The Tamara Drewe star told Stylist that she was "always into music" growing up.
Arterton said: "My mum brought me up on lots of great female artists, like Kate Bush and Björk. It was Björk's role in [Lars von Trier's] Dancer in the Dark that made me want to be an actor.
"I love PJ Harvey as well. The music industry is the one place you can really express yourself as a woman.
"It's very different in my job. If you want to be a feminist you have to deal with the consequences, but as a musician you can go for it."
Asked if the difference existed because actors have to maintain some anonymity to take on different roles, Arterton added: "Yes. I'm very conscious of that because I do like to transform slightly.
"I don't really want everyone to know every opinion I've ever thought, even though I'm very outspoken. I have to watch myself when I do interviews."
Arterton recently signed up to star in Neil LaBute's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Crooked House and Neil Jordan's vampire movie Byzantium.
She has also been linked to a role in a Dynasty remake after Joan Collins suggested her as a "sexy and vixenous" candidate to play Alexis Carrington Colby.
> Gemma Arterton 'loves London anonymity'
Watch Björk in the Dancer in the Dark trailer video below: