02/23/2017 10:44 EST

Emma Watson Explains Why Boys Should Look Up To Female Heroes

"For some reason there’s some kind of barrier there where [men] are like, 'I don’t want to relate to a girl.'"

Emma Watson believes boys should start looking up to female heroes – and it’s not just because she plays the heroine in Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 26-year-old actress explained why boys have trouble accepting women as heroes.

“It’s something that they are not used to and they don’t like that,” she explained. “Anything that deviates from the norm is difficult to accept.”

She then added: “Women are great at [relating to male heroes]. We see whoever is on screen and we 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 there where [men] are like, ‘I don’t want to relate to a girl. I don’t want to, I don’t want that,’ which I think is inherently part of the problem.”

Watson is right. Girls have no problem looking up to male heroes, such as Han Solo or Superman, and proof of that is everywhere, especially at Halloween. On Reddit, there are also countless other examples, such as when one parent posted a photo of their twin girls’ “Hulk Princess” cake.

Unfortunately, boys aren’t as accepting of female leads, likely because being a girl or acting like a girl has always been viewed as inferior and emasculating.

Speaking to EW, Watson explained why this is a problem.

“[It’s] 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,” she said. “I hope that — I think — that’s starting to slowly change, but it is something that does actively need to be addressed.”

Watson’s views are not surprising as she has always been a strong advocate of feminism. Not only is the actress an ambassador for UN Women, but she helped start the HeForShe campaign, whose goal is to “galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality.”

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