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Emma Watson Was Advised Not to Say ‘Feminist’ in Her U.N. Speech

Emma Watson Was Advised Not to Say ‘Feminist’ in Her U.N. Speech

She did it anyway.

According to an interview in the December issue of Porter magazine, actress and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson was nearly censored in her celebrated U.N. speech for her HeForShe gender equality campaign. Her viral speech almost didn’t contain the word “feminist.”

Watson explains why she went against advice while writing the speech, stating: “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. But I thought long and hard and ultimately felt that it was just the right thing to do. If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to start using it?”

Watson’s choice to speak out as a feminist was part of a larger journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

“[I’ve] spent more than half of my life pretending to be someone else,” she added. “While my contemporaries were dying their hair and figuring out who they were, I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her.

“Now at 25 for the first time in my life I feel like I have a sense of self that I’m comfortable with. I actually do have things that I want to say and I want to be my most authentic self.”

The Porter issue will go on sale globally on Friday December 4. Watson is featured as one of seven "global role models" in Porter’s first 100 Incredible Women List.

In the meantime, we can all relive the speech that blew up our Facebook feeds a year ago. 

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Cassie Sheets