On March 17, Emma Watson stars in Disney’s live action remake of Beauty of the Beast. To promote the release, Watson was featured in Entertainment Weekly, and during her interview, she was used the opportunity to address gender stereotypes and how they affect Hollywood filmmaking.
“If I asked a young boy what superhero they looked up to, I feel a lot fewer would say a female one or would ever use an example of a female one, than in reverse, which is a shame because I feel like we need to live in a culture that values and respects and looks up to and idolizes women as much as men,” said the Harry Potter star. “I hope that — I think — that’s starting to slowly change, but it is something that does actively need to be addressed.”
Watson tied presentation and cultural perceptions of gender as it relates to superheroes with the problem of a lack of female directors in Hollywood.
“We are not even on the scale. We are still a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny percentage [of directors,]” Watson said of a situation which may result in lawsuits for the industry from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, though she noted that women were some of the best storytellers. Watson blamed the disparity on “a blanket level of prejudice about women’s capacities in that role and just a lack of confidence,” elaborating, “There’s a genre idea of, ‘Well, this is a movie about buildings exploding and fights and superheroes, so a woman can’t direct that. This has to have a man directing it.'”
In addition to her career as a superstar actress, Watson is an official UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, campaigning for gender equality and encouraging men to do the same through the organization’s HeForShe program. You can read her full statements on EW’s website, or pick up the magazine in stores.