Emma Watson: "If You Stand for Equality, Then You’re a Feminist"
Emma Watson has truly become a face of women's rights. The U.N. Goodwill Ambassador—whose speech about gender equality went viral last September—is working hard to continue to get the world involved in her #HeForShe initiative which promotes those ideals.
On Sunday, International Women’s Day, the upcoming Beauty & the Beast star held an hour-long Q&A at Facebook Headquarters in London to discuss gender equality and some of the misunderstandings that come with it. She clarified that gender equality is not only a women's issue, and there's an online pledge at HeForShe.org specifically for men to sign (so far it has 200,000 signatures).
“It’s an equality club, for both genders. It’s about men coming in support of women and women coming in support of men,” Watson said. “Gloria Steinem gave a speech last week at a HeForShe event in New York, and she used this really beautiful metaphor. She said that the human race is like a bird. and it needs both of its wings to be able to fly. And at the moment, one of its wings is clipped. And we’re never going to be able to fly as high unless we’re both in support of each other.”
She also clarified the definition of feminism. “Men think it’s a women’s word,” she said. “But what it means is that you believe in equality, and if you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you. You’re a feminist. You’re a feminist. That’s it.” And just because she is a feminist, it doesn't mean she doesn't not like a door being opened for her. “I love having the door opened for me,” Watson told host Greg James. “Isn’t that just polite? Isn’t that just a nice thing to do for someone else? And I love being taken out to dinner. So great. But I think the key is, would you then mind if I open the door for you?"
As it was an open forum for questions, one that did come up was Watson's own experience with sexism. The child star of the Harry Potter films and Brown University–educated actress admitted that she has been very privileged, but that it doesn't mean she should not use her advantages to fight for other women. “Surely, I’ve been incredibly privileged and I haven’t been held back because I am a girl. Surely, it is therefore my responsibility to make sure other women have access to the same privileges that I have. Surely, it would be bad if I wasn’t doing this, making sure that what I have been lucky enough to receive in my life is extended to others.”
And it's not like Watson hasn't had to deal with some difficulties as a woman who grew up in the public eye and especially after launching this campaign. The day after her U.N. speech there was a very public nude photo threat that turned out to be a hoax which she said sent her "raging" and made her want to work on this campaign even harder. Clearly, she is doing just that.
You can watch the full Facebook Q&A here: