For fans of Emma Watson, it’s likely quite exciting that she’ll be playing the role of Belle in Disney’s upcoming romantic fantasy film Beauty and the Beast. In most fairy tales, it’s the woman who waits for her prince to save her from danger, but in this movie it’s Belle whose courage and kindness saves her love and turns him from a fearsome beast back into a charming prince.
The 24-year-old British actress, in real life, is consistent with her roles. Besides her critically acclaimed performance in the Harry Potter movie series, Watson is known for being a persistent and thoughtful feminist who fights for equality for women the world over.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Watson conducted a live Q&A about gender equality for the UN’s HeForShe campaign. She reclaimed the definition of “feminist”, saying it’s not “aggressive” or “anti-men”. Simply put, she said, “If you stand for equality, you’re a feminist.”
During the event, the captivating Watson invited men to join the campaign and emphasized that gender equality doesn’t just affect women. “I’ve got four brothers. Gender equality is affecting them just as much as me. A lot of posturing goes on with men. My brother once said to me he just couldn’t be around his guy friends, the way they talk about girls.”
Watson is always proud of her feminist convictions. Her early experiences informed her decision to be so strong in her beliefs.
The actress revealed in the speech she delivered on gender equality on Sept 20, 2014, at UN headquarters in New York City, US: At age 8, she was called “bossy” only because she wanted to direct plays; at 15 her girl friends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly”. She felt insulted and started to question gender-based assumptions. “I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me.”
Her passionate and eloquent public speech has inspired many. The power of knowledge deserves credit here.
Just like the super brainy Hermione, Watson graduated from a top school, Brown University, last May. She was awarded a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the US Ivy League university, despite having a busy film career during her time as a student.
After her graduation, the actress was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joked that he hopes Watson uses her magic wand to end violence against women.
And the magical young woman is doing and will continue to do so.