5 Celebrities Who Have Been Branded as ‘Bad Feminists’

Words by Fe Esperanza Trampe

Hermione Granger is no longer the frizzy-haired know-it-all we first came to love in the first few films of the Harry Potter franchise. Based on the events of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, she is now the all-powerful (and badass!) Minister of Magic.


Emma Watson has also come a long way since her Harry Potter days. She took some time to attend Brown University, starred in a number of films here and there, made her rounds as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, and even pioneered the HeForShe movement. She did all of these oh so effortlessly. It was only a matter of time before she was awarded with her very own Vanity Fair cover story.


Before the release of Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast just around the corner, Emma finally graced the pages of Vanity Fair in an avant-garde photoshoot, talking about her latest role as Belle and her work as a feminist.


What came after the release of the story is something she sure did not see coming: hate. For exposing some of her breasts in one of the many photos she had taken for the spread, Emma was called a bad feminist.

Bad Feminist - Emma Watson - Vanity Fair

The controversial photo from Vanity Fair

Social media blew up with comments on how Emma is discrediting her work as a feminist by showing her breasts in a magazine spread. A British radio host frankly put her thoughts about it in a tweet:


In an interview with Reuters, Emma responded to the backlash with this observation and take on feminism:

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


Photo from GMA Network

Emma is not the only young star being taken apart for what they choose to wear and how they choose to act. It’s a norm in mainstream media to scrutinize every little thing a celebrity does and say something about it. The critics are especially unforgiving to women in the spotlight. They are looked up to by so many other women – children and adults alike – from all over the world.


Photo from the Huffington Post

Emma calls herself a feminist, no matter what her critics may say. Here are some other badass women in media that are not afraid to stand up against the double standards in Hollywood, and empower their fellow women.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus had her own Vanity Fair scandal many years ago. At the tender age of 15, she caused quite the stir when she posed with her bare back for the same magazine as Emma. At the time, people were outraged by how scandalous it was. A 15-year-old girl almost nude on the pages of a magazine?!


Photo from Vanity Fair

In time, it would be one of the less surprising things Miley has done in her career. From her increasingly sexual persona to the totally new image and sound she formally debuted at the 2013 VMA’s, people had a lot to say about her – and they weren’t always good.


Photo from Time Magazine

In an interview for Time Magazine in 2015, she looked back on that photo shoot and how many people blew it out of proportion. “Like, when I did this photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz when I was 14 or 15, everyone jumped to make it this sexual thing. But I never thought of it as sexual. Annie never thought of taking a sexual photo of a teenager. But everyone made it something it wasn’t.”


Photo from Time Magazine

Indeed, everyone seems to have their own definitions of who Miley Cyrus is and who she’s supposed to be. Having been in the public eye from such a young age, Miley has since learned how to deal with it. People have a lot to say about what she’s wearing, what she’s doing, and who she’s dating. To this, Miley basically says, “So what?”


Photo from Time Magazine

Instead of shutting up the haters, she’s opening up the conversation. On the topic of women in the spotlight being defined by the men – or women! – in their lives, Miley has this to say:

“It has a lot to do with being a feminist, but I’m finally O.K. with being alone. I think that’s something we have to talk about more: that you can be alone.”

Selena Gomez


If anyone knows what it feels like to be defined by who she’s with, it’s probably Selena Gomez. The Queen of Instagram has had a career that spans over ten years. She has had starring roles in her own TV show and a number of films. She has even topped the international music charts on multiple occasions. And yet, most will still choose to remember her as Justin Bieber’s ex-girlfriend.

Jelena may not have been together for years, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from asking Selena about her former flame. To all of this, Selena responds, “I am so beyond done talking about that – and him.”

Selena is an artist who wants to be taken seriously, and she has proven that time and time again. With the voice that she has now, she’s hell-bent on using it for a good cause.


Photo from Billboard.com

She has been through so much in the past year alone, and some of it has been caused by the pressure that there is on women in the spotlight. From who they’re dating to what they’re wearing, it all gets so stressful at times. It even becomes too much. In her acceptance speech at the 2016 AMAs, Selena urged her fans to love themselves in spite of the expectations put on women in this day and age.

“I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in [your heart] here. I’m not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore. All I can say is […] if you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.”


Photo from Billboard.com

Critics have called her anti-feminist for the image she’s portraying. Fellow artist Lorde has even gone out of her way to target the message Selena’s songs send. “I’m a feminist and the theme of her [Selena’s] song is, ‘When you’re ready come and get it from me,’” the 20-year-old songstress has said.

In a sit-down with Flaunt magazine, Selena hits back, “That’s not feminism, not supporting other women.”

Read more on the next page!


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