Emilia Clarke is done defending her Game of Thrones nude scenes. But the actress, who has never been shy when it comes to talking about gender equality, is only getting started, when it comes to promoting acts of everyday feminism.
Clarke, who is guest editing the Huffington Post U.K.’s month-long project “All Women Everywhere,” in celebration of International Women’s Day, penned a painfully honest essay about her experiences with gender equality and life in the GoT spotlight.
“If you’ve watched Game of Thrones then, spoiler, you will have seen me in the nude. There are plenty of ways in which people want me to respond to questions about this fact. And plenty of reasons why I do not feel the need to justify myself,” wrote the actress, who has gracefully fielded questions and responded to arguably inappropriate off-the-cuff comments about her oft-naked character for years. Instead, she would like to turn the focus toward “stand[ing] up as women in our ordinary everyday lives” and putting a bit more emphasis on a little thing called kindness, because “being kind is showing someone that they are seen and heard, and that they do indeed matter. And that’s sexy.”
Admitting that she sometimes feels “like a guilty feminist” for not doing enough, Clarke explains that she’s speaking out now because “as my best friend would put it, I am a girl-boss, and I am in an industry where if I speak out against inequality, I have a platform and might be lucky enough to have a chance of being heard.” And those revealing roles? They’ve “given me an insight into what it feels like to be a woman who stands up to inequality and hate and stands out as a feminist.”
“With my voice, I hope the feminist mindset my family instilled in me becomes the new normal and boys and girls are raised to know they are equal,” the actress wrote in conclusion, and praise for her statements is starting to roll in on Twitter.
@WatchersOTWall love Emilia so much. Hope people take her words to heart ????
— Vanessa Cole (@vkcoleartist) March 8, 2017
— lauren (@thatloveish) March 8, 2017
@HuffPostCanada Beautifully said, Emilia!! ❤️
— Jerry Cutler ???????????????? (@JOLearyCutler) March 8, 2017
But Clarke is by no means the first actress to be asked to justify her nude scenes — or her revealing photo shoots.
Just this week, Beauty and the Beast actress Emma Watson came under fire for a controversial spread in the March issue of Vanity Fair, in which the proud feminist poses braless in a cutout Burberry top. While some took the image as a contradictory anti-feminist statement from the actress — the Bey-hive in particular — Watson responded by using the opportunity to point out just “how many misconceptions and misunderstandings there [are] 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. I really don’t know what my t*ts have to do with it,” she told the BBC before taking to Twitter to clear up any confusion concerning an alleged Beyoncé slight.
This is the part of my 2014 interview with Tavi where we talked about Beyoncé. My words are in bold. pic.twitter.com/Y8vumOeyDT
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) March 7, 2017
— Tshego Khunou (@xoxo_Tee) March 7, 2017
And you better believe that as the face of the 50 Shades franchise, Dakota Johnson has fielded more than her fair share of inquiries regarding nude scenes. Just last month, the actress explained to Vogue that her nude scenes are purely for realism’s sake: “I don’t want to see someone wearing a bra and underwear in a sex scene. Let’s be honest about it. People are naked when they f***.” Logical, no?
Likewise, Lena Dunham has defended the many nude scenes on her landmark HBO show, Girls, since its inception. “We really do try to show — and people may laugh at this — but we do sex scenes that we think really do push the characters and the plot forward, and that doesn’t feel gratuitous,” she explained back in 2015.
But she has admitted that she doesn’t necessarily find doing them to be easy. “It was one thing when I was doing them on indie film sets,” she told Yahoo that same year, “but when you step onto a set that’s 50 or 100 professional crew members and you take your robe off, there’s a really scary moment where you wonder, ‘Are people going to greet this as what I know it to be, which is an artistic statement, or are people going to turn into something that feels vulgar or unkind?’”
Ultimately, it’s her — and every actress’s — choice, every woman’s choice, to bare her body as she sees fit. As an audience and as a society, let’s try to give them that freedom. Because as Emilia said, “I believe we all have the opportunity to stand up as women in our ordinary everyday lives. I believe that we all have the power to replace hate with justice, open-heartedness and kindness.”
Even if there are bare breasts involved.
Celebs Unite to Empower Women in #EmbraceAmbition Campaign This Lady Gave Up Fashion for Female Reproductive Rights
On International Women’s Day, This Powerful Photo Series Shows the Beauty in All Women