In the last few days, I have not been able to open up a social media app without seeing comments about Emma Watson’s November 4th interview with British Vogue.
You know the one. I’m sure you do.
It’s the one where she talks about being comfortable as a single woman about to turn 30 and coins the lovely phrase ‘self-partnered’.
I’m 27 years old and I enjoy being single. I enjoy being alone without the pressure of having to share my life with anyone else if I don’t want to. So, of course, I identified with what Emma Watson was saying.
And then I watched the entire interview.
And I realized how little of their discussion was actually about being single and almost 30.
It was a very, very small amount of the 30-minute interview. Less than a minutes worth of it and at the very end. The rest of it was filled with much more important dialogue about the state of our world, being a learning and growing individual, and spreading kindness and understanding.
But that is not what is being reported.
That is not what the journalists scrapped from the lengthy interview.
Instead, they decided that the most interesting and newsworthy comment that came from this interview was one short quote that centered on a woman’s relationship status.
They decided to strongly point out (by effectively brushing off the much more interesting and important conversations that had been — and continue to need to be — had) how obvious it is that we still live in a world where it’s mindboggling that a woman of prime child-bearing years can have choices that don’t involve children or marriage. Where that is more shocking than the lack of discussion around slavery and human acceptance.
Here are some quotes from this interview that are more important than Emma Watson’s relationship status:
Emma Watson on what Gloria Steinem taught her about how to be a feminist.
“She was just so loving and accepting in terms of everyone is where they are on their learning journey. As long as you are doing the work and you are actively seeking and pursuing understanding and connection genuinely from a curious place then you’re gonna be fine.”
Emma Watson after reading Reni Eddo-Lodge’s ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ and recognizing the importance of questioning who is giving us our knowledge and education.
“I had really considered myself to be well-read and I have a university degree and I have the label of my university degree and suddenly it felt like this needs critical analysis. What I’ve learned, who I’ve read, why I’ve been told to read it, who’s been included, who hasn’t, whose voices are missing.”
Emma Watson’s response to what she would tell individuals who find an issue sharing public bathrooms with transgendered people.
“I understand fearing what you don’t know. I understand being like ‘I don’t really understand about this and I’ve never met someone (like that)’ but go and speak…Go look into the whites of someone’s eyes that’s had this experience and tell me after you’ve done that you do not see or feel their humanity or understand their story or that there’s any part of you that feels that it’s okay to make that person not feel included. Making people feel not included I think is just such a painful awful thing to do and it has such big effects.”
Emma Watson on why she chooses to make activism a part of her public image.
“I think I’ve always been this way, and I don’t know why. Without this part, honestly it’s got to the point that it renders everything else that I do meaningless. It just feels empty otherwise. I feel uncomfortable taking up as much space as I’m taking up, and not speaking about this stuff just doesn’t feel right.”
Emma Watson on the importance of an artist’s work and line of questioning.
“They say that ‘When disaster strikes, that’s when artists get to work.’ That’s when we roll up our sleeves and we say ‘How am I going to tell everyone’s stories so effectively that peace is possible or more war is impossible because everyone can see that everyone is the same and they can’t be at war with each other?’”
I found all of these quotes enlightening and I hope you do too.
Please, please, please take a half-hour out of your day today and go watch the interview for yourself. I hope it helps you spend more time in the future thinking about the narrative we get from media outlets and what that says about us all.
Adrienne Grimes is a graduate student who’s passionate about art, culture, and becoming a better person. She lives in Portland with her Falkor-looking dog and an increasingly doggish cat.