Why “this Harry Potter girl” is exactly the right person for the HeForShe Campaign

By Lucia Barbier

Emma Watson – also known as Hermione Granger – was my personal superhero. She always had strong courageous words in all those hairy situations the trio maneuvered itself into. Furthermore, with her intellectual extravagance she managed to impress people in and outside of the Harry Potter world. Not only did she manage to find the right words in all kinds of delicate situations, Hermione was also willing to take the actions following her words and stand up for her beliefs. Now, you might think that is all good and well but Hermione is just a character and Emma Watson is a real person who happens to have played the role of Hermione. Yes, you are right! However, if you give it a second thought Emma is very much like Hermione.

Emma Watson made it to becoming an UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador. Even more impressing: she started to spread a perception of feminism that has not been commonly acknowledged lately, although it originates from the essential definition of feminism: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights”. She clearly states that feminism is not a synonym for man-hating and even takes one step further by inviting all boys and men to join as advocates for the campaign, as feminism also concerns them. This is usually the case because the same gender stereotypes that hinder women from working in certain positions, also disable men from positioning themselves in certain patterns in society such as a stay-at-home-dad.

Now, this was certainly not a problem in the Harry Potter world. There was no housework to be done as the pans and pots would usually just clean themselves or there was some elf ready to take over the work. Therefore, the question who was going to stay at home to do housework and raise the kids was never one of greater concern. However, there were other issues the magic world had to deal with. Lord Voldemort, for example. The dark Lord, as the most evil creature of that world, tried to “clean” the wizard’s world from all “mudbloods”.

In the fifth book Hermione has the idea to found a student association called Dumbledore’s Army. This is because she feels the need to stand up against the artificial restraints by the Ministry of Magic. In the end it is Harry who teaches the group of students how to defend themselves, but it was Hermione’s idea and she made all the arrangements necessary for the association to convene. She is a symbol for strength and courage, but also for being a team player.

In conclusion, Hermione is not synonymous to Emma and Emma is not synonymous to Hermione, however, they both have character traits that are extremely similar. They both stand up for something that requires change and both are no single fighters. Their inclusive attitude is inspiring. Emma Watson is the right person to be the Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and certainly the right person promote the campaign as feminism is a topic that truly concerns each and every one of us!

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