Inspiring Women

Emma Watson on Feminism and Fame

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Imagine for a moment that you grew up in the limelight, under a microscope of scrutiny. As a child, you auditioned for acting roles. You thought it was fun. Your fame started to build as you started doing blockbuster films at the tender age of nine. You’ve been followed by paparazzi ever since. In fact, you’ve never known what it feels like to be anonymous. Your life seems set, and yet you continue to push yourself. To keep working. Studying. Trying to live a “normal” life.

Emma Watson on Feminism and Fame

This hypothetical life might sound glamorous to some, but this is the actual life that actress Emma Watson is living. And yet she is a far cry from your typical celebrity actress. In fact, this English girl’s most important role yet just might be her real-life roles of United Nation’s Goodwill Ambassador, and founder of HeforShe, a campaign to enlist men as feminists.

In person, Emma is as down-to-earth and genuine as it gets. If you’re not too distracted by her outer beauty, it’s easy to see her inner beauty and passion shine through when she talks about the issues that really matter to her.

Urbanette Magazine: What inspired the HeforShe campaign?

Emma Watson: I think our society, in general, devalues the “she” and it’s time we do something about it.

Urbanette: What is HeforShe all about?

Emma: I launched a campaign at the United Nations called HeforShe, which is about men coming in support of women and women supporting men to achieve gender equality.

Urbanette: What is gender equality and feminism to you?

Emma: Gender equality has been predominantly a women’s movement for women. But I think the impact of gender inequality and how it’s been affecting men hasn’t really been addressed. Feminism is not synonymous to man hating. Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

Urbanette: Why is it important to involve males in feminism?

Emma: To end gender inequality, everyone should be involved, and that includes the males. We want to galvanize as many males as we can to become advocates for change.

Urbanette: Why focus on gender inequality?

Emma: Inequality is hindering our progress. It causes discrimination and violence, pain and fear. I just wanted to desensitize people to the issue and make them feel that they can be part of the solution and that they can make a difference.

Emma Watson on Feminism and Fame

Urbanette: You are someone that women and people from all walks of life can look up to. But who do you look up to? Any inspirations?

Emma: Malala is my absolute hero. In her film she got to show what made her a hero and how extraordinary she was, but most importantly that anyone can encourage change.

Urbanette: You are also an inspiration to a lot of young women out there, especially when it comes to fashion. You’ve become one of the biggest fashion icons out there. How do you react to this?

Emma: It’s a huge part of my job. You know, showing up for appearances, to come dressed up, for work. It’s a big part of what I do and I try to do it well. I enjoy it and have loved fashion from a very young age. It’s really fun and expressive. I also like to work with up-and-coming designers and more established ones.

Urbanette: Being a celebrity, people watch everything single thing that you do. And a couple of years back, you cut your hair so short that it actually started a short hair trend. And now you’ve grown it long again.

Emma: I just wanted a change. And it’s really liberating to cut your hair short. You can wash your head in the sink, which is such a plus.

Emma Watson on Feminism and Fame

Urbanette: You played the role of Hermione Granger for at least ten of your formative years growing up. Now that it’s over (Harry Potter), what do you think of her character?

Emma: I feel like she’s very important not just because that she’s smart, but because she’s told girls that it’s okay to be bossy. And that it’s okay to be nerdy.

Urbanette: Everyone is amazed at how you’ve managed to do a bunch of films and still get a college degree. What inspired you to pursue academic success?

Emma: I started working in this industry when I was 9 years old. I think that there’s always time for me to work, I hope. But this is the time of my life when I need to really study and learn more about myself and the world around me. This was a really important thing to do and I’m really, really glad that I made the time for it. I’m an English literature major, by the way.

Emma Watson on Feminism and Fame

Urbanette: You mentioned that you grew up in the movie industry and started at a very young age. And we know this industry is not an ideal environment to grow up in, especially if you start dealing with showbiz gossip. How did you cope up with this?

Emma: It’s kind of like a great thing. As Audrey Hepburn puts it, “People can write whatever they want about me, as long as it’s not true.” And I think that you just have to have that sort of attitude towards it. Oh there is so much out there that isn’t correct and I kind of know that people do take what they read with a pinch of salt and it’s all part of this acting thing.

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

54 Comments

  1. This was such a wonderful read! I love Emma Watson and everything she stands for.
    I would love it if Urbanette could interview Cecile Richards next.

