Our heroine, Hermione
To start off March, Women’s History Month, let’s take a closer look at one of the youngest women today attempting to make a difference in the lives of women around the world.
Born in Paris to lawyer parents in 1990, Emma Watson started acting at school at Oxford’s Stagecoach Theatre Arts at age 6.
By the time she was 11 years old she was known all around the world as the quick-witted, if not a little showy, Hermione Granger.
At first glance, Hermione was an underdog at Hogwarts trying to overcome two clear disadvantages that she had no power to control; she was born a muggle (a person without magical powers) and a girl. But as we quickly learned, and saw proof of in the “If Hermione Granger was the Main Character in Harry Potter” aka. “Hermoine Granger and the Goddamn Patriarchy” video created by BuzzFeed, this heroine was an invaluable asset to Harry and his team of evil-fighters. To be honest, they all probably would have been murdered in the first film, I mean book, if not for Hermione’s brains and brawn. Though the word was never uttered in the franchise films nor books, Hermione Granger, and her team of misfits were most definitely feminists.
After the series of films finally wrapped, Emma took a break from acting and went to university, graduating from Brown in 2014 with a degree in English literature. In the summer of that year was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and just a few months later she helped launch the “HeforShe” campaign for gender equality with an historic speech at the UN Headquarters in New York City. She admitted to the crowd that “Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.” In her work to de-stigmatize the word feminism, she iterates that it’s true meaning is a belief in equality for all genders, “…if you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It’s the idea and the ambition behind it.”
The HeForShe campaign attempts to bridge the gender gap by addressing the realities that men struggle with their stereotypical gender roles as well: “When at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn’t want to appear muscle-y, when at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist”
Emma’s speech emphasized that not a single country in the entire world has achieved gender equality.
Though we can clearly see the steps required to get there, we need all the help we can get. That’s why Patricia Arquette’s oscar speech meant so much to Meryl and JLo and also why Malala’s moral fiber stands out among the oppressed. HeForShe is really WeForWe as we all know a mother, sister, brother or father who is struggling to feel equal in a world of discrimination.
Take that, Voldemort, and your Goddamn Patriarchy!