Emma Watson Discusses Feminism and Her Break from Acting with bell hooks

Feb 19, 2016

Posted by: Milka Väinämö

Actor Interviews, Interviews, Watson, Watson Interviews

In Paper Magazine’s ‘Girl Crush’ series, women get together for conversations that offer a glimpse into what is it like to be a woman in contemporary society. On 18th of February, Paper published a conversation article by feminist scholar bell hooks (who stylistically doesn’t capitalize her name) and Emma Watson, in which they share their inspiration for each other, discuss how they became feminists and what feminism means to them.

hooks, a cultural critic whose career so far has focused on writing about women and representation in media, recounts her experience of watching Harry Potter movies, saying:

“I was fascinated by the character of Hermione. It was both exciting and at times infuriating to watch the way the character of Hermione developed and to see this vibrant image of a girl who was just so intelligent, who is such a thinker, then to also witness that that intelligence was placed in the service of boy power. Even so, it remains an important representation for girls.”


In reply, Watson recounts her own experience of “getting to know” Hermione, stating that as an 8-year-old student “whose hand shot up to answer the questions”, she was able to identify with Hermione, adding that “the character of Hermione gave me permission to be who I was.” 

Watson and hooks go on to discuss Hermione’s character development, the representation of intelligent older women in movies, feminist literature, feminist stereotypes and the problems related to communication in media. hooks praises Watson’s work, saying “Emma, you are such a perfect ambassador. You have such a global presence.”

Watson, who has decided to take a year away from acting, explains her decision by saying that she wants to focus on her own personal development through reading and personal education. She points out to all the experience she gains from her work, saying “I want to listen to as many different women in the world as I can.” When posed with the question “If you could give females, women, one thing in this world towards this vision of female liberation and power, what would it be?”, Watson answers by saying that she wishes it would be easier for women to learn self-love and to get rid of self-critiquing.

If you are worried of not hearing about Emma Watson during her break of acting, you can stop worrying! While she might be on a break from making fictional appearances, she is heavily focused on her HeForShe campaign through organizing a HeForShe arts week, a university and launching a HeForShe website.

For more about Emma Watson’s break from acting, see these articles by Vanity Fair and Vulture.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.