Emma Watson and Why She Rules: Pop Culture Edition

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Emma Watson’s name has been plastered all over the headlines this week. In case you somehow missed it, she gave a particularly moving speech in her role as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassabor as part of the HeForShe campaign asking men to begin calling themselves feminists (and acting like them too) to help women attain equal rights. A graduate of Brown University, Watson is well educated and well respected, unlike many young women her age in Hollywood.

In many ways, Watson is already the face of a new generation of feminism. Her most iconic role, that of brainiac buddy to Harry Potter Hermione Granger, is one of the strongest, most positive and influential female characters of the last decade. Lots of young women have grown up admiring her, wanting to be as strong and smart as she is.  She clearly takes that responsibility seriously, and she has chosen to speak up about the important of engaging men in feminism. Instead of partying and pursuing tabloid celebrity, Watson is trying to use her position of influence to make the world a better place.

To celebrate the amazingly badass lady she has grown up into, we’re highlighting the three best roles she’s had other than the iconic, ass-kicking, ultimately awesome Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series, of course.

So, so badass.

3. This is the End as herself.   It takes guts to be willing to mock yourself in media, especially when you’re already famous and have people mocking you constantly. Emma, like a lot of big names in young Hollywood, made the decision to play herself in a slightly exaggerated, humorous way (though she didn’t take it as far as Michael Cera). This movie, unlike the others on this list, does not pass the Bechdel test, but Emma Watson’s role is so honest and funny that the omission of other female characters can be overlooked. She not only kicks ass, she kicks the asses of all the male leads as a means to protect herself from a perceived sexual threat. If that’s not badass,  I don’t know what is.

2. The Bling Ring as Nicki.   A group of girls (and their pretty much out-of-the-closet buddy) decide to rob a bunch of rich celebrities homes in Hollywood. Based on real events, this movie shows the culmination of a culture that worships fame and teaches young people to expect instant gratification. Watson’s acting is excellent as a spoiled little girl who hides behind her parents, and her accent is all but undetectable in this role. If you want to see her portray a character as far from Hermione as possible, The Bling Ring should be your go-to.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower as Sam. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, do everyone a favor and read the book before you see the movie. There’s so much that can’t be included in the film, and TPoBaW was one of the best books written in the 1990s. Without spoiling it, be advised there is some triggering content (non-explicit), but the themes and overall message of The Perks of Being a Wallflower make it a must-read and must view. Sam is a strong, powerful, independent young woman who will inspire you to follow your dreams and to reach out to the people you love who are struggling.

Photo Credit: David Shankbone under (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons