Feminist icon bell hooks recently interviewed Emma Watson for Paper magazine’s “Girl Crush” series. They spoke about Watson’s part in the “fourth-wave resurgence” of passionate feminists and her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter films, and they made a little time for some mutual admiration.
Here’s what we learnt from the interview.
1. Watson has a girl crush on hooks — and the feeling is mutual
“Ms. Emma Watson, you are my latest girl crush,” said hooks, to which Watson replied, “Aww, bell. Well, you’ve been my girl crush for a little while now.” Watson went on to explain that she first discovered hooks through a friend who sent her one of hooks’ books to help her research for her position as a U.N. ambassador for the #HeForShe campaign.
“And then as I was doing my own research, I found the videos of you speaking at the New School,” said Watson. “And I was like, ‘Who is this woman? She’s so funny.’ I loved your attitude so much.”
Watson really does have a major girl crush. “I got hooked,” she said. “I started watching video after video after video after video. Then I met with Laverne Cox, and we talked about you. I had watched you in conversation with her. It was Laverne who said, ‘Listen, you have to meet her in person. She’s wonderful.’ So I read your work and then we met. That’s been my journey, really.”
2. Watson is taking a year off to learn more about feminism
If only everyone could take a year off (from work, or being a misogynist, or whatever) to learn more about feminism. The world would be a much better place. Sadly, that’s not going to happen, but Watson is lucky enough to have that luxury, and she’s seriously committed to the cause.
“I’m taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really,” she told hooks. “My own personal development is one… My own personal task is to read a book a week, and also to read a book a month as part of my book club. I’m doing a huge amount of reading and study just on my own. I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading. That I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I’m on. I’m reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening.”
3. Watson related to Hermione because she was “super uncool”
Watson revealed that she identified with Hermione because they were “very similar,” although she tried to fight against that at first in order to be “cool.”
“I was the girl in school whose hand shot up to answer the questions,” she said. “I was really eager to learn in an uncool way. In a super uncool way, actually. And then the character of Hermione gave me permission to be who I was.”
4. Watson has been a feminist since the age of 9
Proving that feminism can be an integral part of your belief system before you even really know what it means, Watson said, “When I was 9, I think, during my first-ever Harry Potter conference, I said I was a ‘bit of a feminist’! Ha! I think I was scared to go the full hog. I was scared I didn’t understand what it meant. I obviously did, I was just so bemused by all the chatter around the idea.”
5. Watson might end up ditching acting altogether to become a guru
Well, maybe not. But she’s not only going to be learning about feminism during her year’s break from acting. She told hooks, “One thing that I am going to do that I’ve been working on for a while is completing my yoga Level 3 for meditation teaching.”