In a recent press interview with the Associated Press for his new film Horns, the interviewer asked Radcliffe how he feels about being labeled something of an "unconventional" romantic lead. But instead of getting angry or just answering the question directly (or as directly as actors ever do in these interviews), Radcliffe used to opportunity to turn the tables and instead offer a very profound question about feminism and sexualization.
And in case you're not a fan of the GIFs,
"Around the time of rom com What If coming out, a lot of people were saying: 'You're really an unconventional romantic lead.' And so eventually I got bored of hearing that and kind of picked someone up on it, so I was like 'What about me is unconventional, exactly? Like, tell me.'
"And she said, 'well, I think it's probably the fact that you know, we associated you with playing Harry, the young boy wizard.'
"My immediate response to that was: 'Well, the male population had no problem sexualising Emma Watson immediately.'"
Boom, roasted: He's completely right. While Hollywood and pop culture do sexualize a lot of men, people seem hesitant to sexualize young men because we've seen them as boys, and it's "weird" or "icky."
But almost as soon as Emma Watson started going through puberty, she became the subject of sexualization in almost every form (including this SNL sketch that went for the jokes as soon as possible) and yet no one seemed to have a problem with that. Besides making the likely unintended case of gender equality ("We should sexualize everyone equally." — hmm, fairly weird and therefore probably not his message), Radcliffe's interview answer pointedly calls out the media — and in many ways society — for feeling free to pick and choose young women to sexualize and turn into "conventional romantic leads."
It's the kind of answer that (at least hopefully) makes you stop and think about just how easily we take young female stars and turn them into sex icons. "These girls keep getting younger and younger," you might hear someone say with a feigned disgust, but they're only getting younger because we start sexualizing them from a younger age. Or, in other words, they're only getting younger because we're making them younger.
And if you agree with Radcliffe about the absurdity of the situation, clearly it's time to stop it.
You can watch the video of the interview segment below: