Harry Potter and Philosophy Essay Four: Feminism and Equal Opportunity

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Harry Potter and Philosophy Essay Four: Feminism and Equal Opportunity

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marraskuu 5, 2009, 9:25 am

1. "In something of a reversal of the popular stereotype that the male is rational and the female is emotional, Harry and Ron are sometimes masses of emotions, while Hermione is the calm voice of reason." (55)I'd never really thought about it before, but this is so true. The only times I can really remember her getting emotional are in her DADA exam 3rd year and when talking about sending her parents to Australia, where as the boys are often ruled by their emotions (OotP anyone?!) I'm not really sure what this means, but it's an interesting thing to think about.

2. "The character of Hermione plays the important role of underlining and showing Rowling's vision of a world where what is important -regardless of sex- are people, their choices, and their actions." (55) Well, I think we can all agree that equality among sentient creatures is a major theme of the series, I think that it almost minimizes JKR's point by couching it in gender terms, though Hermione's obvious equality with Ron and Harry is a subtle variation of the theme certainly.

3. "Elizabeth Bobrick, a feminist critic of the Potter series, complains that while the narrator describes the male professors as stately and serious, the female professors at Hogwarts are either fussy or ditzy." (57) I have not read Ms Bobrick's work, but I can't help wondering what books she's reading? I mean, I don't think that even DD would be described as stately or serious, let alone any of the other male professors I can think of: Flitwick, Quirrel, Lockhart, Binns, Lupin, Moody, Snape (okay, Snape might be serious, but NOT stately). Who the heck is she talking about?!

marraskuu 5, 2009, 1:41 pm

I don't know what books she is reading but Its not Harry Potter. The only fussy or ditzy female prof is (IMHO) Trelawney.

marraskuu 6, 2009, 8:46 am

I was reading this chapter this morning, and came across the female teacher roles. I can't remember the page, but it spoke about how every female professor or staff was in a typical female teaching role. Herbologist, Care of Magical Creatures (subbing), Nurse, etc...

marraskuu 6, 2009, 10:00 am

Defense Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration (which seems to be the magical equivalent of Physics), Astronomy(Science), Arithmancy(math). Yeah, very "traditionally female" roles.

I can't say that I remember that passage, is it when she's talking about the idiot in 1.3?

marraskuu 6, 2009, 10:42 am

Yes, it was right after that paragraph. It was also pointed out that McG was the only female to stand up to Umbridge. In my mind Hooch isn't that much of a girly girl either.

marraskuu 6, 2009, 12:51 pm

I had never noticed how equal men and women are in HP before this essay. Rowling did a really good job of putting both men and women in leadership roles so that I subconsciously took equality as a given without even realizing it. The only time I remember thinking about genders was in the selection of Triwizard champions.

I suppose Binns could count as stately and serious, but he is also a ghost so...

Kirby, I hadn't thought about that. But then McGonagall is Transfiguration and conversely Flitwick is Charms. I feel like Rowling does have people in "stereotypical roles" because those stereotypes are based on fact at some point. But there are always a lot of non-stereotyped characters so it is balanced.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 6, 2009, 7:58 pm

I disagree that Hermione isn't emotional - she's usually just upset by different things. When she's calming them, it's usually about quidditch or schoolwork, you know, stuff she doesn't have a problem with.

She's a nervous wreck about her grades and punches Malfoy right in the face in a fit of anger. Or how about when she storms out of Trelawney's class? Or her passion for house elf rights? And it's pretty obvious to the reader that she's into Ron, even in the earlier books. She has a breakdown in GoF about the yule ball. And of course, she goes full on freakout when Ron abandons them in DH, but this book was written before that.

It's true that she's often available to the boys as the "voice of reason," but she's just as emotionally volatile as they are.

marraskuu 6, 2009, 10:44 pm

>7 littlegeek: that is a very valid point! i think u are totally right they just have different reasons for being emotional.

and i too had never noticed the gender equality but then when you look for it, its right there in front of you! which is awesome that JKR wrote it like that, there is of course different inequality between magical creatures.

and dude what is Bobkirk reading?! really now that is so not true!

marraskuu 9, 2009, 7:38 pm

As a father of 3 girls, I find the case for assumed equality of the sexes in Harry Potter somewhat overstated in this essay. While I agree with the main thrust, I still see evidence of a "glass' ceiling'. How many of the top positions are filled by women? Headmaster? Minister of Magic? Villain? Hero?
To me the most obvious arena of pure equality was Quidditch, although even here the international stars seem to be male.
In GoF the boys did better in all the events.
So while the wizarding world may be a step ahead of the muggle world on gender issues, it is not there yet.

marraskuu 9, 2009, 8:11 pm

hmmm...good points Mutombu!

marraskuu 9, 2009, 10:34 pm

Good thoughts! At the risk of sounding anti-gender-equality (can I even do that as a female?), I didn't consider males doing better at sporting events and such because that's how it is anyway and why there are separate male/female events in RL. Athletically, the best boys will be better than the best girls. That's not a gender issue so much as just how life works.

But definitely the head positions are male -- MoM, Headmaster, even Voldemort and Harry. Though I never minded that those positions were male. I'm not much of a feminist though.

marraskuu 9, 2009, 11:51 pm

I also agree with lefty

marraskuu 10, 2009, 1:14 am

I agree with Motumbo, it's still male dominated in the the magical world.

marraskuu 10, 2009, 7:43 am

BUT...there have been female Headmistresses....just a point in fact

marraskuu 10, 2009, 8:54 am

True, Polly. Anyone remember any female MoM?

And Rowling did say she would have liked a female hero but Harry was already formed in her imagination.

From a marketing standpoint, it seems that a male main character attracts both male and female readers while a female lead tends to bring a bigger female audience. I have no statistics or anything, but that's what casual observation has led me to believe.

marraskuu 10, 2009, 4:50 pm

i have heard that about marketing...

elokuu 4, 2010, 12:01 am

While the "head positions" were predominantly male, I felt like the powers were handed out pretty equally overall. McGonagall and Hermione were 2 of my favorites, and I hated Dolores Umbridge even more than Voldemort. And don't forget Hedwig's a girl too!