Skip To Content

    13 Times Emma Watson Totally Nailed The Whole Feminism Thing

    "It's about liberation. I really don't know what my tits have to do with it."

    1. When she launched the HeForShe campaign with an inspiring speech at UN headquarters and shut down the suggestion that feminism is the same as man-hating.

    Kena Betancur / Getty Images

    "I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me," she said. "But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men, and unattractive."

    2. And when she went on to explain how feminism not only benefits women – it benefits men, too.

    Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

    "We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence," she continued. "If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled."

    3. When she revealed that she was encouraged not to use the word "feminism" in that speech, and she decided that advice was kind of stupid.

    Miguel Rojo / Getty Images

    "I was encouraged not to use the word feminism because people felt that it was alienating and separating and the whole idea of the speech was to include as many people as possible," she told the Evening Standard. "But I thought long and hard and ultimately felt that it was just the right thing to do."

    4. When she discussed the fact that, after she spoke out against gender inequality in her UN speech, online trolls threatened to release private photos of her.

    HeForShe /

    "After I gave my speech [at the United Nations] in September, there was a website that was set up threatening to release naked photographs of me, with a countdown and whatever else," she said. "I knew it was a hoax. I knew the pictures didn't exist. I think a lot of people close to me knew that gender equality was an issue, but they didn't really think it was that urgent. And then they saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women's rights, I was immediately threatened. Within 12 hours I was receiving threats."

    5. When she pointed out that feminism isn't trying to dictate how women live their lives – it's trying to give them the choice.

    6. When the validity of her feminism was questioned because she posed without a bra on the cover of Vanity Fair, and she responded in the best way.

    7. And then defended herself when people accused her of hypocrisy, citing a 2014 interview with Wonderland in which Watson discussed Beyoncé's first visual album.

    This is the part of my 2014 interview with Tavi where we talked about Beyoncé. My words are in bold.

    "I would say you do get sense of, 'I can be a feminist, I can be an intellectual, I can be all these other things, but I can also be OK with my femininity and being pretty and with all these things that I thought might negate my message or negate what I am about'," she said of Beyoncé in the interview. "That really is the most interesting thing about the album. It is so inclusive and puts feminism and femininity and female empowerment on such a broad spectrum."

    8. When she stressed the importance of intersectionality in feminism.

    HeForShe /

    She explained further: "My specific mandate is to advocate for women and girls, but I also understand that these oppressions are interlocking, mutually reinforcing. Intersectionality is a really important word here."

    9. When she explained that there are definitely still problems with feminism in 2017.


    "We think that we live in a post-feminist society, and we do not. We’re told we don’t need feminism anymore, that we have the vote, that like, we’re all good," she told BuzzFeed. "And I think, actually, that’s incredibly disconcerting because then, when young women move into the world and they realise, 'Oh, why am I not being paid the same, why am I being treated differently?' And they start to blame themselves because they don’t understand that they’re part of a historic pattern, they’re part of a much larger system which is kind of working a little bit against them."

    10. When she was asked about whether feminism has a place in the world of dating, and she had the most eloquent response.

    HeForShe /

    When asked how she would feel as a feminist if a man held open the door for her, she said, "I think the key is — would you mind if I held the door open for you? I’m polite and you’re polite and we’re making the world a better place with this small, kind, polite gesture ... Chivalry should be consensual. It’s a problem when people expect things to be a certain way to follow a certain status quo."

    11. When she was asked what important lesson she'd want her daughter to learn, and her answer was perfect.


    "Sometimes, particularly young girls feel like their voice doesn’t matter, and what they have to say doesn’t really matter," she said. "I think I would want her to know that it does."

    12. When she encouraged young women to live up to their potential and pointed out the importance of female leadership.

    HeForShe /

    "How and why are you not recognising the potential of that girl?" she went on. "Why are you not recognising what she can bring to the table? We need yin and yang. We need that balance. We need female representation. We need leadership."

    13. And when she acknowledged the pressure of being a feminist activist in the public eye, and recognised that she has more learning to do.