‘Self-partnered’ Emma Watson’s most refreshing quotes about relationships, feminism and womanhood

Marie Claire Dorking
·7-min read
Emma Watson, pictured at the NYC premiere for Little Woman in December 2019, celebrates her 30th birthday on 15 April 2020. (Getty Images)
Emma Watson, pictured at the NYC premiere for Little Woman in December 2019, celebrates her 30th birthday on 15 April 2020. (Getty Images)

Back in 2011 a seemingly shy Emma Watson made her magical debut as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, and went on to capture the hearts of not only Hogwarts, but Harry Potter fans the world over.

We’re now nine years PP (Post Potter) and as she celebrates her 30th birthday, today (April 15), Emma Watson has become so much more than the magical student who wowed us with her potion knowledge.

Now a powerful women’s rights activist, Watson also advocates for feminism, gender equality, and a right to education.

Read more: Emma Watson’s style evolution

In 2014 she was appointed as one of UN’ s goodwill ambassadors, going on to make an epic speech on gender equality on 20 September as part of the HeForShe campaign, which has been watched more than 7million times on YouTube.

No wonder, therefore that Time named her one of the most influential people in the world in 2015.

There’s no denying Emma Watson is pretty awesome, so how better to celebrate her awesomeness than by gathering together some of the most inspirational things she’s said. Because let’s face it she has said some pretty great stuff.

From that unforgettable quote about ‘self-partnering’ to offering encouragement to women the world over to follow their dreams, she may no longer be Hermione Grainger but she still has some pretty magical things to say.

Emma Watson on ‘wanting to do everything’

“I want to be a Renaissance woman. I want to paint, and I want to write, and I want to act, and I want to just do everything.” - (Time, 2010)

Read more: Emma Watson's style evolution

Emma Watson on equality

“I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.” - (UN HeForShe campaign launch speech, 2014)

Emma Watson turns 30 today! Pictured here at the Beauty and the Beast premiere in March 2017. (Getty Images)
Emma Watson turns 30 today! Pictured here at the Beauty and the Beast premiere in March 2017. (Getty Images)

Emma Watson on feminism

“Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It's not prescriptive, it's not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for Prime Minister, you can. If you don't, that's wonderful, too. Shave your armpits, don't shave them, wear flats one day, heels the next. These things are so irrelevant and surface to what it is all really about, and I wish people wouldn't get caught up in that. We want to empower women to do exactly what they want, to be true to themselves, to have the opportunities to develop. Women should feel free. There is no typical feminist, there is nothing anywhere that says you have to meet a certain [set of] criteria.” - (Elle, 2014)

Read more: Emma Watson reflects on reaction to using term 'self-partnered'

Emma Watson on ‘doing the right thing’

“We are not supposed to talk about money, because people will think you’re ‘difficult’ or a ‘diva. But there’s a willingness now to be like, ‘Fine. Call me a ‘diva,’ call me a ‘feminazi,’ call me ‘difficult,’ call me a “First World feminist,’ call me whatever you want; it’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens.’ Because it doesn’t just affect me, it affects all the other women who are in this with me, and it affects all the other men who are in this with me, too.” - (Esquire, 2016)

Emma Watson on gender equality and university experiences

“The university experience must tell women that their brain power is valued, and not just that, but that they belong among the leadership of the university itself. And so importantly, right now, the experience must make it clear that the safety of women, minorities, and anyone who may be vulnerable is a right and not a privilege. A right that will be respected by a community that believes and supports survivors. And that recognises that when one person's safety is violated, everyone feels that their own safety is violated. A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence.” - (UN speech, 2016)

Emma Watson on being happily ‘self-partnered’

“I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel. I was like, ‘This is totally spiel.’ It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered.” - (Vogue, 2019)

Emma Watson on failure

“It’s a journey and the sad thing is you only learn from experience, so as much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn.” - (Telegraph, 2012)

Emma Watson on learning to love your body

“I don’t have perfect teeth. I’m not stick thin. I want to be the person who feels great in her body and can say that she loves it and doesn’t want to change anything.” (Elle, 2011)

Read more: Emma Watson reveals what's in her handbag, including vegan deodorant and tooth mousse

Emma Watson on strong women

“I feel like young girls are told they have to be a princess, and be delicate and fragile, and that's bulls**t. I identify much more with the idea of being a warrior, being a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I'd be a warrior princess, definitely. I think women are scared of feeling powerful and strong and brave sometimes. I think you’ve got to embrace it.” (Press conference, July 2011)

Emma Watson on ageing

“I’m excited about the ageing process. I'm more interested in women who aren't perfect. They're more compelling.” - (The Sunday Times, 2014)

Emma Watson on feminism losing its ‘romance’

“I'm a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love - and it being more important and special than anything and everything else.” (Vogue, 2011)

Emma Watson has some pretty great things to say, pictured here at The Circle press call in Paris in 2017. (Getty Images)
Emma Watson has some pretty great things to say, pictured here at The Circle press call in Paris in 2017. (Getty Images)

Emma Watson on imposter syndrome

“It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.’ I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are.” (The Sun, 2013)

Emma Watson on dating

“When I started dating I had this kind of Romeo and Juliet, fateful romantic idea about love which was almost that you were a victim and there was a lot of pain involved and that was how it should be, It was such a revelation… to realise that it shouldn’t be that way and that you get to choose who you love and who you decide to give your heart to.” (The Telegraph, 2012)

Emma Watson on why feminism is so important

“So often, feminist issues are being discussed in a room labelled for women, with women, talking about women's issues, focusing on women. But this is an issue that affects everyone.” (Esquire, 2016)

Emma Watson on being who she wants to be

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.” (ELLE, 2014)