Emma Watson revealed she was once discouraged to use the word “feminism” in her UN speech, but that she chose to ignore the suggestion and mentioned it anyway.
The 25-year-old actress impressed the world last year when she delivered an empowering speech during the launch of UN Women’s HeforShe campaign, which encourages men to stand up for women’s rights all over the world.
Watch Emma Watson deliver her speech on feminism at the UN Women’s HeForShe Campaign
“I was encouraged not to use the word ‘feminism’ because people felt that it was alienating and separating and the whole idea of the speech was to include as many people as possible,” Watson said in a revealing interview in the latest issue of Porter.
The term feminism has had negative connotations in the past, but Watson was able to dismiss all the wrong assumptions regarding the word. In her speech, she defined feminism as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
A video of the speech was shared on social media and went viral, opening up an issue that most people, men and women alike, used to avoid. People often link feminism to hating men, which, according to Watson, should stop because it only divides the two sexes.
“The more I have talked about feminism, the more I’ve realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
Watson said she believes embracing and using feminism in her speech is a good decision, despite being told to refrain from mentioning the word.
“I thought long and hard and ultimately felt that it was just the right thing to do. If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to start using it?” the British actress said.
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) December 2, 2015
Emma Watson has become active in fighting for women’s rights and is using her stardom to influence the younger generation to be gender-sensitive and more engaged in addressing this timely issue. Moreover, her decision to label herself a feminist stemmed from the desire to make her voice heard in a world where people see her as the character she portrays.
The Harry Potter actress admitted it took her time before she found that “sense of self” that she is comfortable with. At 25, she is finally feeling confident about who she is, adding she wants to be her most authentic self. She admitted a large portion of her life was spent “pretending to be someone else.” “While my contemporaries were dyeing their hair and figuring out who they were, I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her,” Watson opened up, recounting her journey to finding her identity.
Although bridging her personal and public selves is a “harder road to tread,” she said it is definitely the most rewarding. Watson added, “it sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, but I’m very interested in truth, in finding ways to be messy and unsure and flawed and incredible and great and my fullest self, all wrapped into one. When you watch the work of someone like actress Emma Thompson, you feel like you’re seeing something true, and I aspire to that.”
Although Emma Watson has grown up in the glamorous world of show business, it is surprising that she prioritizes comfort over style. She revealed she used to believe in the adage, “no pain, no gain,” but now her willingness to sacrifice for the sake of style has also changed. “Moving forward, I’m prioritizing just feeling awesome.”
— StyleCaster (@StyleCaster) August 31, 2015
Watson also explained the connection between her women’s rights campaign and her love for fashion. She revealed that her interest in fair-trade fashion was what made her a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.
Emma Watson is also included in seven “global role models” in Porter‘s first ever 100 Incredible Women list.
[Image by Anthony Harvey, Getty Images]