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Emma Watson Says "If You Stand For Equality, You're a Feminist" in IWD Q+A

Emma Watson discusses how being an ambassador for gender equality has affected her life, as well as what she thinks we should do to achieve it.
By Courtney Sanders, 09 Mar 2015
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Emma Watson Says "If You Stand For Equality, You're a Feminist" in IWD Q+A
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Emma Watson's has had a big few months. She's shaken off those Hogwarts robes (which is something I never thought any of the main characters from those films, which I love, would be able to do), to become a leading voice in the fight for gender equality.

In her role as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women, she launched the #HeForShe campaign via a rousing speech, that attracted as many supporters as it did detractors. She's spent the intervening few months building a huge social media following for #HeForShe (she currently has over 30 million followers on Facebook) and fighting off the haters, who took to the online coven for all things misogynistic, 4Chan, to make threats that included the release of nude photographs.

Well, "haters gon' hate and you just gotta keep doing what you're doing" is pretty much the message Emma Watson delivered yesterday, in her Q+A about #HeForShe on International Women's Day, which took place at Facebook's headquarters in London, and was live-streamed. In the hour-long discussion Watson touches on #HeForShe's new initiative, Impact 10x10x10, why women are part of the problem, and how she dealt with the haters directly after her #HeForShe speech.


On why the term feminism has a bad rap
"Because people associate it with man-hate, and that's really negative. I don't think that's what feminism is about at all, I think it's something incredibly positive."

On what feminism means
"Feminism means equality politically, culturally, socially, economically."

"It really just means if you believe in equality, and if you stand for equality, then you're a feminist."

On women being part of the problem
"A lot of the criticism I've had in my life has been comments from other women. It's not just enough to ask men to come in and support us, we really need to support each other. Be brave enough to acknowledge that things aren't there yet."

On how criticism for her UN speech made her more determined to fight for gender equality
"If anything, it made me so much more determined. I was just raging. It made me so angry that I was just like, 'This is why I have to be doing. This. This is why I have to be doing this,'" she said. "If they were trying to put me off, it did the opposite."

On practical steps #HeForShe supporters can take to help the cause
"For women, it's really acknowledging or feeling comfortable to acknowledge that there's a problem. It's uncomfortable and it's awkward to acknowledge that there's a problem but we need to understand that we are complicit."

"I have an amazing number of male Facebook fans. We only have 200, 000 commitments on heforshe.org, so one thing you can do is go and sign up to the petition."

On the core points of her UN #HeForShe speech
"I guess I really wanted to communicate that gender equality, historically, has been predominantly a women's movement, but the impact of gender equality and how it's affecting men, hasn't been addressed. That was the thing I wanted to make clear."

"I think our society devalues the she, which is to say it devalues feminine qualities that are found in all of us."

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Liked this? Read these articles about International Women's Day and feminism:

1) This is How to be a Feminist

2) The Best Takeaways from Roxane Gay's Talk at All About Women

3) A Short History of International Women's Day, and How You Should Spend it

4) Why Broad City is Better Than Girls

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