Can we all take a moment to just appreciate the fact that Emma Watson exists? The former Harry Potter star has been all grown up for a while, but far more compelling than her film career after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 wrapped is her illustrious career as an activist, feminist, and full time role model. Watson's #HeForShe campaign was met with a thankfully positive response from fans and celebrities alike, but she's made it clear that she's not going to stop there. In an interview with ELLE UK, Watson discussed her feminism and activism in a way that truly shows what a strong woman and feminist icon she truly is.
"Fame is not something I have always felt comfortable with; I have really grappled with it emotionally," she said during the interview. "And, in a funny way, doing this is my way of making sense of the fame, of using it. I have found a way to channel it towards something else, which makes it so much more manageable for me. And this is something I really believe in."
To hear that Watson has grappled with her fame in the past doesn't come as much of a surprise. Like her fellow student actors from the Harry Potter films, she has been a household name since she was a small child. Worse still, she was a lead character in a franchise that ultimately ended up having eight movies — we literally watched her grow up on screen. There was a point during which it was uncertain if Watson would remain to complete the franchise and she is the only one of the Trio who went back to school after her time on the Harry Potter had wrapped.
Worst of all, as Daniel Radcliffe pointed out recently, Watson was sexualized at a very young age due to her involvement in the films. Honestly, can you blame her for loving her work more than she loves the consequences of her work? The fact that her fame makes her uncomfortable — something which likely explains why Watson has said that she doesn't date other famous people in the past — makes the fact that she was able to take control and turn it into something positive and healthy for her truly amazing. The fact that the something positive she chose to focus on was women's issues was just icing on the cake.
"Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice," Watson went on to say, because no interview with her is completely until she takes a moment to remind you why she's your favorite feminist icon. "If you want to run for President, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too."
Watson is a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. She is the face of the #HeForShe campaign. Pretty much every time she opens her mouth to talk about feminism, I get tears in my eyes — tears of joy. Now her activism and commitment to the feminism movement have taken on an even more inspirational slant because this isn't just a choice for her. This isn't just a decision she made. This is also her refusing to be broken by the uncontrollable hysteria that is her own fame. This is her refusing to let the Harry Potter series define her, refusing to let her legions of fans and haters define her, refusing to let anyone define her but herself.
And this is her taking a stand in order to share that message with the world, male and female. That feminism is about choice. That anyone can be a feminist. That you get to decide how to define the word to fit yourself and your experiences. Watson did it. Really, she's been doing it since she was a little girl, as she revealed during her #HeForShe speech. However, she has a leverage now that she didn't have when she was younger — her fame. The fact that the feminism movement allowed her to see her fame as a tool rather than an obstacle is truly inspiring to us all. So when Emma Watson talks feminism, the whole world needs to listen.