civilized: Emma Watson Vogue cover
via Vogue

Ivy League-educated, demure, socially conscious, white and pretty, Emma Watson fits perfectly into to the category of the woman whose breasts we are not supposed to see. In the binary of virgin and whore, she is firmly in the former camp. It is this that has upset the critics of her photoshoot, because there is an idea that nudity of any kind is for women of a lower class.

Feminism And Nudity: Why Are The Two Still At Odds? Reni Eddo-Lodge, Vogue

On the other hand, before Christianity and civilization our ancestors wore skimpy clothes to none, women bared their breasts, and that was natural. Civilized Christians who came upon these communities called them pagans who must be civilized and made to know God. Now that civilized people, women especially, are showing skin they’re called sluts, by even more civilized people.

Feminism has nothing to do at all with the reactions to Emma Watson’s Vogue shoot. They’re about our sense of what’s civilized and not. Interestingly, the more “civilized” society becomes so has the demarcation between civilized and wild people gotten even tighter. I guess it’s why the story tellers made civilized Jane fall head over heels over jungle man Tarzan and living with him in his lair became wild happy Jane, just to flip ‘civilized’ on it’s head. Why the story continues to be so well-received by everybody is what’s mind-boggling. Does this mean, in an alternative reality for humankind, ‘civilized’ is not even a word?


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