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Emma Watson Encouraged to Not Use the Word ‘Feminism’ in Her Speech About…Feminism

It's her party, and she'll say "feminist" if she wants to!


Emma Watson’s speech on behalf of the UN’s HeForShe Campaign as the newly-established UN Women Goodwill Ambassador went viral last year for good reason. It was an impassioned, informative appeal to men to become more involved in feminism and the fight for gender equality. Now, it seems even more impressive, because she went against advice while writing it.

In a recent interview with Porter Magazine (as reported by the Evening Standard), Watson talks about the experience as a byproduct of a change in her in recent years to start living more comfortably as herself, rather than trying to figure out how to live as Hermione Granger, which she did for more than half her life.

At 25, Watson is only now feeling comfortable in her own skin, having used the years after the Harry Potter franchise to do the kind of self-exploration that most people get to do in their teens. And though she’s an actress, she’s trying to blur the line between “public persona” and her “real self,” wanting simply to be herself everywhere. Or, as she puts it:

I don’t want there to be a big separation between the public and the private person. It’s definitely the harder road to tread, but without a doubt, ultimately the most rewarding.

All of this personal growth came into play when writing her UN speech last year, and she was encouraged to not use the word “feminism.” Her advisers felt that, as she was trying to encourage inclusiveness in the fight for equality, they feared that the word “feminism” might be alienating – as seems to be a trend for many. Watson has this to say about her thought process surrounding that issue:

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. But 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?

It’s exciting to watch her grow into a more active feminist as the years go by! Even better, she’s inspiring other young women to do the same! In a brilliant Young Women Accomplishing Amazing Things love-fest at The New York Times’ Women in the World, Malala Yousafzai told her that she considers herself a feminist thanks, in part, to Watson’s speech.

Emma, you’ve totally got this.

(via Women and Hollywood)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.