Hello! I'm posting again! It's quite shocking, even to me! I have some links for you! And then I'm going to talk about Harry Potter for a bit! And now I'm going to stop with the exclamation marks.
The first link is to a post by Alyssa Rosenberg about Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen & Movement Mascots, because it's pretty interesting, & the second is to a piece by Sady Doyle that the first link refers to: In Praise of Joanne Rowling's Hermione Granger Series
(ETA: Also, because I'm a few days late with this, here's the link to Sady Doyle's response to the feedback on her first post, where she makes a lot of good points. )
I have two problems with the the "In Praise of the Hermione Granger Series" post. The first problem is the issue that it takes with Joanne Rowling using her initials as her pen name. When JK Rowling approached publishers with Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone she was an unemployed single mother with a very young child who wanted to sell her novel. I think it's unfortunate that we live in a society where young boys are taught - usually completely unconsciously - to avoid reading books by female authors, even those with male protagonists, for fear of them being too girly. I think it's unfortunate that we live in a society where "girly" means "unsuitable for boys." However, I really don't think anyone can blame an unpublished writer for trying to attract a wider readership.
My second problem with the piece is this: it is entirely possible for a male character to represent gender equality. In a perfect society girls & boys would be represented equally in children's books and on television, but unfortunately we don't live in that society, & in order to raise these issues with children of all genders it seems to often be necessary to speak through a male character's mouth. The Harry Potter series is hardly a beacon of anti-feminism, but my thoughts on gender roles in the series are multiple & variant (& often contradictory) & could take up an entire thesis let alone a blog post, so I'll let them be for now.
I think that there might be a difference between feminist texts & texts with Strong Female Characters. Not all feminist texts have strong female characters & not all strong female characters live in feminist texts. Hermione Granger is a Strong Female Character. However, if she were the protagonist of Hermione Granger & the Philosopher's Stone the book, unfortunately, would never have been published. Harry Potter's opinion & treatment of women, however, is not unlike Hermione's. He accepts that women can be as intelligent & adventurous as men (he respects Professor McGonagall as much as he does Professor Dumbledore & trusts & relies on Hermione as much as he does Ron) & also that they can be as powerful & evil (he hesitates no more in fighting Bellatrix than he does Voldemort). Gender roles in the series aside, that's a pretty big feminist step.
So while, yes, we should certainly be angry & disappointed that the popular culture we've grown up with over-sexualises, underestimates & under-represents women & girls, & we should what we can to raise awareness about these inequalities in order to change them, let's also celebrate the small victories, the Strong Female Characters, the Hermione Grangers, Lyra Belacquas & Katniss Everdeens of the world.
I'm writing a book at the moment (at the same time as a PhD thesis, because I'm just that much of a
And, in the same vein, who were your #childhoodfeministheroes? Who are your favourite Strong Female Characters?