With her HeForShe campaign and her outspokenness on feminism, it’s safe to say Emma Watson is a champion for women everywhere. Her recent take on Belle in the live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast only cemented the fact that she’s all for female-centric roles, especially in Hollywood where gender inequality remains rampant.
But it’s not just the industry to blame: Male audience members have criticized the all-female ensemble in the recent Ghostbusters movie and the decision to cast female leads in the latest Star Wars films. In an interview for Marie Claire Australia‘s May issue, the actress shares her theory on why men have an aversion to female heroes.
“It’s something they’re not used to, and they don’t like that,” Emma says. “Anything that deviates from the norm is difficult to accept. If you’ve been used to watching characters that look like, sound like, think like you, and then you see someone [unexpected] up on the screen, you go, ‘Well, that’s a girl, she doesn’t look like me. I want it to look like me so that I can project myself onto the character.'”
On the other hand, women have no problem adapting to male leads—they can see themselves in a character’s experiences rather than in the characters themselves. “Women are great about that,” she explains. “We see whoever is on-screen and recognize the human qualities in the man that we relate to, and there’s not such a gap. But for some reason, there’s some kind of barrier where [men] are like, ‘I don’t want to relate to a girl.’ I think it is inherently part of the problem.” We couldn’t agree more.