Feminism, my dear Watson

Since a young age, Emma Watson has enchanted me, and much of the public, with her wit, charm, and genuine nature. I know I am not alone in my admiration of the British actor, as the public has watched Emma grow from a curly-haired adolescent to an eloquent and striking woman. It seems that in a mutually reflective relationship, Emma Watson’s art and life found cohesion early on with the character of Hermione Granger. Recently, Jimmy Kimmel even revealed her early tendency to mouth the lines of Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe…how Hermione of her.

While that was her introduction to the world, Emma has since grown beyond her role in the Harry Potter series, and continues to make conscious career choices that reflect her personal values and social pursuits. In her most recent and anticipated role as Belle in Beauty and The Beast, Emma Watson worked with director, Bill Condon, to better develop the strong character traits which Disney only alluded to in the original narrative.

In a relatively recent trend, the major production company has made a concerted effort to create stronger, well-developed female leads, in opposition from their historically traditional character roles.  Kudos to Emma, because Director Condon says their creative changes to Belle were, in-part, inspired by Watson’s real-life activism.

Indeed, if Emma’s career choices were not enough to convince the public of her role in the latest wave of feminism, in 2014 she was notably named as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. The speech, which highlights her own vulnerability and the human side of a normally suave celebrity, focuses on the need for male participation in the efforts towards equality. There are many ways to get involved with he for she, but start by viewing the 2014 speech.

Additionally, she remarks that feminism is often clouded in misattributions from those who remain uninformed. She actively fights the notion that feminism means man hating, as it is, by definition, the desire for equality among men and women. Feminism is about empowerment.

However, as of late, she remains accosted by those who believe her photo shoot with Vanity Fair in some way contradicts her efforts towards equality. Hearing about the backlash to her supposedly scandalous shoot, I scrolled through the article expecting to find an almost full nude shot. Instead, a tasteful image of Watson has snowballed into an excuse for many to claim hypocrisy. Emma’s response matches her consistently impassioned demeanor.

A majority of the criticism is coming from Beyonce fans; this, a result of comments Watson made in regards to Beyonce’s Visual Album, Lemonade.  In popular culture, and media, we so often pit female role models against each other, but there is plenty of room in Hollywood for these two strong, opinionated females.

Both Beyonce and Emma stand as advocates for feminism in their own right, entitled to exploring what they believe are the best methods in changing minds and growing a movement. The most important issue here, is not nudity, or Watson’s response to nudity, but the need to see women as whole people, not just bodies. Her boobs may have been showing in that image, but if you actually read the article, you’ll find her brains in every line.


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