It seems like yesterday that we were praising Hollywood for featuring such a diverse selection of female leading characters, while they were still rare in the films we were watching. Today, let’s take a step back and reflect on how far we’ve come. The world has evolved, along with our perspective – and so has film. After several decades of progress, are we finally at a place where we can celebrate the on-set chemistry between a male co-star and a female lead as equal to that between two leads of the opposite sex?

Emma Watson And Robert Pattinson: A Brief History

In 2015, when the 26-year-old British actress was cast in the titular role of Belle in Disney’s live-action adaptation of the French Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast, Watson became one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.

It wasn’t always going to be like this. Watson was born in London and raised in a small town in Kent. She began acting at the age of 6 and subsequently appeared in several family-friendly TV shows, including Arthur and Mentalist. In 2007, she landed a role that would change her life: that of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Even though she had just finished shooting Deathly Hallows: Part 1, she agreed to play Granger in the concluding installment. It was the beginning of a very exciting career. The character would go on to appear in all eight of the Harry Potter films and even starred in a short-lived Fox series, Riverdale, about a high school in the 1960s.

Watson’s Breakout Year

If there was one performance this year that epitomized Watson’s star power, it was her turn as Snow White in David Heyman’s live-action adaptation of the Snow White ballet. The film, which stars Emma Watson, Kristen StewartJenny Lewis, and Liam Neeson, was a critical and commercial success. As of this writing, it has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. It also made Watson a household name in the U.S. After four decades as a relatively unknown British actress, it was evident that the world was finally taking note of her talents.

In addition to her Oscar nomination for Best Actress in Room, Watson has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films, many of which were shot in Ireland. She has worked with some of Hollywood’s top directors, including Liev SchreiberTom HopperWesley Snipes, and Guillermo Del Toro. Her notable films include The Accidental TouristThe BabadookMolly’s GameNocturnal AnimalsSon of Saul, and The Circle.

Watson And Pattinson: An Unusual On-Set Romance

What may be strange to modern viewers is that many of the films in which Watson has starred were made back in the day when cameras didn’t focus on sexual relations between co-stars, unless they were meant to be a comic relief or titillation. It wasn’t considered ‘high concept’ or ‘porno-ready’ material at the time. The taboo against depicting sex acts in films was much stronger then; there was even an age limit, with children under 12 banned from attending screenings.

One of the exceptions to this ‘don’t show’ policy was Leaving Las Vegas, in which director Steven Soderbergh had his way with Marilyn Monroe‘s character, and the camera couldn’t keep its eyes off of the actress as she disrobed. As a result of this cinematic exploration of cinematic beauty and the feminine form, Monroe’s iconic status was guaranteed even before the film was released (the actress died in 1962, at the age of 36).

These days, on-screen sexual relations are rarely as voyeuristic as in Leaving Las Vegas, and when they are, it’s usually meant to be a bold statement, like in 50 Shades of Grey.

While it’s cool to see so many strong, independent women today, it’s interesting to reflect on how far we’ve come and how much Hollywood has changed to represent modern society. The world would have to agree: it’s about time that the characters we love looked like the people we are passionate about. And who knows? Maybe one day, our favorite actresses and actors will strut the screen in a way that reflects our own diverse, empowered world.