Emma Watson On Her Famous Feminist UN Speech: It Wasn't Easy
By Antoinette Bueno
Harry Potter star Emma Watson surprised plenty of people with her passionate, eloquent speech on gender equality at the UN Summit in September, taking the fight for feminism to the front-lines. And now the 24-year-old actress is talking to Elle about her headline-making speech -- which got plenty of support from everyone from Taylor Swift to Tom Hiddleston -- revealing that she actually had a serious case of nerves beforehand.
"It wasn't an easy thing for me to do," she says. "It felt like: 'Am I going to have lunch with these people, or am I going to be eaten? Am I the lunch?'"
Watson was as passionate as ever covering the magazine's "Feminism Issue," stressing that everyone should "embrace" feminism.
She was appointed to the role of the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year.
"Feminism is not here to dictate to you," she explained. "It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. 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 credits her strong upbringing for her ability to speak up.
"I'm lucky I was raised to believe that my opinion at the dinner table was valuable," she says. "My mum and I spoke as loudly as my brothers."
In fact in her UN speech in September, she recalled an incident from her childhood showing the double standards put on women.
"When I was 8, I was confused about being called 'bossy' because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents," she recalled. "But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn't want to appear 'muscle-y,' when at 18, my males friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist."
However, one issue she admits she's definitely not as confident in?
Dealing with fame.
"Fame is not something I have always felt comfortable with; I have really grappled with it emotionally," she admits to Elle. "And, in a funny way, doing this is my way of making sense of the fame, of using it. I have found a way to channel it towards something else, which makes it so much more manageable for me. And this is something I really believe in."