You won’t be seeing Emma Watson at the movie theater in the foreseeable future, unless that movie theater also doubles as a feminist-book store and women’s performance space. As Watson tells bell hooks in the new issue of Paper, she’s taking a break from acting and devoting this year to becoming a better intersectional feminist. “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,” she says. “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.” (Plus, her mother told her, “It feels like you’d be trying to prove to everyone that you’re smart and trying to prove something by doing that.”)
Hooks agrees that some celebrity activism can ring false to many people, and Watson adds that she wants “to do a lot of listening” during her time off: “I do feel like I have to overcompensate at times.” Still, the actress says, it’s a magical time for her. ”It almost feels like the chemistry and the structure of my brain is changing so rapidly sometimes,” she explains. “It feels as if sometimes I’m struggling to keep up with myself. It’s a really cool period of time for me.” Conscientiam Leviosa!