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Emma Watson; it's not just men, women need to support each other too

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Given the waves she made with her HeForShe speech in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador last year, Emma Watson wasn't going to let International Women's Day pass without comment at the weekend.

The actress, who has over 30 million Facebook fans, used the occasion to take part in a live Q&A for the social media site, where she discussed the ramifications of her September speech on gender equality - including threats to release naked pictures online perfectly illustrating just one of the issues women face.

In a sit down with Radio 1 presenter Greg James, Emma, 24, said of the threat: ''I knew it was a hoax but I think a lot of people that were close to me knew gender equality was an issue but didn't think it was that urgent, that it was a thing of the past.

“When they saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women’s rights I was immediately threatened - in less than 12 hours I was receiving threats - I think they were really shocked. One of my brothers was very upset.

"I think it was a wake-up call of, ‘Oh, this is a real thing that’s really happening now. Women are receiving threats in all sorts of different forms—that was just one specific one.'"

She added: "It’s funny because people went, ‘Oh, she’s going to be disheartened by this.’ If anything, it made me so much more determined. I was just raging. It made me so angry that I was just like, ‘This is why I have to be doing this!’”

Emma Watson HeForShe

Emma's HeForShe UN speech in New York last September

Emma also discussed how the onus was not only on men to move the issue forward, describing women as 'complicit'. Previously admitting she was "a little nervous" over the live question session and keeping a sheaf of notes on her knees throughout, the star emphasised the need for female support.

"It's uncomfortable to acknowledge that there is a problem, but we need to understand that we are complicit... Some of the hardest moments [of criticism] I've had have been comments from other women. It's not just enough to ask men to come in and support us, we really need to support each other."

Emma Watson Jacqueline Luesby

Emma pictured with mum Jacqueline Luesby in 2007

Having spoken of the "imbalance" and "distortion that is just hindering our progress", Emma later discussed men also feeling under pressure to conform to traditional ideas of gender, saying: “I’m really, genuinely disturbed by this idea that men can’t cry; that they just can’t express themselves, and can’t talk about how they actually feel.

"That’s the saddest thing in the world. It’s what makes you human—how you feel, being able to express yourself, being passionate, being emotional. It’s what makes you human, it’s not what makes you a girl.”

The hour-long talk also covered her role model growing up, whom she credited as her mum Jacqueline.

Emma, who landed the life-changing role of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films at the age of nine, said: ''The obvious choice is my mum, she was a single mother and a type one diabetic, so to see her strength and resilience was really inspiring growing up.

''I think she instilled in me in my teenage years when I was feeling very insecure, that what I was thinking, doing, saying, were infinitely more important than my physical appearance.''

Images: Rex Features

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