Harry Potter Needs Some Feminism!
Holy crapsy how insanely irritated I get! I know I’m late to the Harry Potter party. 20 years or so. But there is apparently a reason I was not drawn to read this to be enthralled. Now I am though, reading it, not becoming enthralled! I needed to get my focus off something and since it was on the shelf I thought, what the heck, let’s do it!
Harry Potter is a boys adventure with a smart girl as a prop. I find the distinction important as it sets examples for kids of all genders. Generations are growing up with this. They will become grand parents and read it to children. And Hermione will remain a token and nothing else! A token for generations to come!
Right From The Get Go
It starts already on page 1 with the title of the first chapter. “The Boy Who Lived”. Well, with the cover really. I mean the book is about “Harry Potter”. I know the target audience is boys nevertheless, no one would interpret that as a possible girl, or a gender bender in one way or the other.
Famous for being spared (for greater things I guess), before he’s done anything. Just as it is in real life. Boys are anticipated to do great things before they are even born. No wonder they do.
Professor McGognagall is a woman. A ruffled one. And stiff. She is one down from Dumbledore, a man, whom is the most fantastic magician of modern times, a genius and headmaster of the Hogwarts school of magic & mystery. McGognagall is after all only Deputy Headmistress. And stern. I’m at page 51 and have already had enough to be perturbed.
What’s There To Expect?
When going through the list of the student’s mandatory books to read I trace more men than women amongst the authors. Better count. Let’s see… 8 books, 3 supposedly female writers/experts. Sigh!
In Harry Potter boys are hanging with their noses pressed to the window looking at the latest model of brooms. Up until now I was under the impression brooms where for witches, but no. Here we are with Harry Potter and from now on the coolest models are for boys to yearn for.
Then there are boys, boys, boys and one little sister not going to Hogwart. And finally… Hermione enters with “a bossy sort of voice”. But Pe-lea-se! Leaderships skills and bossy is not the same thing. None of the boys hava bossy voices. Oh, right forgot, this is a GIRL! So she’s bossy. Next time that voice is ”sniffy” by the way…
Geography Lesson Next
Charlie’s in Romania and Bill’s in … AFRICA! Holy MOTHER! (Sorry for screaming, it just jumped out.) What country in Africa?
Either Charlie is in Europe or Bill is in Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Morocco, Tunisia, Rwanda or any other of the over 50 sovereign states and territories you can find at the continent of Africa. Later there is even some mention of an ”African” prince. Ghaaaa!!!
(This is where I realize I must have my say about this story and write something blogish.)
Alright, one more time, and I just know it won’t be the last.
Say it out loud:
Africa is a continent, not a country.
Go educate some people.
Diversity, Color, Anyone?
We are now on page 107, and as far as I have noticed not one single person of color has appeared anywhere. At least not mentioned as such. Shall I take that as, color is so insignificant that of course all kinds of kids and teachers/grown ups are represented. Or shall we stick with the same old story, which is, they are all white?
When we finally get the token black boy (did I say boy?) we are at the sermon of initiation. His name is Thomas Dean and I’m wondering If I’ll ever hear his name again. Probably, once, since he is mentioned, and in the same house as Harry Himself. A token is always a token. A black soccer dude token in this case.
There is a tiny trace of hope early on, when the revered Dumbledore has a ”partner”, with a male name. Is this a colleague? Dear Goddess, let this be a male companion, a husband of sort, yes?? We are clasping our hand in prayer and hope!
But no, Nicolas is married and leads a quiet life with his wife, whom at least is a couple of years older than himself. Gotta love some breaking of the norm however tiny it is.
I’ve understood, though I haven’t read it, in the LAST book Dumbledore finally comes out – as an asexual gay man! Good marketing strategy. Let’s first wait, and then make sure he doesn’t have that sinful sex thing those homosexuals are so obsessed about, not to upset any bigots on our way. If he’s going tho be gay, let him at least be celibate as a good and honorable heathen.
The Perfect Combo, Not!
And then, but not least, we have the ever so interesting combination. One girls and… Tada!!! – TWO boys! Oh, she will be intelligent, and know stuff and find out what to do, but she is the girl in the shadow of the always fascinating Harry Famous Potter e-ve-ry-one is whispering about, in awe.
Hermione is smart, prepared, observant, ambitious, decisive and gets them out of shit due to her brains. Yet she’s labeled bossy know-it-all and a night mare with her nose in the air. What does that do to a kid of any gender in regards to seeing value in a girl with any kind of brilliants? Even if it changes half through the book the message is clear. Smart girls are boooring and snotty, and no one likes them or want to be with them. Not until she sacrifices her standards, lies at takes the guilt on herself to protect those lads do they accept her as their friend. Ugh!
And from there she looks after them and their homework… The mothering caretaker, anyone?
I have more to say, but now it’s your turn, what do you think? Could Harry F. Potter have been such a ginormous success had a girl been the main character and target audience? Write your musings in the comment field below. Be polite and try to have a good day! 😉
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