Posted at 12:22 PM Jul 24, 2009By Andrea Grimes
Watson is undeniably pretty, beautiful even, and for awhile now I've been mad that the hair-and-makeup crew, the producers of the movie, even Watson herself did nothing at all to hide that fact. Nothing at all in spite that fact that Hermione is supposed to be the smart one of the trio, the talented and ambitious one... not the pretty one.Apart from the perhaps misguided thought that Watson should somehow be responsible for uglying herself up in the faces of makeup artists and producers, Sunfollower's concerns do bring up issues surrounding beauty, brains and who is allowed to have one or both of them. But what I have always loved about Hermione as a character and Emma Watson's portrayal of her is that her beauty and her sexuality are, I feel, appropriately acknowledged and ignored, depending on the particular situation. (Cases in point: can we really complain that Hermione is too pretty considering what hyper-sexualized teenage girls wear in Bring It On, Gossip Girl, etc?) Like a lot of teenage girls, Hermione gets gussied up sometimes. And most of the time, she doesn't, because for heaven's sake, she used a Time Turner to take extra classes. Who's going to do that in heels?
Rowling certainly described Hermione early-on as a child with buck teeth and bushy hair, but is that to say she can't also be beautiful? Or plain? Or fat? Or thin? We know almost nothing about the way she looks besides a few key characteristics. Why? Because that's part of the excellence of Harry Potter -- the story is about the characters, not what they look like beyond some key elements that help explain who they are as people. Really, how much do we know about Ron and Harry's appearances? We know about their hair, their height, their scars, their glasses (or lack thereof). We know that Harry found Cho Chang pretty, but we do not really know what she looked like. It's a brilliant way of creating a world where physical appearance is extant but not emphasized.
I find the fact that Emma Watson's good looks are a point of discussion--rather than how handsome Daniel Radcliffe is or how gawky Rupert Grint can be--to be more than a little dismaying. No one is asking whether Radcliffe is too handsome to play Harry.
Too often, women are marginalized--and marginalize themselves--because society needs to classify, place and sort women into easily understandable terms as if our little lizard brains can't handle the non-male default. This furthers the conception (which is backed up by, oh, I don't know, every women's magazine ever) that women are problems that need to be fixed instead of humans who need to be celebrated.
And so I say hooray for Hermione and Luna and Ginny and all the wonderful Harry Potter girls.