Released on March 17, Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast, the live-action film, directed by Bill Condon, is a retelling of the classic fairy tale which stars Emma Watson as Belle, the bright girl from the French countryside who wants much more than her provincial life. The casting of Watson is particularly inspired, as she is already a famous bookworm and outspoken activist for gender equality.
By playing the brilliant Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, Watson might have already become a young feminist icon. Few years later, after she hung up her wand, the actress joined the fight for gender equality in a more deliberate way. In July of 2014, Watson was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women.
In the spirit of her newly released film, here are some of her best quotes about feminism.
“I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights,” - from Emma Watson’s 2014 UN speech.
“No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality,” - 2014 UN speech.
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong,” - 2014 UN speech.
“[Feminism]’s not about us convincing you that gender equality is worth engaging in only because there might be something in it for you, or in it for your sister or your mother. The question is, what’s in it for humans?” - interview with Esquire UK.
“Call me a ‘diva’, call me a ‘feminazi’, call me ‘difficult’, call me a ‘First World feminist’, call me whatever you want, it’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens.’ Because it doesn’t just affect me, it affects all the other women who are in this with me, and it affects all the other men who are in this with me, too.” - interview with Esquire UK.
“Here’s what I think. Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice,” - interview with Elle UK.
“We want to empower women to do exactly what they want, to be true to themselves, to have the opportunities to develop. Women should feel free. There is no typical feminist, there is nothing anywhere that says you have to meet a certain [set of] criteria.” - interview with Elle UK.
“Feminism can be humorous, and we all have a different way of approaching that. I often wonder what mischief I can make to spread the word in a playful way. You can’t take everything in life seriously, can you?” - interview with Elle UK.