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Mar—All About Love (2016) > Paper Magazine's "In Conversation with bell hooks and Emma Watson"

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message 1: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Gabe (cmgabe) | 23 comments I found a link to the "Girl Crush" series conversation after seeing that Emma Watson was inspired to pick the latest book based on her interview with bell hooks. I really like the concept of women with mutual admiration interviewing, or really meeting and having a conversation with each other that is recorded for prosperity. It offers a different view of current issues that are important to women.

Here is the link:

- http://www.papermag.com/emma-watson-b...

One of my favorite quotes was: "All females living in the modern culture go through this transitional phase of sort of trying on acceptable images of femininity." (bell hooks)


message 2: by Karate (new)

Karate Kiyay | 1 comments Favorite quote, "I'm reading so much and exposing myself to so many new ideas. It almost feels like the chemistry and the structure of my brain is changing so rapidly sometimes. It feels as if sometimes I'm struggling to keep up with myself. It's a really cool period of time for me." -watson
This really resonated with me. I'm just beginning to study gender at university and it really does feel like my mind is expanding in a literal sense sometimes! ...like that there is actually more space in there, or that I'm able to see the world with an eye I didn't know I had.
I also love the women interviewing women idea. If the media bottlenecks the information that we have access to, about what women are doing and saying, then offering the public access to conversations like this one is an excellent way to counteract that.
Thanks for posting!


message 3: by Helen (new)

Helen (helen2u) | 305 comments Yes, I agree, but bell hooks didn't have to criticize Hermione like that, as if she never read the books and watched the films, to actually get an idea of her development throughout the series. It really bothers me, because then how can you say you support someone if you criticize their previous work? You cant criticize something then to go ahead and praise her work with the UN Women.


message 4: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin | 25 comments Thank you for the link, Caroline :-)


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Helen wrote: "Yes, I agree, but bell hooks didn't have to criticize Hermione like that, as if she never read the books and watched the films, to actually get an idea of her development throughout the series. It ..."


I think what she said about Hermione was actually very interesting, because in my opinion, she does seem to transition into a traditional role of a wife.

I think that this quote by bell hooks is very insightful: "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."


I also don't think that it's wrong of her to criticize Hermione and then support Emma Watson, because Emma Watson and Hermione are two different people.


I really love this quote about activism: "Sometimes it's hard to recruit people to forms of activism for justice and ending domination because they think that there won't be any time left for fun. Everyone needs to have a balanced life. Being balanced is crucial, because it helps us not to over-extend or to try to live up to other people's expectations in ways that leave you feeling empty." - bell hooks


message 6: by Helen (new)

Helen (helen2u) | 305 comments Anja wrote: "Helen wrote: "Yes, I agree, but bell hooks didn't have to criticize Hermione like that, as if she never read the books and watched the films, to actually get an idea of her development throughout t..."

In the same time working in the Minister of Magic.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I am aware that she does work in the Ministry of Magic. I'm not positive as I don't have the books here, but I'm quite sure that this is not mentioned in the books nor in the film. (This is the same thing how I feel about Dumbledore being homosexual - I would have preferred it to be in the books.)


message 8: by Helen (new)

Helen (helen2u) | 305 comments Anja wrote: "I am aware that she does work in the Ministry of Magic. I'm not positive as I don't have the books here, but I'm quite sure that this is not mentioned in the books nor in the film. (This is the sam..."

http://www.beyondhogwarts.com/harry-p...


message 9: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
I think it's perhaps an unfortunate assumption that just because Hermione is seen nineteen years later with children, she must not be doing much else. The boys are also seen there with the kids, we don't assume they haven't had careers outside the home! I don't recall anything in the epilogue being much about careers, anyway. The focus of the series is mainly on family and friendship, and the epilogue reflects that.

I thought that the interview was excellent. Between this and the Steinem interview, I've been enjoying these "conversations" between women immensely. When you have two feminists speaking with one another, it seems that the conversations remain focused and respectful. It's such a stark distinction from other interviews in which focus is pulled to appearances and drama.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Helen wrote: "Anja wrote: "I am aware that she does work in the Ministry of Magic. I'm not positive as I don't have the books here, but I'm quite sure that this is not mentioned in the books nor in the film. (Th..."

