Emma Watson: From Witch To Feminist To Princess

Emma Watson, the child actress whom the world watched grow up as Hermione Granger in the eight Harry Potter movies, has a new role to add to her resume: Disney Princess. Emma Watson will be starring in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast as Belle.

Krypton Radio shared the teaser trailer, which has become the most watched movie trailer in a 24-hour period. The trailer was viewed 98.1 million times in its first day.

“Miss Watson’s Belle is the fragile, delicate beauty she needs to be.”

Emma Watson is all grown-up now, 26-years-old, and a college graduate. Beauty and the Beast isn’t the first time she’s played a princess. She voiced the role of Princess Pea in the animated feature The Tale of Despereaux.

In addition to playing Hermione Granger, described as “the cleverest witch of her generation,” for over a decade, award-winning actress Emma Watson has also played Pauline Fossil in Ballet Shoes, Lucy in My Week with Marilyn, Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Nicki Moore in The Bling Ring, Ila in Noah, and Reverend Iris in The Vicar of Dibley.

Emma Watson has not let her acting career interrupt her education. The British actress earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Ivy League school Brown University in Rhode Island. She also spent a year at Worcester College in Oxford as a visiting student.

Emma Watson is as well-known as a feminist and civil rights activist as she is an actress. She was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014. In a speech she made to the United Nations, she defined feminism as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Emma Watson has traveled to Asia, Africa, North America, and South America, advocating more education for girls and increased political participation by women.


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At first glance, it seems appropriate for Emma Watson, who played bookworm Hermione Granger, to play the equally bookworm-ish Belle. However, some may question a noted feminist like Emma Watson starring in the reboot of a movie that’s been criticized for showing a glamorized version of an abusive relationship.

Several social critics have pointed out that Belle and the Beast do not have a healthy relationship. Some writers have accused Disney of showing a prettied up version of domestic abuse.

The Opinioness of the World stated that Beauty and the Beast encouraged girls to stick with their man and wait for their love to change him.

“Falling in love with the guy who imprisons you, holds you hostage, tells you when to eat, where to go and doesn’t let you see your family?! That’s not love. That’s Stockholm Syndrome.”

Dr. Laura Beres’ “Beauty and the Beast: the romanticization of abuse in popular culture,” in the European Journal of Cultural Studies, compares Belle’s adventures in Beauty and the Beast to the path followed by many abused women. Dr. Beres suggests that Beauty and the Beast sets up unrealistic beliefs for women and girls, especially those in abusive relationships.

“For a viewer who is living in a violent relationship, who needs to maintain faith in something beyond her immediate situation, this story suggests that if she acts in a loving way towards her abusive partner, he might learn from her how to be loving, and might turn into a prince for her.”

Buzzfeed compared the actors in the live-action reboot to their animated counterparts from the 1991 cartoon. In addition to Emma Watson as Belle, the movie will feature Dan Stevens as the Beast, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Sir Ian McKellan as Cogsworth, Ewen MacGregor as Lumière, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Audra McDonald as Garderobe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Kevin Kline as Maurice, and Luke Evans as Gaston.

Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, will be released March 12, 2017.

[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]