Emma Watson made headlines last month when she delivered a poignant speech about the importance of feminism.
The 24-year-old star, who is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women, was speaking at the launch of the HeForShe campaign – a solidarity movement for gender equality that “brings together one half of humanity in support of the other.”
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Opening up about that speech that went viral, Emma told Elle UK: “I was very nervous.”
“It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do,” she said. “It felt like: ‘Am I going to have lunch with these people, or am I going to be eaten? Am I the lunch?’”
The Harry Potter actress explained how she was using her stardom for the good of her cause.
“ Fame is not something I have always felt comfortable with,” said Emma. “I have really grappled with it emotionally. 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."
Her attitude is something she picked up from a young age, when, sitting around the dinner table, Emma was raised to believe that her opinion was valuable. “My mom and I spoke as loudly as my brothers,” she said.
Last month, the Paris-born beauty reinforced her feminist views in a rousing speech delivered at the New York United Nations headquarters.
“ You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl?” said Emma. “And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better.”
Emma warned her audience not to confuse feminism – “an unpopular word” – with “man-hating” and called on men to support her fight for gender equality.
“ I want men to take up this mantle,” she said. “So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too – reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”