Why Emma Watson isn’t afraid to be called a “feminazi”

It’s no secret that UN Goodwill Ambassador and actress Emma Watson is an outspoken feminist. She has often drawn attention to the lack of women in leadership and we won’t soon forget her empowering UN speech about the importance of including all people in the fight for gender equality. Now, in a recent Esquire interview, Watson spoke out again about sexism in the film industry.

“Maybe things are opening up a bit for actresses, but certainly as far as female directors are concerned, the numbers are so ridiculous,” Watson said, highlighting that out of the 250 top-grossing films of 2014, 7% of directors were women, less than 1.3% of directors were minority women, and just 11% were written by women. “You hear of studio heads being like, ‘We can’t have a woman directing an action movie,’ or just sticking to these archaic notions of what a women will and won’t be able to do. . . [W]e really need to see some direct action taken at this stage.”

It took the 2014 Sony hack, which revealed the differing paychecks of actors and actresses in American Hustle, to really start the conversation about the wage gap in Hollywood, Watson pointed out. This persists, she continued, because there’s a negative stigma surrounding women who highlight financial injustices. Watson told Esquire:

However, although the conversation about equal pay Hollywood is an important one, it’s just a small piece of the whole, Watson continued. “Whether you are a woman on a tea plantation in Kenya, or a stockbroker on Wall Street, or a Hollywood actress, no one is being paid equally,” she said.

Many people still take issue with the term “feminist” and this frustrates Watson. “There are misconceptions about the word,” the actress told Esquire. “[Men] have this idea that it is about women competing with men, or being against men, or wanting to be men, which is a huge misconception. . . We just want to be treated equally. It’s not about man-hating.”

That’s exactly why she approached Esquire, a men’s publication, about the issue — she implores men to just ask other women about issues they face and start mulling them over. “So often, feminist issues are being discussed in a room labelled for women, with women, talking about women’s issues, focusing on women,” she said. “But this is an issue that affects everyone. Everyone. That is what HeForShe [Watson’s UN campaign] is about. This is affecting men, too. I want to really talk to men about it.”

Men, she explained, shouldn’t just care about equal rights and opportunities for their sisters or their mothers (or their costars). She continued:

Read the full Esquire interview in its amazing entirety here. Thanks, Emma Watson, for fighting the good fight as always.

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