Emma Watson: The Feminist and the Fairy Tale

Emma Watson: The Feminist and the Fairy Tale

Year 11 Student journalists Ellie Smith and Beth Forbes have been looking into feminism and why actress Emma Watson is a true modern day feminist…

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What is a feminist? Someone who resents all men and vouches for an uprising of the superiority of women? No, they are not.

A feminist is, by googled definition, ‘someone who supports the advocacy of women’s right on the ground of the equality of the sexes’. Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminism is not inclusive to women.

There is inequality between genders across the world, less so in westernised countries but factors such as the pay gap still remain a problem. The average pay gap is estimated to be a 59% difference between men and women’s wages; this gap is thought to take 170 years (calculated by the World Economic Forum) to close completely.

Feminists also protest for the equal right of reproduction, particularly abortion. Women have a moral right to decide what to do with their bodies and the banning of abortion puts their health at risk by forcing them to go to illegal/informal abortionists.

Emma Watson has recently been in the news with her Vanity Fair photoshoot. Posing with nothing but a white, crotchet shawl, she faces backlash from other feminists who called her a hypocrite and that she was ‘going against’ feminism ideals.

She replied to the hate saying, “Feminism is about having a choice. It’s not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, and it’s about equality”.

Feminism is a synonym of equality.

Emma Watson’s recent appearance in Disney’s live remake of their animated classic; Beauty and the Beast, saw her take centre stage as the protagonist Belle- a young woman living in a provincial town who longs for adventure in the great wide somewhere, but is constantly trailed by egotistic Gaston who wants her hand in marriage.

When Belle’s father, Maurice is taken captive by a Beast, Belle sacrifices her freedom so her Father can return to the traditional French village. After days spent with the Beast she considered feeling something that wasn’t there before.

Gaston soon hears about Belle being held hostage and rallies the villagers to kill the Beast. After a tense fight between the Beast and Gaston, both fall but [spoiler] as Belle mourns his apparent death, it is revealed he is Price Adam. It is a tale as old as time.

Emma took the role of Belle, after declining the role of the protagonist in Cinderella because “Belle is a true heroine, in the original you don’t get much sense of Belle, who she is before she meets Beast, I wanted to create a backstory”. Belle challenges the gender roles of the film, being the only woman who was literate. She tries to teach a girl to read, but the villagers disrupt her because they don’t believe girls should get an education.

Belle is a feminist and the village represent the general population who are unsure if they should follow society’s gender roles. ie Male superiority.

Emma also mirrors Belle’s love of books, where she recently placed books written by “powerful” women around the London Underground to inspire commuters to read.

To finalise, Emma Watson is a pioneer of women’s rights and feminism both on-screen and in reality.

By Ellie Smith and Beth Forbes

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