Your link shows that this was mentioned after the books. I know of this information, I follow new news about the Harry Potter world very closely. I just wish that it was mentioned in the books.

What I'm trying to say is that you cannot blame bell hooks for her analysis of Hermione based on the information she receives from the films and the books.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that maybe I was misunderstood. I think Hermione is a good character, just that the writing and film does not always portray it properly.

Katelyn wrote: "It's such a stark distinction from other interviews in which focus is pulled to appearances and drama. "

I think what you said really fits to the bell hook's interview. It's impressive how respectful the interview was. I sadly don't have the time at the moment to watch the Steinem interview.


message 12: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Anja wrote: "I think that maybe I was misunderstood. I think Hermione is a good character, just that the writing and film does not always portray it properly.

Katelyn wrote: "It's such a stark distinction from..."


I think all criticisms of how Hermione is presented are fair game. Not everyone is going to interpret characters the same way! I really enjoyed a video someone posted in the thread about feminism at Hogwart/JKR's world about the women of the series. And one thing that she points out is when the trio are living in the tent in book 7, she tried to play around with gender roles and whatnot. Specifically she mentioned Hermione's complaint that she's always doing the cooking, and the boys' response was that it was because she was best at magic! I appreciated that a lot. And it sheds light on ways that we can understand characters like Mrs. Weasley better, as well. Perhaps distinctions between career and home are less of an issue in the magical world than in the muggle world because it is understood that magic is needed for all of these tasks. So perhaps it has less to do with the way the tasks are valued. Although the gendered division of labor is still an obstacle, at least insofar as it's represented.

Watch the interview when you get a chance! I think Emma asked some very insightful questions about the book.


message 13: by Kerry (new)

Kerry | 9 comments I'm quite sad that it can be assumed that a woman raising children isn't "doing much else" or doing much of any worth. Surely it is the ultimate role for a feminist? To prepare her children/the next generation for the world?
Right now future politicians, world leaders, world changing scientists are being raised. Surely that takes a great deal of thought and development.
I see my role as a mother as the most important thing I have ever done. While it is a shared role, I am, as their birth mother, their primary carer. Doesn't mean I cook all the meals or do all the washing up etc though!


message 14: by Kressel (new)

Kressel Housman | 436 comments Kerry wrote: "I'm quite sad that it can be assumed that a woman raising children isn't "doing much else" or doing much of any worth. Surely it is the ultimate role for a feminist? To prepare her children/the nex..."

Thank you for saying that! Apparently, JKR said it too because Molly Weasley has come into some criticism for being a homemaker. But in light of what I've read so far in bell's book, she's quite aware of the importance of family, parenting, and love. "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."


message 15: by Jo, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Jo (jo_9) | 373 comments Mod
Yeah just because Hermione is a mother, it doesn't mean she no longer works or has given up on her intelligence to look after the sprogs!

I myself am a mother, I still go to work and still do the chores at home too as well as spend time on here of course ;-)

Also, bell hooks mentions the appearence of Hermione at the end. To be fair I think the same can be said for Harry and Ron too...they all look a bit, drab? As someone who is now at the same sort of age as Harry, Hermione and Ron are supposed to be at the end, I can safely say I do not dress like that!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I'd like to apologise for assuming that because Hermione is not portrayed as working, she is not a role model.


message 17: by Jo, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Jo (jo_9) | 373 comments Mod
Anja wrote: "I'd like to apologise for assuming that because Hermione is not portrayed as working, she is not a role model."

