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Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born on April 15, 1990, in Paris, France (Brian 7). Her parents Chris Watson and Jacqueline Luesby, are lawyers by profession. Her brother, Alex, was born in 1993. Unfortunately, her parents separated when she was five. She moved with her mother and brother to Oxfordshire in England, where she grew up. She is famously known for playing the role of Hermione Granger, one of Harry Potter’s best friends in the Harry Potter film series (Brian 7). She started acting in the series while she was still an adolescent. After a decade’s commitment to the Harry Potter series and featuring in famous films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Beauty and the Beast, etc., she has transformed into a popular adult model and actress.
She attended the Stagecoach Theatre Arts School at Oxford, where she learned acting, singing, and dancing (Brain 10). At a tender age, her talent was eminent as she performed in many school plays. For instance, at the age of seven, she scooped a poetry prize for reciting James Reeves’ The Sea remarkably well (Biography.com par. 3). Watson’s passion for fashion has attracted the attention of many personalities in the fashion industry. She regards fashion as a way of public presentation (Biography.com par. 4). She has not only worked with People Tree, a fashion trademark promoting fair trade, but she has also featured in many magazines and advertisements. People tree is also involved in philanthropic activities and in environmental conservation. While working with this organization, she has helped to design eco-friendly clothes and clothing lines. At the same time, she was chosen as the face of Burberry’s 2009 collection for the two consecutive seasons, making her cruise into the glory of high fashion and modeling (Goldstein 8).
Despite the whims and the fame of a successful acting career, Watson did not neglect her academics. She attended the Lynams School for junior education (Brian 7). When she was 13 years old, she joined Headington School in Oxford. However, because of a tight acting schedule, she was forced alongside her co-actors in the Harry Potter series – Radcliffe and Grint – to study via private tutoring (Brian 7). She sat for the high school equivalency exams and performed excellently. Later, she enrolled at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2009. She chose American education over British education, claiming that the American system was diverse and that she did not want too much public attention, which would have been inevitable had she opted for home colleges (Biography.com par. 6). She proceeded from Brown in 2014 with an English degree before being nominated as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador to agitate for women’s rights and equality (Smith par. 4).
Contribution to Arts
Watson’s contribution to the film industry is prolific. She was young when she auditioned for her role in Harry Potter and has maintained an excellent record as an extraordinary actor. She is one of the high-earning actresses. Her entry into professional acting came when she was 9 years old. Watson was introduced by her theatre teachers to the Harry Potter film agents who refined her for the role that ushered her into international fame (Nolan 10). She sufficiently captivated audition agents and film producers in her role as Hermione Granger in the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Her 11-year-old film inauguration was a success earning more than $974 million globally (Biography.com par. 5). The first film was voted for three Academy Awards and seven British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, and in both instances, Watson was acknowledged as a budding young film celebrity (Brian 14). She continued to feature in the film series up to the final film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: part 2 that was released in 2011. She has also played acting roles in other films as well as in animated work. In 2007, she featured in the movie Ballet Shoes, and in the subsequent year, she did a narration as Princess Pea in The Talk of Despereaux, an animated film (Brian 22). She received a “People’s Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor and a Best supporting actor award at the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards for the role she played in The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Smith par. 1).
Advocator for Women’s Rights
Watson’s journey as a women activist begun even before her appointment as an ambassador to the UN. The UN for women is fixated on gender equality and aims at empowering women. She was the right candidate for nomination since her efforts to empower women had been recognized earlier. She had been an ambassador of Camfed since 2012 (smith par. 2). Camfed is an organization dedicated to educating and improving the welfare of girls that live in rural and poor areas in Sub-Saharan Africa (Smith par. 2). It operates in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Statistics show that the organization has helped more than 350,000 (Smith par. 3). The organization provides financial resources, which is the main impediment to accessing education by poor children. Through education, the girls are kept in schools and do not become targets of early marriages. The girls are empowered economically since after schooling, they can secure employment and earn a living. In addition, the education keeps them from HIV diseases, a threat to many lives in these parts of the world. Watson joined the Just One Thing campaign, which is about taking girls to school and providing them with the essential supplies that are vital for securing a decent education (Nolan 20). She has also been to Bangladesh to promote the same plan.
