Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
Emma Watson has been a beacon of feminist light ever since her moving United Nations speech three years ago. Since then she has admitted that the feminism backlash hit her particularly hard at first, but after years of publicly campaigning for equality under the close scrutiny of naysayers, she now feels equipped to deal with those criticising her.
Having recently played Belle in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, Emma spoke freely about how she felt it was important that there were more female leads in both film and society in general. But she has made a very good point about why many men find it difficult to enjoy a woman-centric movie.
In the last year, we’ve seen backlash against the inclusion of more female leads, from the female cast of Ghostbusters being branded a feminist flop, to Marvel’s claims that female characters are behind the dip in comic book sales.
Talking to Marie Claire Australia about why she thought some men were rejecting the idea of heroines, Emma explained: ‘It’s something that they’re not used to, and they don’t like that.
‘Anything that deviates from the norm is difficult to accept. I think if you’ve been used to watching characters that look like, sound like, think like you, and then you see someone [unexpected] up on the screen, you go, “Well, that’s a girl, she doesn’t look like me. I want it to look like me so that I can project myself onto the character.”‘
Emma goes on to explain that thanks to the lack of female roles, women are used to having to find qualities that they see in themselves in male characters. However, she doesn’t feel it works as fluidly the other way around.
‘For some reason, there’s some kind of barrier there where [men] are like, “I don’t want to relate to a girl.” I think it’s inherently part of the problem,’ she continued.
All too often we are reminded that Hollywood is not exempt from indulging inequality, with actresses like Jessica Chastain being told she talks about ‘too much women stuff’ by a director, and Brie Larson lifting the lid on sexism in the fashion industry.