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Emma Watson's now-famous United Nations speech about feminism almost didn't happen.

You might remember it popping up in your Facebook feed back in September of 2014. The "Harry Potter" star's speech for UN Women's HeForShe project was a passionate call for men, women, boys, and girls alike to join in the fight for gender equality.


She's talking to you, dude. GIFs from the United Nations.

It turns out Watson was asked to speak about gender equality but leave out one very important word: feminism.

It's true! In a recent interview with Porter, Watson talks about the feminist speech that nearly wasn't.

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

Of course, this is just a tad throw-your-hands-up-and-sigh-absurd, as Watson herself states in her speech that feminism can (and should) be inclusive of people of all genders. By definition, that's what it is.

Asking her not to call gender equality "feminism" only proves why she needed to say it.

If this sounds familiar, might I point you toward a certain book series … called "Harry Potter" … where people were too scared to say a certain name...

The stigma around identifying as a feminist became the centerpiece of Watson's speech (she used the word "feminism" three times and "feminist" four times).

"I thought long and hard and ultimately felt that it was just the right thing to do," she continued in the interview. "If women are terrified to use the word, how on earth are men supposed to start using it?"

In the more than a year since that speech, Watson has continued to be a feminist badass, doing everything from speaking out about inequality in Hollywood to interviewing Malala.

Good for Emma Watson for speaking up and not letting "feminism" remain a dirty word.

Relive the magic of Watson's 2014 HeForShe speech below.

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


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