When we look back at this moment as a period in time when women started talking about feminism and identifying as feminists with a passion not seen for many years, some of the high watermarks in this fourth-wave resurgence will be Beyoncé's 2014 VMAs performance, Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance and, of course, Emma Watson's stirring speech at the United Nations. And then as I was doing my own research, I found the videos of you speaking at The New School. She's wonderful." So I read your work and then we met. hooks: That's so funny because I came to you through your work as well, watching you as an actress in the Harry Potter movies.
Emma's moving words and her work promoting gender equality through the UN's He For She movement provided the first real introduction to the concept for many young women (and men). Well, you've been my girl crush for a little while now. As a cultural critic who writes about women and representation, I was fascinated by the character of Hermione.
hooks: It's interesting that in the final scenes at the train station Hermione is such a passive image. She moves from being intriguing to being the boring spinster?
Watson: I've not thought about that.hooks: I was like, "why is she looking frumpy? Movies are still struggling with how to create images of smart, vibrant, powerful, and intelligent older females.
I'm into fashion and I'm much cooler than she is," and then I came to a place of acceptance. There are obviously differences, but there are a lot of ways that I'm very similar. hooks: I was often annoyed with the development of the movie character of Hermione.
By the time of the last movie, she's like a suburban housewife.
Watson: [Laughs.] Well, she goes on to have a career.
And she does go on to do good and interesting things.
You want to include so much and you want to be aware of so many things. You know your topic so well that you're able to be free with it and you're able to make jokes and you're able to be so confident within that.I'm always wanting to surround myself with the kind of beauty that uplifts you, that runs counter to some of the stereotypes of feminist women. In Feminism is for Everybody, I found a reminder of just what you were saying, "To critique sexist images without offering alternatives is an incomplete intervention. That's a pretty big stereotype about feminists, that we're not fun, that we don't have a sense of humor and that everything is so serious and politically correct.Critique in and of itself does not lead to change." hooks: I was thinking about what you were saying earlier -- that I am funny. Humor is essential to working with difficult subjects: race, gender, class, sexuality.For me, it's so much the character of talking about race and/or feminism. I'm particularly interested in fashions that are comfortable and beautiful.And yet there are just a lot more things that interest and excite me. I have an overall obsession in my life with beauty.Like when I was talking about the trafficking in girls and the sort of worship girls have for someone like Beyoncé, I was really talking -- not about the person Beyoncé -- but of her image as being that of a kind of a terrorist.