When Emma Watson described herself as “self-partnered” - not single - while discussing her relationship status last year, she did not expect her choice of words to generate such a reaction.
The actress, 29, has reflected on the comments she made in an interview for British Vogue’s November 2019 issue during which she acknowledged the pressures to get married and have children by the age of 30.
She had said: “I never believed the whole, ‘I'm happy single’ spiel...It took me a long time, but I'm very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered.”
Now, the former Harry Potter favourite has revealed her surprise that the observation “really riled some people up”.
Talking about how the phrase generated headlines and great debate about the rebranding of being single, Emma told feminist professor and author Valerie Hudson, in a piece for Teen Vogue, that the public response actually said a lot about society.
She said: “There was no word for this kind of subliminal messaging and anxiety and pressure that I felt building up, but I couldn’t really name, and so I used the word ‘self-partnered'.
“For me it wasn’t so much about coining a word; it was more that I needed to create a definition for something that I didn’t feel there was language for.
“And it was really interesting because it really riled some people up!
“It was less for me about the word but more about what it meant — just this idea that we need to reclaim language and space in order to express ourselves because sometimes it’s really not there.”
The pair also acknowledged that women aren’t always able to express how they are feeling because language was “made by man to express theirs”.
In December, the Little Women star clarified what she meant by using the term “self-partnered”.
Speaking to E!’s ‘The Rundown’, she said: “It’s much more about your relationship with yourself and the feeling of not somehow deficient in some way because you’re not with someone.”
Emma continued: “I literally said it as a throwaway comment, thinking it would go no further.
“And then I woke up the next morning and my phone’s blowing up and I don’t know why and it’s all my friends messaging me being like, ‘Self-partnered?’ This thing’s gone crazy.’”
She also added that she was “so happy people feel empowered” by the phrase.