Emma Watson Says Women Don’t Need Saving & Chivalry Should Be Consensual


In case you missed it, actress and activist Emma Watson took part in an hour-long Q&A session at the Facebook headquarters in London on March 9, International Women’s Day, to spread the message of the He For She campaign which she is the face of, and to answer questions about other topics. Yes, she even spoke about the nude photo leak threats after she gave her rousing speech back in September 2014.

Clearly the threats to make her stop talking about gender equality and feminism has not deterred her, in fact it has spurred her on to seek even bigger platforms and not to allow anonymous bullies to stop her mission. The full video is embedded below, but we have selected some of the stand-out parts of her speech for you in case you don’t have a whole hour to spare while you’re at work/school/looking after kids, etc.

“After I gave my speech in September, there was a website set up threatening to release naked photographs of me with a countdown,” she said. “I knew it was a hoax—I knew the pictures didn’t exist—but I think a lot of people close to me knew gender equality was an issue, but they didn’t really think it was that urgent.”

“When they saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women’s rights I was immediately threatened—in less than 12 hours I was receiving threats—I think [men] were really shocked. So, I think it was a wake-up call of, ‘Oh, this is a real thing that’s really happening now. Women are receiving threats in all sorts of different forms.’ ” she said.

“And I was upset that the media immediately reported it as fact without any evidence to the contrary. It’s funny because people went, ‘Oh, she’s going to be disheartened by this.’ If anything, it made me so much more determined. I was just raging. It made me so angry that I was just like, ‘This is why I have to be doing this!’”


Throughout the session she dropped some wonderful gems about the need for feminism and gender equality and why this mission is important to her.

“We’re never, ever, ever going to be able to fly as high unless we’re both in support of each other.” This is the core message of He For She, engaging men in this campaign because it is just as much their fight as it is women’s. It’s one of the subtle ways He For She is trying to break down negative stigma about feminism, which Emma is happy to speak about.

“I think people associate it with hate—with man-hate—and that’s really negative. I don’t think that’s what feminism is about at all. I think it’s something incredibly positive… I’m aware of a lot more male feminists now than I was a few years ago, and it’s really heartening. People have come back to what the actual definition means, which is ‘equality politically, culturally, socially, economically.’ That’s it. That simple.”

“If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you, you’re a feminist!”

One of the ways that gender stereotyping hurts men is that it also forces them to fit into a narrow ideal of masculinity which often doesn’t allow them to be everything they were created to be. And attaching feminine ideals in a negative manner to traits that have been “forbidden” for men only makes things more confusing in our culture.

“I’m really, genuinely disturbed by this idea that men can’t cry; that they just can’t express themselves, and can’t talk about how they actually feel,” Emma said. “That’s the saddest thing in the world. It’s what makes you human—how you feel, being able to express yourself, being passionate, being emotional. It’s what makes you human, it’s not what makes you a girl.”

Emma was questioned about pay inequality in both Hollywood and otherwise and she didn’t go into her own personal details when someone addresses the rumor that she was paid less than her male co-stars in ‘Harry Potter’ but she expertly shared statistics about why this is not an issue to brush off as paranoia, for example.

“Currently, females comprise 7 percent of directors, 7 percent of writers, 2.2 percent of producers, and 13 percent of executives. And you know when you have a female writer or a female director, there’s a higher representation of women. So that’s a pretty huge problem which needs to be addressed.”

“We need that yin and yang. We need that balance. We need female representation.”


After the more serious topics were covered, Emma spoke on other issues of gender equality such as how it should work outside of the workplace or the economy. The way men and women interact should be intentionally different.

“Chivalry should be consensual, both parties should be comfortable with that,” she said. Now before all the anti-feminists think this is one of those statements which prove men are not needed and women are trying to trample on them, it is not. In fact it is freeing women to be who they are despite the presence of a man, and it allows men not to be confined to just being defined as a provider or protector. It allows them to create new definitions of their own masculinity based on the idea that women are equal to them and they can work alongside each other, rather than one gender being told to shoulder the burden.

It is an interesting statement to make. The traditional notion of a man opening a door is not altogether bad, but to assume that women need saving, need protecting and that they are incomplete without a man by their side is not an ideal of womanhood that should be taught to any young girl. It could hinder her ability to think, feel, and act for herself and grab hold of opportunities in life without knowing there is going to be some “prince charming” waiting in the wings if her efforts don’t materialize.

Emma believes it is important to make this distinction in order that when men join the feminist movement and campaign on behalf of He For She, they don’t do it to think they are rescuing women who weren’t capable of doing it themselves.

“It’s not about men saving women, and I think that’s a misunderstanding. Women are already in the club. We’re already in the club because it’s our movement. It’s not a men’s club, it’s an equality club for both genders.”

She ended the speech with a confirmation that she will not be slowing down her pursuit for gender equality any time soon, so any potential haters out there, take note:

“You’re not going to get rid of me until I get to see an equal number of female prime ministers and president and CEOs, and more men that feel like it’s ok to express how they really feel about things. And more fathers that are present in their children’s lives. And until I see us not policing and oppressing each other and not ostracizing each other. And when I live in a world where this isn’t a narrowly-defined definition of masculinity and femininity. I’m just not gonna go!”

Yes girl! Watch the full video below:



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