Last month Harry Potter actress Emma Watson made waves when she spoke at the HeForShe global solidarity movement about the importance of feminism. Standing in the U.N. headquarters in New York City, the 24-year-old called on men and boys around the world to join the movement for gender equality.
“I want men to take up this mantle. 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,” she said.
The video of her speech went viral almost immediately. But despite her composure, Watson said that she 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?'”
In fact, fame isn’t something that Watson is very comfortable with. But she says that taking up a cause like this is her 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,” she said. “And this is something I really believe in.”
When she took the stage at the U.N., she addressed her goal in front of a large crowd.
“You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl?” said Watson. “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.”
In December, Watson will appear on the cover of ELLE’s feminism-themed issue.
“Feminism is not here to dictate to you,” she says in the interview. “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.”
In the ELLE interview, Watson also mentions that her upbringing helped influence her current ideas.
“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.”
Watson’s September speech at the U.N. ended with a standing ovation.