There are obvious reasons to admire a character like Hermione Granger (read: ability to cast spells, ability to pull off bangs, etc.), but her unabashed, fully rounded portrayal of female empowerment is what really solidified her spot as one of the best things to come from the Harry Potter franchise, and frankly, my childhood. For years, feminists have speculated whether or not Harry Potter as a series was feminist, and whether or not any of its character's were — but, to me, the evidence that both things are true is even clearer than the Cloak of Invisibility, and it's all because of Hermione.
(Side bar: super proud of that analogy.)
Hermione Granger was pretty much the epitome of everything I, as a muggle, wanted to be, and the fact that she's remained relevant for all these years just speaks to the power of her character. If thinking about Hermione Granger (who would now be 36) married to Ron and with super smart children that stand up for elves, and muggles, and woman of the world doesn't make you feel some sort of secondhand pride, I'm sorry to inform you that you might not have a soul. (Kidding, but not really.)
So, in honor of my favorite student at Hogwarts, and really, truly, the first witch I ever looked up to, let's recount the ways, 36 of them specifically, that Hermione Granger was a feminist.
1. When She Always Knew The Correct Answer
Duh, Ron. Come on.
2. But Wasn’t Embarrassed To Be Smart
Hermione always let her smart flag fly high.
3. When She Proved Knowledge Was Power
Seriously though, how many times did Hermione save the day by doing her research? She valued her own education and saw nothing wrong with being a "know it all."
4. When She Was Clever
Hermione could solve clues like her life depended on it. Which came in handy when her life literally depended on it.
5. When She Was Talented
The best part about Hermione being exceptionally good at magic was that she never questioned herself and assumed because of gender prejudice that she was less talented than her male counterparts — even though others around her might have.
6. When She Had Positive Male Friendships...
SQUAD GOALS all day. These three were there for each other in the hardest of times (see: multiple near death experiences). Hermione showed that male and females can not only be friends, but best friends.
7. ... But She Wasn't Dependent On Them
Yet, at the same time, Hermione was perfectly comfortable being alone.
8. Because She Was Often The One Doing The Saving
When times got tough, Hermione wasn't afraid to step in and sort things out. How many hairy situations did she get Harry and Ron out of, again? Oh yeah, too many to even count.
9. But Wasn't Ashamed To Be Saved
What are friends for if not to save you from monster trolls, you know?
10. When She Was Bossy
Often times, the word "bossy" will bring up negative associations for a female — but Hermione wore the label proudly and made bossy girls everywhere proud.
11. When She Was Honest
Hermione's candor was an important facet of her personality. It proved that she wasn't afraid to tell anyone the truth, even if it was difficult.
12. But Loyal
Hermione regarded her friendship with Harry and Ron over everything. She was ride or die.
13. When She Wasn't Afraid Of Anything...
Not even he-who-must-not-be-named! What I'm really trying to say is, homegirl was a badass.
14. ... Not Even Emotions
And yet, she was in touch with all the things that make her character so real. Hermione was down to shed a tear or two, and she never apologized for that or saw it as a weakness.
15. When She Was Able To Defend Herself....
Even in the magical wizarding world of Harry Potter, you've got to know how to defend yourself.
16. ... And The Little Guys
Being a "mudblood" herself, Hermione took a stand against the discrimination of muggle born witches and wizards. And also, elves. (Obviously.)
17. When She Was Physically Strong
She always kept up with Ron and Harry, even when it was physically demanding.
18. When She Was Morally Strong
Hermione never let anybody compromise her morals, and didn't do anything unless she felt it was right.
19. When She Was Tough, But Caring
Hermione was the queen of tough love.
20. When Her Worth Was Not Realized Through The Eyes Of A Male
It didn't need to be because she always had her own thing going.
21. When She Was Flawed, But Unapologetic
She wasn't perfect, and she knew it, but she never made excuses.
22. When She Wasn't Afraid To Be Feminine
Get it, girl.
23. But Wasn't Limited By Her Beauty Either
Never, not once, did she let it define her.
24. When She Was An Active Participant In Her Own Story
Out of all the other strong female characters in Harry Potter, Hermione’s story followed the clearest narrative, and almost never included passivity.
25. When She Was Open To Falling In Love
Let's all take a second to remember who pulled the first move, though. Hint: it was Hermione.
26. When She Had Opinions
Oh yes, many opinions.
27. And Wasn't Afraid To Share Them
You tell 'em.
28. When She Was Independent
I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that means? (Hermione did.)
29. When She Believed In Justice
Hermione always knew that people (and by people I mean Draco Malfoy) would get what was coming to them.
30. When She Was Not Afraid To Question Authority
Just because Professor Umbridge was a teacher didn't mean that she wasn't actually the devil reincarnate.
31. Or Break The Rules
When Hermione realized that the Ministry of Magic was corrupt, she did what she had to do.
32. But Still Had Ethics
Although Hermione had her own set of morals, she followed the correct code of conduct at Hogwarts (within reason). Often times, she kept Harry and Ron in line and made sure no one was killed — or worse, expelled.
33. And Was Always The Voice Of Reason
Hermione had a good head on her shoulders, which meant that she could be objective and see things for what they really were.
34. When She Had Many Layers
Hermione has a multitude of differing attributes, but was able to be all those things at once.
35. And Was Always Evolving
She was a fully formed character, and that meant that from year to year, she went through changes.
36. But She Was Never Afraid To Be Herself
Best of all, Hermione never apologized for staying true to who she was. Always.
I for one, feel thankful to have grown up with an inspiring, feminist role model like Hermione. So, Hermione, thanks for being so unapologetically yourself, and showing us all what female representation in both literature and film should look like.