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Emma Watson Responds to Being Called a "Feminazi"

Emma Watson Responds to Being Called a "Feminazi"

Emma Watson Responds to Being Called a "Feminazi"
March 08
14:20 2016


Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Esquire U.K.Esquire U.K.

Sticks and stones may break her bones, but words will never hurt Emma Watson.

Watson is currently taking a one-year acting sabbatical in order to focus on women’s rights around the world. She founded the gender equality organization HeForShe in 2014, the same year she was appointed a UN Global Goodwill Ambassador. To promote the initiative, Watson shares the cover of Esquire U.K.‘s “Women & Men” issue with Tom Hanks, her co-star in this summer’s The Circle. “If you look at his career, a lot of his biggest movies—Big, A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle—have been with female directors,” she says. Watson praises him for how he discusses issues, “whether it be **sensored** rights, AIDS, environmental issues, children or the work he does with veterans. He speaks with such a humble grace and a credible voice.”

The same could be said of Watson.

The actress has become an authority on gender equality, as she’s experienced sexism firsthand. “I’ve had my arse slapped as I’ve left a room. I’ve felt scared walking home. I’ve had people following me,” says Watson, who played Hermione Granger in eight Harry Potter films. “I don’t talk about these experiences much, because coming from me they’ll sound like a huge deal and I don’t want this to be about me, but most women I know have experienced it and worse.”

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Watson has also experienced sexism in the film industry. After the Sony hack of 2014 revealed that Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence earned substantially less than their male co-stars, many stars—including Lawrence—spoke out about the gender pay gap. Watson would like to see that conversation continue until the gap is closed. “We are not supposed to talk about money, because people will think you’re ‘difficult’ or a ‘diva.’ But there’s a willingness now to be like, ‘Fine. Call me a ‘diva’, call me a ‘feminazi’, call me ‘difficult,’ call me a ‘First World feminist,’ call me whatever you want. It’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens,'” she tells Esquire U.K. “Because it doesn’t just affect me.”

It’s an issue that affects all women. “Whether you are a woman on a tea plantation in Kenya, or a stockbroker on Wall Street, or a Hollywood actress,” she says, “no one is being paid equally.”

Bringing the HeForShe movement to life and encouraging men to support feminism has been Watson’s greatest joy. “It just feels like I’m really doing what I’m meant to be doing,” she says.

PHOTOS: Stars’ powerful quotes about feminism

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