From the time I was little, popular culture unknowingly fed me the same recycled, unimaginative “romance” plot. It goes as follows: Girl transforms from gawky to gorgeous and gets the guy. The key to getting the guy, as the movie or music video so clearly explains, is to buy some better fitting clothes, maybe apply some makeup, and most definitely ditch the glasses.
Glasses are an object we associate with intelligence and studiousness. How strange is it, then, that in a girl’s quest to get the guy she must sacrifice her intelligence? T-Swift, say it isn’t so! Have even you bought into this twisted scheme?
It frustrated me to see intelligence in women bashed, in this instance and in so many others. However, these acts never made me waver in my faith that being smart wasn’t something to hide or diminish in order for people to love me. For that, I have one person to thank:
This is Hermione Granger, a character from the Harry Potter movie series portrayed by actress Emma Watson. Both the fictional character of Hermione in the Harry Potter series as well as the actress who portrayed her in the movies are my pop culture inspirations, the ones who taught be what it means to be a woman of beauty and substance.
I’ve learned that qualities seen as feminine, such as tenderness and being in touch with your feelings, are looked down upon. It says a lot about our society that crying is seen as feminine, and when people exhibit this “girly” trait they are ostracized, as if the worst thing you could be in this world is a woman. A rant for another day, I know, but often the message to young girls and boys is that emotions make you weak. Hermione, however, never repressed who she was to make herself seem stronger. If she wanted to cry or if she wanted to yell, then she did.
Tenderness, Hermione showed me, can be powerful too.
Hermione was also unapologetically passionate. Whether it was activism for poorly treated house-elves, or whether it was a question in class Hermione knew the answer to, she never held back. Hermione taught me there was no such thing as being “too much”. You and your passions, ideas, thoughts, and dreams are all valid and worth pursuing with unabashed zeal. What a beautiful thing it is, to live life feeling things fully.
Speaking of never holding back, Hermione was brilliant. She saved Harry and Ron countless times just by her wit, teaching young girls everywhere that brains are most definitely as important as brawn. She also never tried to downplay how passionate she was for school and reading, something I reminded myself of every time people would smirk at the book at my hand and quip, “Ew reading? Why are you trying so hard?”
Tenderhearted as Hermione was, she also knew how to fight right alongside of Harry and Ron. She was there every step of the adventure, ready to defend her friends, herself, and the things she believed in. I mean, who among us could forget this iconic moment:
I learned so much from Hermione and it’s something that sticks with me even today. On behalf of all of the young girls who learned to love themselves for their weaknesses, strengths, and passions by watching you embrace yours, thank you Hermione Granger. Thank you!
Image sources: Giphy.com, Tumblr.com