While some actors might take the compliment of being called a "sex symbol" and move on, Daniel Radcliffe had some articulate feminist commentary to add to the label during a recent interview.
In an interview with the Associated Press published on Oct. 24, the 25-year-old actor discussed his upcoming movie "Horns" and how he feels about being labeled an "unconventional romantic lead" after starring as a young wizard in the "Harry Potter" movie series for so long.
The interviewer asked Radcliffe how it feels to become a "sex symbol," and while the actor said he's "delighted" if anyone sees him that way, his sex appeal is often referred to as "unconventional." With a refreshingly accurate anecdote, Radcliffe explains that this label highlights the sexist double standard that normalizes the sexualization of young actresses but not young actors.
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"Around the time of rom com 'What If' coming out, a lot of people were saying: 'You're really an unconventional romantic lead,'" Radcliffe told the AP. "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.'"
Radcliffe's telling answer? "My immediate response to that was: 'Well, the male population had no problem sexualizing Emma Watson immediately,'" he said.
While Hollywood definitely does sexualize men, it's usually men of a certain age. Women, however, are sexualized and objectified at all ages, and Emma Watson is a perfect example. The 24-year-old star has been in the spotlight since she was 11 years old and has experienced her fair share of being sexualized by the media -- something she explicitly mentioned in her U.N. speech on gender equality in September.
Radcliffe's pointed comment reminds us that in Hollywood, a "conventional romantic lead" often means a young woman with a face and body that we feel comfortable sexualizing. It's an uncomfortable double standard, but one that's worth thinking twice about.
Watch the full interview below: