Hermione Granger - and Emma Watson - have emerged as the breakout stars of the Harry Potter franchise, not a shocker when you consider the dearth of comparable female role models. Obviously, the logical next step is nudity!
A poll that came out yesterday found that Hermione has surpassed Harry as the series' most popular character, and that 51% of those polled felt Watson had the best chance of a good post-Potter career. That's encouraging: after all, Hermione is a character defined by her intelligence and scholarship, as well as her bravery and loyalty. Watson, meanwhile, has always come across as composed and thoughtful in interviews, and seems to be choosing her adult career carefully, edging more towards high-fashion than Maxim. So all this should be really, encouraging, right? Well, maybe, except for the part where, according to Reuters, they feel that career could be as "a sex symbol." And that 67% of the same poll-ees "approved" the idea of her appearing naked.
What does a girl have to do? Yes, her upcoming Elle cover is more mature than her Teen Vogue shoots. And it's true that Hermione and Ron have filmed (apparently with much embarrassment) a long-awaited onscreen snog. But besides a paparazzi shot of her drinking a few years ago, and an accidental flash of panties (which Letterman was quick to leer about), what has Emma Watson done to warrant polls about her nudity or lecherous salivating?
Of course, Daniel Radcliffe has bared all. But as Salon's Joy Press points out, "shifting your image into a more mature gear has very different ramifications for a young woman than for a young guy. I doubt many people actually wanted to glimpse Harry Potter's wand, whereas at least one creepy Web site counting down the days till Watson's 18th birthday popped up back in 2004."
Although there was plenty of salacious innuendo about said wand, the truth is that in doing so, Radcliffe pretty much spiked his critics' guns - and looked brave in the process. If Watson were to do anything similar, few would be praising her artistic cred, and it would begin, rather than end, the calls for more flesh-baring. It's an interestingly controlled study of the contrasts, because up until recently, the whole young cast has had a similar level of exposure and fame. Radcliffe acknowledges the differences, saying,
She's always been a very, very pretty girl, and now suddenly that she turned 18, everyone's like 'OK, now she's fair game! Paparazzi!'...It is kind of creepy, I did feel bad for her. Men will never know the kind of humiliation of having an upskirt done, which poor old Emma had,