In a new interview with Porter magazine she says she was encouraged to not use the word at all 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 because no one messes with Hermione Granger and any mission she’s on, Emma passed on the suggestion.
“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?,” she says.
The rousing speech to kick-start her HeForShe campaign has since been viewed more than one million times on YouTube – see below.
The United Nations Women Goodwill ambassador says there was no way she wasn’t going to use the UN platform to get the strongest message she could across.
“The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.”
On top of changing the perception of feminism, Emma told men why they need to care about gender equality too.
“I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less ‘macho’ — in fact in the U.K. suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20–49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer, and coronary heart disease,” she pointed out.
“I want men to take up this mantle,” she continued, “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.”