  2. Emma Watson is a great role model for millennials. She is classy, beautiful and genuinely cares about humanity. Young women definitely could benefit from more celebrities like her. Great interview 🙂

  3. I like this heforshe campaign. There’s still definitely a lot of sexism in the work place. It’s hard, for example, in an investment bank, for a woman to be heard, she often has to be extra assertive–from which she’d often be labelled ‘bitch’. In banking and technology, I don’t know how many times guys would refuse to listen to advice or suggestions from me, and will instead seek to discuss with male peers. Luckily I have had very good managers that appreciate the value I provide and see me for my skills and abilities. They are definitely for the ‘heforshe’!

  4. Ayla Pennington

    Emma Watson is very beautiful and such a wonderful young woman.

  5. Evelyn Sandler

    Thanks for the great article & awesome interview. Inspiring truly!

  6. Amelia Beckons

    Malala makes me weep. Emma makes me smile. Both did my heart good. 🙂

  7. Kim Hartford

    I completely support what this girl has done. Nothing but good this happening on Watson side of things. 🙂

  8. Sasha Rosswell

    Such a wonderful woman! I hope she is able to inspire and lead thousands of girls and young women towards pursuing education, equality and independence.

  9. Jennifer McSween

    My mind’s still blown with the fact that she was asked not to use the word “Feminist” at her speech for HeForShe.

  10. Sabrina Grattidge

    I don’t like her personally, but I definitely support what she stands for!

  11. Lynn Hayes

    I qualify per her standards of feminism. 🙂

  12. Roberta Bennett

    Greta interview!! I now like Emma Watson even more.

  13. Amanda Roberts

    Go Emma Watson! I believe in you! <3

  14. Kimberly Thompson

    “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself” – Hermione Granger

  15. Emma Blackwood

    She’s such an awesome person. I so wish I didn’t hate her acting like I do.

  16. Catherine White

    I love that. I’m so glad she’s growing up so well and smart. I’m so looking forward to seeing what else she does over the next few decades.

  17. Nicky Bryan

    That is a pretty impressive young lady there. The type of person who gives me hope for humanity… 🙂

  18. Pearl Nguyen

    She made a good decision. Telling her not to say the word ‘feminism’ in a speech about it seems counterproductive.

  19. Leslie Williams

    Emma Watson, nailing it as usual. ??

  20. Emily Wentz

    I read an interview of Malala Yousafzai where she says that Emma Watson made her a feminist. So, when Emma says she’s inspired by Malala Yousafzai, I find it a bit insincere, it’s as if she’s just trying to honor her.

  21. Sibel Jenkinson

    Germaine Greer is a feminist. Emma Watson is a feminist. Everybody is a feminist today, as they should be! Who is opposed to equality between the sexes?

  22. Pamela Sanabria

    Such an intelligent woman! I love her!

  23. Delilah Peyton

    That veil Malala wears shows she doesn’t understand feminism, and if Emma finds her inspirational then she doesn’t the first thing about feminism.

    • Jurnee Blackmore

      Ummm….Malala Yousafzai was willing to risk her life for womens’ rights. I think taking a bullet through her head said much more than the veil she wears over her face. She’s also the youngest person EVER to have one a Nobel Peace prize. So, what then, makes a feminist? Does she have to wear the same clothes as you? Does she have to follow the same religion as you? I think that staying true to herself while still doing whatever she can to help girls in less than ideal situations makes her a perfect example of feminism. Maybe you’re the one who doesn’t understand what that means.

  24. Kaitlyn Barrett

    What an interesting and inspiring woman! 🙂

  25. Andrea Mitchell

    Emma is an iconic and inspirational young woman! 🙂

  26. Anna Kaplan

    Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson are both beautiful, strong, intelligent women who want to empower and strengthen others. I am a great admirer of both of them, and glad they both claim the word feminist.

  27. The legend of Emma Watson is spreading! ???

  28. Ashley Moore

    I really love her! She’s awesome and i think she’s incredibly passionate.

  29. Lana Urie

    Emma Watson is the gift that keeps on giving. She gave us Hermione, the UN and now feminism. She a one woman juggernaut. ❤️

  30. Jenny Garett

    You really did a great job with this Urbanette. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and a must read interview with us. She may be young, but she’s already taught us so much. I think her explanations about feminism is simple. It’s about equal rights for men, women and people of all gender identities- and not about hating men.

  31. Emma’s words are a real message of hope. 🙂 Bring on the ‘Age of Women’ – it can’t be any worse than the Age of Men! 😉

  32. Sydney Nowak

    I disagree with Emma. I wouldn’t call Malala a feminist by any stretch of the imagination. However, she has awakened to important ideas and is speaking out about them. That’s a good thing.

