Emma Watson Is Taking a Year Off Acting to Study Feminism

BY Josiah HughesPublished Feb 19, 2016

With The Circle and the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson has currently got two films in post-production. That'll be it for the actress for a little while, however, as she's just announced a year-long sabbatical.

Speaking with bell hooks for Paper Magazine, Watson explains that she plans to spend a year on personal development and, notably, reading feminist literature.

Here's what she said about quitting acting for a year:

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.

She added that her life has changed since embracing feminism in the last five years:

I'm on my journey with this and it might change, but I can tell you that what is really liberating and empowering me through being involved in feminism is that for me the biggest liberation has been that so much of the self-critiquing is gone. So much energy and time -- even in subtle ways -- I'm 25 now and I've certainly come a long way from where I was in my early 20s. Engaging with feminism, there is this kind of bubble now that goes off in my head where these really negative thoughts about myself hit where I'm able to combat them in a very rational and quick way. I can see it now in a way that's different. I guess if I could give women anything through feminism -- or you're asking about power -- it would just be, to be able to move away, to move through all of that. I see so many women struggling with issues of self-esteem. They know and they hear it and they read it in magazines and books all the time that self-love is really important, but it's really hard to actually do.

Emma Watson also plans to focus on HeForShe, her feminist initiative for the UN, as well as her online feminist bookclub Our Shared Shelf.

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