British actress Maisie Williams, who stars in HBO’s Game of Thrones, declared Tuesday anyone who do not identify as feminist should be automatically labeled a “sexist.”
During a conversation with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the show’s upcoming sixth season, the 18-year-old Arya Stark actress recalled first learning that not everyone agrees with the feminist philosophy:
I got asked in one of my first interviews: “Is Arya a feminist?” I didn’t even know what a feminist was … And then someone explained it to me. And I remember thinking, “Isn’t that just like everyone?” And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists “feminists” and just start calling people who aren’t feminist “sexist” – and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.
“People get a label when they’re bad. Because it works the other way, as well,” she added.
Williams also explained she worries that if she speaks out about her feminism she could be “bashed by women on social media.”
“And there’s something not right there,” she added.
“Yeah, sometimes it’s men too. But there are women who are just nasty,” she continued. “I’m trying to do the best I can. I got a voice. I believe in equality and I know I have more power than the average person to reach people. And I just get petrified in case people are rude. You don’t want to put yourself through that.”
Williams also said she is particularly excited for this season of Game of Thrones because “nobody knows what’s happening. They’re going to hate it, but love it, and I can’t wait.”
Critics have accused the show for being misogynistic and Game of Thrones has courted controversy over its depictions of rape and sexual violence.
Last season, Sen. Claire McCaskill pledged to stop watching the show after character Sansa Stark was raped by show villain Ramsay Bolton.
“Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones.Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended,” McCaskill wrote on Twitter.
Game of Thrones season six will premiere on HBO on April 24.