In general, boys have trouble accepting female heroes as their role models.
I know it. You know it. Even Emma Watson knows it.
But women and young girls alike will gladly name "Batman" or "Spider-Man" as their favorite heroes — so why is it hard for men to admit that they look up to strong female characters?
Emma Watson recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss the male resistance to female movie heroes.
In her interview, Watson said she believed men simply aren't conditioned to look up to women:
"It’s something that they are not used to and they don’t like that. Anything that deviates from the norm is difficult to accept. I think if you’ve been used to watching characters that look like, sound like, think like you, and then you see someone up on the screen and you go, ‘Well, that’s a girl, she doesn’t look like me. I want it to look like me so that I can project myself onto the character.'”
Watson thinks female audiences are better at finding ways to relate to characters across the gender spectrum.
“Women are great at doing that," she insisted. "We see whoever is on screen and we recognize the human qualities that we relate to and there’s not such a gap."
Men, on the other hand, typically stop themselves from relating to female characters.
"But for some reason there’s some kind of barrier there where [men] are like, ‘I don’t want to relate to a girl. I don’t want to, I don’t want that,’ which I think is inherently part of the problem," Watson explained.
“If I asked a young boy what superhero they looked up to, I feel a lot fewer would say a female one or would ever use an example of a female one, than in reverse, which is a shame because I feel like we need to live in a culture that values and respects and looks up to and idolizes women as much as men."
The actress thinks that introducing children to characters like Hermione Granger from "Harry Potter" is one way to turn around this gendered mindset.
Watson said her character from the "Harry Potter" films was somebody that anyone — girl or boy — could idolize.
“Hermione was that perfect example," she said. "Hermione finds a way to wield her intelligence and become really the leader in this group of two other boys. That’s kind of the role that she assumes. Harry is much more intuitive. Ron is just along for the ride. Hermione is the one with the plan. She’s in control. ... She’s really the glue that keeps that trio together. Her role, it’s fundamental. And the boys knew it and they really treat her as if they know that.”
Watson hopes the film industry continues to challenge gender stereotypes.
"You need to expand people’s vision," she concluded. "You need to get people out of comfortable habits and patterns in order to see new possibilities.”