bell hooks and Emma Watson Discuss Feminism, Hermione, and Taking a Break
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) February 19, 2016
Paper Magazine‘s “Girl Crush” series brought together feminist writer and activist bell hooks and Emma Watson for an interview about Hermione, engaging with feminism, hook’s book Feminism is for Everyone, and their future plans. hooks says Watson is her “latest girl crush” and Watson calls hooks “my girl crush for a while now,” and the interview as a whole is very sweet and thoughtful. bell hooks also wrote about the encounter in a post titled “Feminism is Fun,” talking about how their age difference and diverse standpoints “did not stand in the way of forging feminist solidarity, respect, and, dare I say it, love.”
A particularly great moment in the interview is when the two talk about how Hermione aged and hooks brings up how Hermione seems like a “passive image” in the final movie. hooks also references Amy Schumer’s “Last Fuckable Day:”
It would have taken just sixty seconds, or at least two minutes, just to celebrate being real, but rather than what — to me — would have had the flavor of a really interesting critique, they end up being like, “it’s OK now.” Rather than saying, “let’s proclaim the best is yet to be here, honey. Not because we can chug melted ice cream but because it’s a wonderful stage in life.” As an older woman, over the age of sixty, it’s an interesting, exciting time. Many of those struggles that we’re talking about with identity happen when we are younger. That change happens through the aging process — you realize that you don’t want to stay in this character that you were. For me, it’s so much the character of talking about race and/or feminism. And yet there are just a lot more things that interest and excite me. I look at how to bring that whole self out.
Watson responds with a relevant quote from Feminism is for Everyone, “To critique sexist images without offering alternatives is an incomplete intervention. Critique in and of itself does not lead to change.” Watson also discusses her plan to take some time off acting to work on self-development and learning:
I’m taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really. My own personal development is one. I know that you read a book a day. 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.
It’s a difficult interview to block quote, since the interview really feels like a conversation rather than a Q&A. The two have a great dynamic so I definitely recommend reading the whole interview on Paper!
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