I would have never thought that Emma Watson saying, “I’m very happy to be single, I call it being ‘self-partnered,'” in British Vogue, would have led to so many people having negative thoughts about it.
Emma Watson has the double-edged sword of being a popular, beloved household name and also being an outspoken feminist and politically aware person. She’s a real (and honestly better) version of Hermione, and that is probably why her words get picked over with a fine-tooth comb. Despite her White Feminist™ stumbles, I think Watson has put in the work and done the best to be a child star who didn’t put all her eggs in one basket. I’m sure playing the smartest witch of her era instilled in her a desire to live up to that. It’s not easy.
That’s why I think it’s great that as she gets ready to enter her 30s, she has honest things to say about the anxiety of that experience. “I was like, ‘Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal…’” she shares in British Vogue. “Cut to 29, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious. And I realise it’s because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around. If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.”
As someone who is 27 and just starting to find my groove, I can’t imagine what it must be like to have been a celebrity at 11 and still feel a sense of unfulfillment, but that just speaks to how the pressure of “having it all” is instilled in women.
There are some who think that her saying “self-partnered” is a way of avoiding saying she’s single, but I think that’s a very cynical take. Single literally only means you are not paired up with someone; it isn’t an indicator of anything. Saying self-partnered feels like acknowledging a sense of security within your own skin about where your path in life is—to be okay with being alone with your own mind and thoughts—and that’s aspirational. Especially during cuffing season!
As Lane More says in her book How to Be Alone, “Be the person you’ve been waiting for.” Be that partner that you need. Learn to understand your needs and wants so that you can, if you want to, be the kind of person who can then exist on their own two feet in a relationship. Being single is great, but being single and waiting for someone without doing any self-love and care for yourself isn’t great. Be single, but be loved by yourself, in all the ways that implies.
(via The Daily Beast, image: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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