Don't worry :-) it's not you. I think it is the impression bell hooks had of Hermione as an adult is of this drab woman who has sacrificed her intelligence and job for her children (or that's the impression I got from the interview). This is only what she perceived through watching the last part of the films though I think. To be fair, the 19 years later scenes do look drab and I can see why they wold give this impression!


message 18: by Kerry (new)

Kerry | 9 comments It's good to see the role of mother being discussed positively. I was thinking a lot about this since I posted.
I personally think being a feminist is about having the choice. If it was about empowering women to be at work and not have children, we'd die out as a species! Women (and their partners) should have the freedom to choose how they live their lives regardless of the gender. So if I want to have children and work full time, have children and work part time, have children and stay at home, it's all good. My husband would love to be able to work less and share more of an even role raising our children to be honest.

My other slightly unrelated thought was about raising children to be the people of the future. I was wondering if I'm thinking of being a mother as a feminist role because I have two girls? But then I realised my feminist role would be even more important to me if I was raising boys because I'd also be raising the feminists if the future. But I'd be teaching them how to give equality to women.
It's a bit like the adage of don't teach girls how to protect themselves from sexual assault and rape - teach the boys not to assault or rape.


message 19: by erika (new)

erika | 36 comments Kerry wrote: "I'm quite sad that it can be assumed that a woman raising children isn't "doing much else" or doing much of any worth. Surely it is the ultimate role for a feminist? To prepare her children/the nex..."

YES!! The men and women who fought so hard for women's rights fought primarily for a woman's right to CHOSE her path. But we often get caught in this dichotomy-- this idea that if you are a feminist, you CANNOT be a stay at home mom. Let's get back to lifting each other up instead of nit picking and tearing down.

Much love


message 20: by Kerry (new)

Kerry | 9 comments Well said Erika!


message 21: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Among highly educated women in particular seems to be this weird idea that a choice to stay at home isn't valid, but the person (well, woman usually) is ceasing to use her brain.

The only thing I'm critical of is when an expensive education gifted by society isn't used at all, such as happens in my country where university education is free. It doesn't seem right at all.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Aglaea wrote: "The only thing I'm critical of is when an expensive education gifted by society isn't used at all, such as happens in my country where university education is free. It doesn't seem right at all. ."

Some people may not want a university education, they may not want to work in jobs that require university degrees. In Germany, there are many job fields that do so.


message 23: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Anja wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "The only thing I'm critical of is when an expensive education gifted by society isn't used at all, such as happens in my country where university education is free. It doesn't seem r..."

I think you misunderstood me. I meant that when a person grabs the chance to get an education for free, then proceeds never to use it by opting out of being a member of the work force, it is exploitation of tax payers' goodwill. The degree wasn't used, but a spot was taken from someone else who could have used it.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Aglaea wrote: "Anja wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "The only thing I'm critical of is when an expensive education gifted by society isn't used at all, such as happens in my country where university education is free. It d..."

Indeed that was a misunderstanding Aglaea. This event could be due to expectations that certain families have on their children.


message 25: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Anja wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "Anja wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "The only thing I'm critical of is when an expensive education gifted by society isn't used at all, such as happens in my country where university educatio..."

Absolutely, expectations are high at times, here, too, where there is an assembly-line kind of approach to PhD's even. With the result that a huge number of academics are currently unemployed in the ongoing financial crisis :(

I think education and work in general deserves a heavy debate to promote perceived value of all sorts of work.


message 26: by Heide (last edited Mar 05, 2016 05:07AM) (new)

Heide | 135 comments I agree with almost everything all of you said. I'm a huge Harry Potter Fan and Hermione is my favorite character, and being a mother is a valuable choice, and besides she is doing both, being a mother and having a carreer, and I wouldn't want to change anything about the books, and.....

