Emma Watson Wasn't Initially Planning to Use F-Word in Famous UN Speech

December 2nd 2015

Taylor Bell

Although the word "feminist" easily comes to mind when you think of the iconic speech that actress and beloved feminist Emma Watson gave at the United Nations a year ago, the actress just admitted that she initially had doubts about using the word to begin with.

Emma Watson UN

In her 2014 speech, Watson delivered a poignant message in which she reclaimed the word, "feminist," called out men for their failure to promote women's rights, and introduced her HeForShe campaign. But as much as the speech is beloved by feminists everywhere, it almost did not happen this way.

In an interview with Porter, Watson described how she wrestled with the use of the word.

"I was encouraged not to use the word 'feminism.'" Watson said. "People felt that it was alienating and separating and the whole idea of the speech was to include as many people as possible."

Related: What Happened When Emma Watson Was Asked If She's A 'White Feminist'

She went on to say:

"I thought long and hard and ultimately felt it was the right thing to do. If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to use it?"

Thankfully she did. Although the "F-word" is still fighting off stigmas, Watson has helped many people embrace the word including Nobel Peace Prize Winner and human rights champion Malala Yousafzai. In an interview with Watson, Yousafzai said that after seeing the speech, she was encouraged not to shy away from using the word.

Related: Malala Credits Emma Watson for Helping Her Embrace the Word Feminism

“It has been a tricky word," Malala told Watson. "When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones. I hesitated in saying, 'am I feminist or not?'...Then after hearing your speech, I decided there’s no way and there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I’m a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality."

You can watch Watson's historic U.N speech here: