#MondayMotivation: Emma Watson is Our Woman of the Week!


Every Monday, Culturess chooses one woman in pop culture to be our Woman of the Week.  These women inspire and empower us to kick ass, take names, fight the good fight, and live our best lives.  Today, our Woman of the week is Emma Watson!

When some of us were little girls, Hermione was our first heroine. She showed us what it meant to be smart, strong, and engaged in a world that would rather we stay silent. So it is beyond fitting that the young girl who played Hermione would grow up to be a heroine in her own right. It’s safe to say Emma Watson has absolutely lived up to her breakout role. She has become one of the most compelling young actresses and activists in pop culture today.

Watson’s passion for and investment in women’s rights seems to touch every aspect of her life. She uses her privilege and her power to stand up for women in ways that are both huge and small. In 2014, Watson was named a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. She used this platform to help establish HeForShe, a campaign that intends to include everyone, especially men and boys, in the fight to end gender equality.

In the groundbreaking, viral speech Watson gave to kick off HeForShe, she said, “You might be thinking, ‘Who is this Harry Potter girl and what is she doing speaking at the U.N.?’ And it’s a really good question. I’ve been asking myself the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem, and I want to make it better. And having seen what I’ve seen, and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something.”

Emma Watson as Belle (with Kevin Kline as Maurice) in Beauty and the Beast, Image via Disney

But Emma Watson does not only preach the importance of women’s equality. She walks the walk and does the work of feminism in small ways in her everyday life. Her choice to go to university, though she didn’t have to, emphasized the importance of education. In January, she started Our Shared Shelf, a Goodreads book club with an emphasis on feminist literature. She’s also been leaving copies of the book club’s current read, Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou, on the London Underground, for anyone to pick up.

Additionally, the roles Watson chooses showcase a variety and diversity of women. Watson’s characters all have agency and a rich interior life, from the privileged socialite in The Bling Ring to the young female tech worker in the upcoming The Circle. When she took on the role of Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, she made several subtle but important changes. While the live-action Cinderella remake featured an impossible and, frankly, ridiculously small waist on its protagonist, Watson refused to wear a corset as Belle. Additionally, Watson, disappointed by a lack of backstory, asked that Belle be given a job as an inventor.

Emma Watson came into the public eye as a child, with one of the most iconic roles in recent memory. After Harry Potter, her finances and her career were set for life. She could have done anything, including playing the game that Hollywood expects of actresses – the “here’s your nudity rider, don’t open your mouth too much” game. Instead, she used her influence to have a greater, positive effect on the world. And all her work for women’s equality, the big choices and the small ones, have shown her legions of young female fans that they deserve better. Our admiration for Hermione pales in comparison to this real woman, who is just as brave, strong, and smart.

So take a page out of Emma Watson’s book this week, and harness your power for the good of womankind!

Next: Emma Watson and Justin Trudeau Take On Gender Inequality

Emma Watson’s work is available here:

U.N. HeForShe:  Watch Emma Watson’s iconic speech from 2014, then check out the HeForShe website for more information!

Our Shared Shelf:  You can find Emma Watson’s feminist book club on the Goodreads website.

Beauty and the Beast:  The live action adaptation premieres March 17, 2017.  Watch the trailer here!

The Circle:  The Circle premieres April 28, 2017.  Watch the trailer here!