But I also completely understand what Bell Hooks meant with "(...), then to also witness that that intelligence was placed in the service of boy power." And I agree with her. Again, because I love Harry Potter, I wouldn't want to change anything about this particular story. But the problem is that this is a trope, which we see far to often in fictional narratives. Marina explains this "Mediocre Dude Saves the World" Trope in her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gxpF...
We see this trope in so many popular films, books etc. A very capable, skilled woman is passed up for an incompetent, mediocre dude who just happens to get the oportunity to save the day just because he's destined to do it. And this in itself is not bad (because I think it makes the charackter more reliable). The problem is that we see this trope repeated over and over again, so that it becomes normalized.
Because when this happens in reverse, like in Star Wars when Rey is able to use the force and becoming skilled at it "to quickly", people say that it's unbelievable, because how could a girl naturally be good at something?
And another negative aspect about that trope is, that it's reflected in reality as well. "It just seems that men are assumed to be competent until proven otherwise, whereas women are assumed to be incompetent until proven otherwise."


message 27: by Barb (new)

Barb (barbie15) | 15 comments Kerry wrote: "I'm quite sad that it can be assumed that a woman raising children isn't "doing much else" or doing much of any worth. Surely it is the ultimate role for a feminist? To prepare her children/the nex..."

I have to agree. I understand that women do not want to just be seen as being a mother barefoot in the kitchen (should be seen not heard). What's unfortunate about this old ignorant thinking is it gives motherhood a bad taste in everyone's mouth. If you have the previlage of being a mother you find out really quick that motherhood is not for the weak and stupid. It's ok to be a mother or not be a mother. You have to embrace being a woman and be confident in whatever journey you take.


message 28: by Kressel (last edited Mar 05, 2016 06:31PM) (new)

Kressel Housman | 436 comments Here's a quote from All About Love that contradicts all the negative comments about Hermione as mother in the interview:

p. 65: "Satisfied homemakers, both women and the rare men who have chosen to stay home, have a lot to teach us all about the joy that comes from self-determination. They are their own bosses, setting the terms of their labor and the measure of their reward. More than any of us, they have the freedom to develop right livelihood."


message 29: by Katie (new)

Katie McCann | 8 comments Bell hooks comments made it quite clear she hasn't read the Harry Potter books or knows much about the series at all- just how it seemed to me though


message 30: by Camilla (new)

Camilla (repressedpauper) | 64 comments Katie, I think the comments show a pretty good understanding of the films especially and the books somewhat. It just reflects that hooks doesn't keep up with extra Harry Potter content put out by Pottermore/Rowling, something I don't blame her for. It's perfectly fair to both like and criticise media based on the media itself.


message 31: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Post (kristenpost) | 15 comments Kerry wrote: "I'm quite sad that it can be assumed that a woman raising children isn't "doing much else" or doing much of any worth. Surely it is the ultimate role for a feminist? To prepare her children/the nex..."

I agree with Kerry! I think our culture can sometimes get so caught up in expanding career opportunities for women and giving them the right to do anything they want that those women who choose to stay home with their children are looked down upon. It's so sad, really, because though I'm not a mother myself I can think of nothing more important than raising a child. Promoting the freedom of career choice among women shouldn't involve removing or demeaning the choice to be a homemaker.

In All About Love: New Visions, Bell Hooks talks about the importance of creating loving home environments as they are "the original school of love," and yet a Hermione with children is a disappointment? If the character actually were a "suburban housewife," why would that be bad? Why would wearing a "frumpy" outfit take her down a notch? It's disheartening to see women critiqued on what they wear and their choice in occupation.


message 32: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Kristen wrote: "Kerry wrote: "I'm quite sad that it can be assumed that a woman raising children isn't "doing much else" or doing much of any worth. Surely it is the ultimate role for a feminist? To prepare her ch..."

We share an opinion on that. And to be honest, I think Hermione's acting is not bad at all. She won't see her children for at least until Christmas, of course you bring the to the Platform. We know(since 7.31 even more) that Hermione works in the Ministry, and achieves a lot of feminism for other species. What's so bad about having children? As some of you already mentioned, parents are raising the future generation, the future feminists. What is bad about that, tell me? And isn't feminism about choices? She contradicts herself with that.

The other parts of the interview I liked a lot except for two: I think humour is hardly ever good, because when you think about it, you realize that you always make somebody down for the fun.
Apart from that I think that heterosexuals using the term "girl-crush" are homophobic. It implies that you're in love with each other, and unless that's the case, you shouldn't use it.


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