Emma Watson has become a sudden feminist icon in Hollywood, but she explained that it wasn’t something she had to think too much about. Just last month, Watson gave a speech to the United Nations about gender inequality around the world, which launched a campaign called #HeForShe.
Watson will grace the cover of Elle U.K. magazine in December, and opened up about her new title.
“Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic,” she said, according to E! News. “All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for President, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too.”
Watson’s upbringing led to her feelings about equality, and she gives the credit to her mom. She explained, “I’m lucky I was raised to believe that my opinion at the dinner table was valuable. My mum and I spoke as loudly as my brothers.”
That upbringing led to her September speech to the U.N., where she spoke about how “feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists,” she said, adding that feminism is now “seen as too strong, too aggressive, anti-men, unattractive.”
But even after years in the spotlight, Watson admitted, “I was very nervous.”
“It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. It felt like, ‘Am I going to have lunch with these people, or am I going to be eaten? Am I the lunch?'”
But she felt that it was something she had to do, because of the bad image the word “feminism” has been given.
“The more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” she said during her speech. “If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”