She took on the offer as the UN women’s rights advocator, knowing that there was much to learn on the theme of women’s rights. On September 20, 2014, she introduced the “HeForShe” campaign with the intent of appealing to men to join the struggle for gender equality (Hoffmaier par 2). She emphasized the need for the wholehearted support of the notion behind feminism and pointed out the various ways in which both men and women are severely impacted by gender roles (Hoffmaier par 2). Society places a restriction on male behavior and does not allow them to display their emotions openly. Moreover, there is a preconceived idea that male parenting is of less significance. She cited discrepancies in earnings between men and women and the state of girl child education in Africa as some of the reasons why there should be concerted efforts in dealing with gender issues. To reinforce the course, the HeForShe campaign also targeted larger groups such as businesses, governments, and universities in what was christened a 10x10x10 campaign (Gallop par. 3). Watson wrote to the Parliament of Uruguay imploring it to allow women to have greater space for political participation (Smith par. 8).
Gallop agrees with the observation that men are hurt by gender inequality, and that progression of feminism can change the situation (par. 4). However, she differed with Watson’s plea on men to join the course just because they are affected by inequalities and that such a suggestion is inconsistent with the idea of feminism. Gallop remarked, “The insinuation that a drive to advance the lives of women is not complete unless it embraces men places men above women” (par. 5). According to critics, she blundered by placing too much emphasis on how feminism profits men instead of recognizing that feminism is a women’s space that men should let grow and not infringe upon (Gallop par. 6). In addition to these constructive criticisms, Watson received threats of sexual harassment, defamation, and ridicule from those who missed the point behind her complex thinking and those who are unconscious of the workings of the society (Hoffmaier par. 4).
Watson agitates for equal opportunities for both men and women. She is concerned about society’s failure to fully acknowledge and reward the contributions of women as it does with men. For instance, she has questioned why there is the absence of female directors in Hollywood (Goldstein 14).
Watson has been a role model to many young people. Her excellent acting career at such a tender age is something worth of inspiration to many teenagers. Despite the riches, the fame, and innumerable stuff, which could have distracted her focus in life, she managed to give her studies a priority. All through, her advice to the youths has been that they should be truthful to themselves and that they should appreciate who they are to avoid leading stereotypical lives (Bryan 29).
Uniqueness and Impact of Her work
Watson is a unique person. She has a passion for all she does: from fashion to acting, to education, to charitable work, and to her family. She uses the opportunities that life presents to the fullest. In addition, her approach to feminism is unique in the sense that she works for equality of all, not for women alone. She keeps her head level in the whole issue of political, economic, and social empowerment of both sexes. This is not typical of the women activists, most of whom turn the struggle for women emancipation into some form of personal embitterment and convey wrong signals to the society that the struggle for equality of sexes means hatred to men.
Emma has left a mark on the lives of many girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and many parts of the world through her role as an ambassador of change and through the financial resources she has contributed personally and solicited from other humanitarian sources. Some of the charities she has supported are UNIFEM, Great Almond Street Hospital, Sense, Millennium Promise, Small Steps Project, and ShelterBox (Goldstein 6). Her position as a celebrity has created trust in the philanthropic organizations and individuals to the effect that they have been willing to join her quest to empower girls. Those who were touched by her efforts look at their improved lives and say, ‘Thank you, Emma.’
Overall, Emma Watson has had a significant and long-lasting impact on global society. Her roles in the film and fashion industries have and still serve informative and entertainment purposes to her global audience. The effects of her works of charity transcend this generation into the next one. Her efforts as a campaigner for social equity are unrivaled.
Brian, Dale-Marie. Emma Watson. The child’s World, 2013. Bookzz E-book, Web.
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Biography.com. “Emma Watson.” Biography.com, 2017, Web.
Gallop, Larry. “Do Men Have to be Guilted into Equality?” The Post – Crescent. 2014. Web.
Goldstein, Jack. Amazing Emma Watson Facts. Luton: Andrews UK, 2012.
Hoffmaier, Ariel. “HeForShe is Admirable, but Breaks no Ground.” University Wire, 2016, Web.
Nolan, David. Emma Watson: The Biography. London: John Blake Publishing, 2011.
Smith, Jeanette. “Emma Watson, Actress, Humanitarian, Equal Rights Activist.” Thepublicslate.com, 2015, Web.