We Heart: Daniel Radcliffe’s #WhatAFeministLooksLike Moment

Screen shot 2014-11-04 at 12.46.21 PMIt looks like Elle UK cover woman and UN Women ambassador Emma Watson is rubbing off on her Harry Potter co-star, Daniel Radcliffe. In a recent interview with British GQ Radcliffe was asked if he’s a feminist:

Yes [I am]. There’s seems to be a very recent thing that you come “out” as a feminist. It’s a very weird thing. I mean, yes of course but I’m a feminist in as much as I’m an egalitarian about everything and I believe in meritocracy. I think anyone who isn’t at this point is just swimming against the tide just like people who are vaguely homophobic or racist or sexist or whatever it is. I just think “God, you’re still keeping that up? Give it up, you’ve lost.”

Even though some might take umbrage with him trotting out the tired idea that feminism is interchangeable with humanism or egalitarianism, we’re happy that he’s claiming the name and talking openly about gender equality. For the many young people who grew up loving Harry Potter—and are still waiting for their letters from Hogwarts—it’s nice to know the actor unapologetically champions women’s causes.

And this isn’t the first time Radcliffe has taken a stand for women or decried sexism in the film industry.

In another interview with the Associated Press, Radcliffe was discussing his lead role in the romantic comedy What If. Reflecting on interviews he’d done with other outlets, Radcliffe said he’d had reporter call his new status as a sex symbol “unconventional,” since many fans and critics still see him as the young, innocent wizard boy. He shot back with the perfect feminist response:

Well, the male population has had no problem sexualizing Emma Watson immediately.

Ouch, accio some ointment for that burn! His retort astutely called out a tired double standard in Hollywood: Male actors are allowed to hold on to their “wholesomeness” a little longer, whereas the sexualization of female actors can start at any age. As his co-star Emma Watson said in her now-famous HeForShe speech, she began to realize her sexual objectification by the media as young as 14.

Radcliffe has even put his feminist thoughts to action by pushing directors and screenwriters he’s worked with to make their women characters more nuanced. He said back in August:

On more than one film I’ve persuaded people to build up the female roles. … There are certainly more female writers now than there were but the fact remains, most female parts are written by men. At least there are so many more female directors, producers and directors of photography now. … I think—I hope—the film industry is becoming a lot more balanced.

We’re eager to see how Radcliffe’s feminism evolves and who else from the Harry Potter clan will take a stand for women. Cough, cough… Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, we’re looking at you!

To show you’re #WhatAFeministLooksLike, wear one of our sweatshop-free t-shirts and tweet with the hashtag!

Photo courtesy of fiftytimesfast via Creative Commons 2.0.


Associate editor of Ms. magazine