The two leading figures in the fight for gender equality, He For She’s Emma Watson and Malala Yousfazai, come together for what proves to be an endearing and touching conversation opening the Into Film Festival running from 4th – 20th November.
Words: Alice Marshall, Subeditor: Matt Hooper
There’s nothing we love more than seeing two girls celebrating one another’s accomplishments. In a society that is obsessed with pitting women against each other, it sure is a beautiful sight to see Emma Watson orchestrate a Q&A session with Malala Yousfazai, the 18 year-old known worldwide for being shot in the head by the Taliban for striving to get an education. The best part? They basically fangirl over each other, and we’ll admit we were kind of fangirling too.
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) November 5, 2015
Between bonding over books (Malala is currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini) and annoying brothers, as well as going into Yousfazai’s first thoughts on moving to England (only one consistent season, for the record) there were some really heartfelt exchanges between the two women. On top of the fact Watson began by initially informing Yousfazai that she was her “absolute hero”. Throughout the interview the actress — made famous for her part in J. K. Rowling franchise Harry Potter — wore her heart on her sleeve and responded, on more than one occasion, “Wow, I’m so moved to hear that. That’s absolutely amazing.”
They also discussed in great detail He Named Me Malala, with Watson pinpointing prominent moments that stood out to her throughout the documentary directed by David Guggenheim. When asking her about the somewhat tenuous bridge between religion and educating women, Watson said: “It was so wonderful in the film to show how important your faith and spirituality were in giving you strength to do the work that you do.”
That was barely the tip of the iceberg where the compliments the two women gave one another were concerned. Emma broached Malala on a question she said she’d been asked on numerous occasions: ‘What would you do if you could be anonymous for a day?’ Watson admitted, though, that she knew exactly what the younger woman would do. “It struck me; you know what you’ve sacrificed for your idylls and your dream and this movement, and it made me really emotional. So I just wanted to thank you again for being who you are and for being so brave.” Malala was then given the chance to answer, saying that she’d like to visit home in Pakistan where she hasn’t been for three years and to simply achieve her goal of having education for all girls.
Watson wasn’t the only one to celebrate her hero’s work. No, the fangirling was most certainly not one-sided. From the beginning, Malala said, with a heartwarming amount of conviction, that she was excited to be interviewed by none other than Emma Watson and that it was a real honour. She also, much to the He For She campaigners delight, stated that her speech to the United Nations back in September of last year was the reason Malala had decided “there was nothing wrong with being a feminist” and to finally identify as one. And, if that wasn’t enough, Malala then opened up the floor for Emma Watson to address the young boys in the audience and urge them to join a movement she believed to be every bit as important.
Be still our fangirling hearts, we can barely handle it! We are all about the work these ladies are doing and the fact that they support each other makes it even better.