Emma Watson kwam vorig jaar als ambassadeur voor de Verenigde Naties met de He for She-campagne, waarin ze aandacht vraagt voor meer gelijkheid tussen mannen en vrouwen.
Gisteren was het International Women's Day en de actrice lanceerde op deze speciale dag de Arts Week van de Verenigde Naties. Tijdens de lancering ging Emma uitgebreid in op hoe het is om een vrouw in Hollywood te zijn en vertelde een enge herinnering aan haar achttiende verjaardag die haar nog steeds achtervolgd.
Eerst grapte ze over het feit dat mensen het steeds over haar 'evolutie' naar volwassen vrouw hadden tijdens de Harry Potter-films:
'I mean, I was obviously a child actress who made - who is still making a transition.'
Ze werd constant achtervolgd door fotografen, maar tijdens haar achttiende verjaardag ging het te ver:
'I remember on my 18th birthday, I came out of my 18th birthday party, and photographers lay down on the pavement and took photographs up my skirt, which were then published on the front page of the English tabloids the next morning. If they published the photographs 24 hours earlier, they would have been illegal. But because I had turned 18, they were legal. And obviously, you know, Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint] who are my male [Harry Potter] costars don't wear skirts, but I think that's one example of how my transition into womanhood was dealt with very differently by the tabloid press than it was for my male [costars].'
Verder wilde Emma Watson iedereen, niet alleen vrouwen, op het hart drukken om op te staan voor gendergelijkheid. Eén manier om dat te doen? Met kunst. Films, boeken en andere kunstuitingen kunnen écht een verschil maken, laat Emma weten:
'There's a great quote from a woman who happened to be both an artist and an activist and one of my favorite, favorite women, Maya Angelou. She said, "I've learned that people will forget what you've said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you make them feel." It's one of the reasons that I am an actress, it's why I love what I do, it's what the arts do, if it's done well, they make you feel. Study after study show the logic and value of gender equality in commerce, politics, and peace building. But we have to do more than help people see the logic with their minds. It's also about making them feel it in their bones. This really, emotionally—this is what changes us. It's what makes us act. You can't unwatch great films, you can't unread incredible books, you can't unsee groundbreaking art. They change you forever. Social progress can inspire art, and so the arts can inspire social progress.'
Daarnaast dringt Emma erop aan om niet de andere kant op te kijken:
'Often when we see conflict or we see things that we aren't really comfortable with, it kind of feels easier to look the other way or you know, we feel like it's not our place. It's not the right moment or it would be easier to kind of just let this happen quietly but actually empowering people to know and to think that it's their role when they see something that isn't right to say something about it...that's how we define being an active bystander. When you talk to most women and you talk to most men, they can name a moment in their lives when they were a witness to a moment where a man or a woman was treated unfairly because of their gender, and it just takes someone calling out, you know, and it can be done lots of different ways.'