This Photo (and Shady Caption) of Kendall Jenner and Emma Watson Is Dividing Feminists on Social Media
The NY Times got real shady sharing an article about the women who brought trail blazing female activists with them to the 2018 Golden Globe Awards. The article featured an image with Emma Watson and activist Marai Larasi. In the pic, which was shot from a wide perspective, Kendall Jenner is also seen on the left, fixing her hair and posing for the cameras — no activist by her side.
The caption on Facebook reads: “Emma Watson poses on the Golden Globes red carpet with Marai Larasi, the executive director of the black feminist anti-violence organization Imkaan. Oh, and Kendall Jenner.”
Many women piled on social media, highlighting why the photo shows a problematic difference in society. One woman wrote, “In a world full of Kardashians, be an Emma.”
Another woman added, “It’s not putting Kendall Jenner down, it’s showing how while some women are embracing the issues and speaking up others remain in the comfort of fixing their hair while posing for photos.”
Someone quipped, “Guys leave her alone…. clearly she just realized that she forgot her can of Pepsi to help with the #metoo movement. I mean duhhhhhhh.” The joke was a reference to Jenner’s widely panned Pepsi commercial in which she crossed a protest line to give a soda to a policeman.
However, many women on social media voiced their disappointment with the NY Times publishing the caption, seemingly pitting one woman against other.
One said, “How disappointing. Just when you think people have turned a corner by acknowledging abuse of women, here is a title like this. Building up two women on one side, whilst belittling another. Poor form New York Times.”
Another added: “I don’t know how praising two women and shading another — who apparently did nothing wrong — is a reason to laugh. Badly done, NYT, and people who somehow thought this was cool.”
One more argued, “Not a fan of the Kardashians, but isn’t pitting women against each other the exact thing we’re trying to fight against?”
One of the best comments we read was this one:
Whilst it’s completely anti-feminist to drag one woman to lift up another, there is a point to be made here that perhaps a token effort to support a movement mainly for publicity is hugely problematic. Kendal being on the red carpet felt disingenuous and an opportunity for her to put out her brand rather than make a political statement. Not calling out women for problematic behavior only serves to silence those most in need of intersectional feminism.
Now granted, Jenner probably wasn’t invited to bring an activist. But does the photo highlight a daunting difference in society and what we value: style over substance? Jenner’s brand could be seem as problematic, while Emma Watson and Marai Larasi could be seen as a solution. But isn’t that Jenner’s choice? And isn’t she allowed that choice to choose?
“There’s something about women in Hollywood stepping out,” said Larasi, the executive director of Imkaan, a British network of organizations working to end violence against black and minority women. “There is a wall of silence around violence against women and girls. We don’t want to create hierarchies.””