  33. Betty O'Leary

    This confirms Miss Watson’s status as the leading global feminist! good for her! 🙂

  34. Hazel Collins

    I’m all for gender equality and i’m supporting it. She spoke in a very positive and intelligent manner. She’s impartial and said many things need to change for both sexes, all across the world. The world needs more people like her. Her intentions are good and she’s a great role model.

  35. Celine Carter

    A lovely article and interview that will annoy misogynists and racists in equal amounts. 😉 Love it!!

  36. Marina Henderson

    Roxanne Gay must hate this heforshe thing, as she derided Emma Watson as “not the feminist you’re looking for” lol

  37. Well in fact, SHE influenced Malala! And they are both influencers of young women, and the world more generally. 🙂

  38. Kimberly Vigil

    I love her as Hermione Granger and i think the character really suits her well. Emma Watson is an IT Girl and my girl crush. I have endless amounts of respect for this woman. For some who don’t get what Emma is saying, women should fight for equal rights for men and men should fight for equal rights for women. However, people who doesn’t understand it(feminism) and people who are just so deaf will filter everything a feminists would say.

  39. Lucretia Asher

    I agree with Emma. If anyone’s a feminist, Malala surely is, if feminism at it’s core is freedom of choice.

  40. Some women are now scared to call themselves feminists. Because of the backlash, the insults, the false rumours and hate from men’s rights activists, yes, some are now scared to call themselves that. We say we want equality, that the patriarchy hurts both men and women. In response we are told we are liars, that we do not believe what we say and we receive threats and ridicule. But seeing inspirational and successful women like Emma Watson stand as feminists really encourages me!

  41. Dana Rosatti

    It’s fabulous seeing young women like Emma Watson reclaim a word and ideal that some vile and bitter old Internet-enabled men have tried to intimidate them from identifying with.

  42. Helena Stevens

    To me feminism is about leading a life unrestricted by sexual stereotypes. I hope Emma succeeds at that and continues to be an example to young women who are less free than we are.

  43. Diana Hewitt

    She’s the exact type of young woman who should be the role model of all young women. The world needs more Emma Watsons!

  44. Hannah Mayers

    I like her attitude: “People can write whatever they want about me, as long as it’s not true.” More often than not, people tend to be distracted because of bad publicity! That is her key to success and I wish more people would be like her!

    I truly admire her for her campaign. ALL can really be part of the solution if we’re just aware of the causes! I also would like … and truly want to end gender inequality! I’m supporting HeforShe…

  45. Of course, she’s famous for playing a role in “Harry Potter” movies but I’ve watched a number of her other movies and she’s really a great actress! I’m supporting feminism movements and I’m glad to discover something new today! I’m definitely checking out the HeforShe campaign 🙂 Great article!

  46. Cornelia Green

    She’s my personal hero esp when it comes to fashion and acting. For me, this is one of the great articles you’ve given to us. Yes, I have to agree that she’s a wonderful actress and a great role model. I think she can pull off anything without even trying so hard. She’s always herself and that is one of the many things i love about her.

  47. Putting aside all her great and inspirational causes, I love Emma Watson for her fashion!!! Simple but classy!!! And oh, the photos that you posted are great!

  48. Esther Earl Harris

    My son grew up watching Harry Potter and i have to say that she’s really a great actress. I am supporting feminism and thrilled knowing that she’s also a feminist. I was inspired by her perspectives and speech advocating for gender equality. It is great to see influential figures like her campaigning for a good cause because people are more likely to follow their footsteps. She’s a great role model not just for us women but for men too.

  49. My daughter should idolize her! She is encouraging, particularly to young girls, for she is academically successful despite her very busy schedule. Thanks, Urbanette for posting this interview! I’m definitely sharing this to my network!

    • I agree! Like you, I’m also a mom who wants only the best for my children. Emma is really an inspiration! I love it that she’s pursuing her advocacy to end gender inequality. But I also admire her for her academic success.

  50. I appreciate how she involves men in order to gain respect for women! Like her, I also believe that gender inequality should be ended as it is the root of discrimination, violence and fear. I admire her strength and persistence to bring about good changes!

  51. I love Emma Watson! Now, I love her more because of her advocacy and pursuit for gender equality! She’s very inspiring! I wish more people would be like her — who’ll use fame to achieve a good cause 🙂

  52. Heather Strobel

    wow you did it! you’ve finally interviewed her! i really love her and i’m a fan of her. thank you so much Urbanette!!!!

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