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Feminist inspired many inside and out of the wizarding world

Emma Watson pushes for gender equality

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Since a young age, Emma Watson’s iconic character, Hermione Granger, from the “Harry Potter” series, inspired me to be the feminist I am today.

Granger’s witty, dynamically feminist character in a primarily male-dominated film defies gender roles, proving that anyone can turn over social norms. Let’s face it — Harry Potter and Ron Weasley would be pretty hopeless in the wizarding world without her.

At 25 years old, Watson’s feminist persona not only defeats the patriarchy in the magical world, but also shines within muggle society today. Besides starring in over 20 movies within the past 15 years and graduating from Brown University, Watson has developed a humanitarian side by advocating for women’s rights across the world.

Watson, an ambassador for Camfed International, a nonprofit with the mission of educating young women in rural Africa, promotes equal rights for women across the world. She has traveled to Bangladesh and Zambia, advocating for equal access to education. Watson explained that education is not only important for individuals, but for the society at large. Watson said she believes it is those in poverty stricken, underdeveloped areas around the world where girls miss out the most.

More recently, Watson has become known for her efforts with HeForShe, a United Nations (UN) campaign that advocates for gender equality. The HeForShe campaign encourages both men and women to support feminist causes.

In 2014, Watson was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. In her UN Women speech promoting HeForShe, Watson urged people to view gender as a spectrum, instead of two polarizing sexes. She also said that people must embody and promote who they are, instead of who they are not.

Prior to the speech, Watson admits she was told not to use the word feminism, also known as the “f word”, because of the fear it would further alienate and separate audience members. Despite the controversy, Watson fearlessly said the word multiple times, saying, “I thought long and hard and ultimately felt that it was just the right thing to do. If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to start using it?”

Watson continues to inspire people around the world, teaching that gender equality and feminism are not just topics for women. While Hermione’s fierce character in the movies may have come to an end, Watson’s influential role in society will continue to prevail.

 

Art by Emma Dietz.

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