Emma Watson is not afraid to call herself a feminist — despite some advice she’s been dealt in the past. The actress made waves last year when she delivered a much praised speech at the U.N. Women’s HeforShe launch event encouraging men to fight for women’s equality across the world. She earned praise, in part, for dismissing the complicated connotations of the word feminism and defining it simply as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
“The more I have talked about feminism, the more I’ve realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” she said at the time. “If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
But it turns out Watson was advised not to use the term in her now lauded oratory.
“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 in a recent interview. “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?”
The Harry Potter actress, who has continued to lobby for women’s rights in the last year, did not specify who gave her the advice.