Emma Watson Taking a Year's Break from Acting--Why?

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Emma Watson is taking a year-long break from her acting career in order to focus on feminism. She has been very vocal on the topic for a couple of years, so she wants to become better versed in it, and help others do the same.

According to a report from E! News, Emma Watson spoke with author and activist bell hooks in an interview with Paper magazine about her plans to leave her acting career behind for a year.

"I'm taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really," the former Harry Potter star said. "My own personal development is one...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."

The book club Emma Watson referenced is called Our Shared Self. She connected with the group via Twitter.

"I'm doing a huge amount of reading and study just on my own," she said. "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...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."

Also as part of her year off, Emma Watson is organizing some projects with her HeforShe program. She launched this initiative as U.N. goodwill ambassador, enlisting men in the fight for gender equality. She has an arts week and a university tour planned, as well as a new website in the works.

"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," she adds. "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."

Emma Watson hopes to empower other women in this way, too.

Are you surprised an actress like Emma Watson would give up a year of her career to study feminism?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.