Kardashian and completely nude in solo shots.

But it was a video released in December 2017 as part of Love Magazine’s annual advent calendar that was deemed particularly problematic.

Piers Morgan calls model Emily Ratajkowski a ‘global bimbo’

In the clip, Ratajkowski is seen wearing lingerie and writhing around in spaghetti. Never one to miss an opportunity, Piers Morgan sarcastically called the video a “wonderful testament to feminist empowerment”.

The model responded to the Good Morning Britain (GMB) host, tweeting: “Lol never said my Love video was a feminist statement.

“But now it’s worth saying that telling women what to do with their bodies & sexuality is actually just classic sexism. I can have opinions about feminism and also do sexy photo shoots k thanks.”

In the interview with Love that accompanied the shoot, the model explained how the backlash she’s faced over her previous naked images she's posted shed light on backward attitudes towards female sexuality.

I think a lot of people, when they see a woman's body they classify her as a certain type,” she told the magazine.

“I've had to fight that stereotype. But then I think that I would have had to do that anyway. Certain women, no matter what, they get put into certain boxes more than men. That was my box to deal with. It says so much about how much we don't like women in culture that if they show their bodies, they're vulgar, basically. It's either completely sexualised or its vulgar and gross. It's so bizarre."

Little Mix

The British band are the latest women to bear the brunt of slut-shaming for posing naked in a photoshoot to promote their latest music video, which sees the women’s bodies covered with insults such as “ugly” and “irrelevant”.

Piers Morgan drags Jesy Nelson over ‘grim’ underwear photo as bitter Little Mix feud rages on

Though the bandmates never described the shoot as a feminist act (in fact, it’s about body confidence), it has been interpreted by some people as such and subsequently garnered widespread criticism as fans once again question whether posing nude is actually a sign of female empowerment.

Piers Morgan is unsurprisingly one of the most vehement critics of the shoot, accusing the band of “using sex to sell albums” on GMB.

He took the opportunity to also re-hash his views on Emily Ratajkowski, saying: “I don’t get it. This whole Emily Ratajkowski… saying you should be able to wear a bikini for everything.

Piers Morgan tells Little Mix to confront him on Good Morning Britain after calling him a 't***'

"Absolutely ridiculous person. I have no problem looking at her with no clothes on…my problem is when she tries to frame this as something empowering."

Ariana Grande called Morgan out for his comments, accusing him of attempting to slut-shame the band, writing: “I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because I choose to. women can be sexual AND talented. Naked and dignified. it’s OUR choice.”

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