In the midst of taking a year off to work on “personal development” and dedicate herself to feminism, Emma Watson spoke to Esquire U.K. for their “Women & Men” issue, discussing topics like equal pay, Photoshopped magazine covers, and clueless male feminists.

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Watson shares the April cover with a man, Tom Hanks, who says she loves and respects for being “authentic.” In keeping with the issue’s theme, the majority of the Q&A focuses on feminism, starting with the ever-discussed question about women having fewer opportunities in Hollywood. Watson comes armed with percentages and statistics, and adds:

“You hear of studio heads being like, ‘We can’t have a woman directing an action movie,’ or just sticking to these archaic notions of what a women will and won’t be able to do. But it’s interesting, talking won’t be enough; we really need to see some direct action taken at this stage.”

This leads to a question about the ongoing talk of Hollywood’s wage gap, which Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron have been open about it, while people like Chris Rock note that it’s far worse for black actresses and we might want to start asking them about this stuff too. Watson says:

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“I’m not sure who put out the wage gap [between Theron and Hemsworth on the first film] but it took a hack unfortunately, the Sony hack, for Jennifer [Lawrence] to talk about the extent to which the prejudice was there for her, [her American Hustle co-star] Amy Adams and women generally.”

There’s no telling how many (important) people in Hollywood share Kate Winslet’s ridiculous view that publicly addressing the pay issue is “vulgar” (Winslet later somewhat corrected herself).

But Watson says the idea of keeping it a secret is becoming less common. “We are not supposed to talk about money, because people will think you’re ‘difficult’ or a ‘diva,’” she says of the perception. “But there’s a willingness now to be like, “Fine. Call me a ‘diva’, call me a ‘feminazi’, call me ‘difficult’, call me a ‘First World feminist’, call me whatever you want, it’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing and make sure that the right thing happens.’”

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She keenly makes sure to mention that in terms of perspective, “Hollywood is just a small piece of a gigantic puzzle but it’s in the spotlight. Whether you are a woman on a tea plantation in Kenya, or a stockbroker on Wall Street, or a Hollywood actress, no one is being paid equally.”

Later in the interview, Watson speaks about how retouched magazine covers contributed to her insecurity, particularly whenever friends would try to take photos of her.

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“I realised it’s because I can’t even reconcile myself with my own image on the front of these magazines,” she says. “Comparing myself to how I look, when I’ve gone through all of that makeup and styling, in my normal life is… just… I can’t live up to it. I was like, “Holy shit!”

She adds:

“It’s unbelievable. Switching from that to being like: ‘Oh, I actually operate in a system that’s fucked. I’m not fucked, the system’s fucked. OK.’ And, ironically, it’s probably made me more beautiful and more confident as a result because I’m not carrying that anxiety any more. I don’t think it’s weird any more that I don’t look like myself on the cover of a magazine.”


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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Images via Esquire