Emma Watson may be busy promoting her latest film, The Circle, but that hasn't stopped her from furthering the feminist cause. The actor was recently in her birth city of Paris, France to attend The Circle premiere— oh, and perform a little activism, too.
#EmmaWatson spent the morning hiding 100 copies of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale — the very same book that inspired the critically-acclaimed Hulu show — around the city for unsuspecting Parisians to happen across:
This isn't the first time she's hit up a major city to stash feminist literature, either. Watson left copies of Mom & Me & Mom around the London tube late last year, and left a similar trail of books in New York City in March.
The books also included a hand-written note from Watson herself in French. One fan was even lucky enough to bring their copy to The Circle premiere for Watson to sign, to which she happily obliged.
What's With All The Books?
In case you're wondering: no, Watson isn't in dire need of cleaning out her library. She started her own online feminist book club, "Our Shared Shelves", as part of her role as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. As well as selecting titles for her 193,934 members to read each month, she occasionally teams up with other groups to plant books in various locations all over the world.
This month, Watson has collaborated with The Book Fairies, who share their love of literature by leaving books for others to find. They also encourage anyone who finds a book to leave it for another bookworm to find after they've finished reading it.
You can identify a Book Fairy book by their trademark green stickers, and Watson asked her book club members to post photos of their finds on Twitter along with the hashtag #OSSParis. Copies of The Handmaid's Tale have been found at a number of Paris locations so far, from The Eiffel Tower to the Place de la Concorde. These French books will likely find their way back onto the streets of Paris for the next lucky reader to find before long.
Why 'The Handmaid's Tale'?
While there's a running theme of "equality" in the books read by the Our Shared Shelves book club, there's a reason Watson chose to distribute copies of The Handmaid's Tale.
There's no denying the haunting similarities between the patriarchal dystopia shown in The Handmaid's Tale and the world we live in today. The terrifying reality explored by Atwood is more relevant now than ever, with many suggesting that it depicts a post-Trump future, whilst others have compared it to countries like Afghanistan.
Watson posted the following explanation to the Our Shared Shelves Facebook page, explaining the relevance of June's novel:
This isn't the first time The Handmaid's Tale has made headlines in the political sphere. Protesters at this year's Women's March even sported Handmaid's Tale-inspired signs. Some women have since staged protests in many states across the US, appearing outside courts dressed in red Handmaid robes to speak out against laws restricting women's reproductive rights. NBC News also reports that groups outside of America are planning on similar protests.
Regardless of what you think of Emma Watson, encouraging others to engage in political causes is never a bad thing, let alone an easy feat. Not to mention that, according to The Washington Post, reading levels in the US are at the lowest they've been in three decades.
What the world needs right now is books; good books. Luckily, there's plenty out there to find (if you know where to look).
Have you found any of Emma Watson's hidden books?