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Old April 11th, 2012, 6:02 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
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Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I got the same feeling and wondered why JKR made the battle so segregated when it comes to gender. The only woman on man duel is between Minerva and Voldemort and then she is only one of the fighters the other two being men. I think Rowling worried that having a man defeat Bellatrix would send the wrong the message but we're complaining anyway so... I would have had no problem with Kingsley killing Bella for example and wouldn't have considered that an issue at all. He is an Auror she is a dark witch- it fits. I don't think gender needed to come into play in that context. Also, as I said before it's problematic that Molly is the only woman who makes a powerful contribution to the war. Minerva fighting Voldemort is nice and all but since she doesn't win it can't really count, IMO. Many boys and men contribute to the war but only one woman as far as we know (on the good side that is).
I could definitely see Kingsley being the one to kill Bellatrix; Molly makes no sense in terms of probably skill level in dueling to be the one to defeat her. In terms of story and poetic justice I felt like Neville was jipped in not being the one to defeat the woman who tortured his parents into insanity. I still feel like he was capable of killing her and should have been the one to do it (in that poetic justice, bring his story full circle kind of way) but I do feel like Bellatrix was probably one of the most accomplished duelers Voldemort had on his side and that it might have taken an equally skilled dueler on the "good side" to defeat her. Kingsley, being an auror who was likely trained extensively in dueling, was a very good candidate for being the one to defeat Voldemort.

Molly, on the other hand, was a stay at home mom who probably had no more experience in dueling than what she was taught in her own time at Hogwarts - if she was even taught how to duel at all. Let's face it, she spent 90% of her time doing laundry, making meals and taking care of everyone else but herself. I'm not trying to put stay at home mothers down by saying this, I'm pointing out that Molly was probably less qualified to battle Bellatrix in terms of experience and skill level than Ginny whom she was coming to the rescue of. Ginny, after all, had been personally taught defensive magic by Harry in the DA and had spent the entire previous year making trouble for the Carrows and probably getting into skirmishes with pro-Voldemort students. Molly, in turn, probably spent that previous year doing what she had done for the last 20 years and keeping the Headquarters of the Order in tip-top shape, cooking Order members meals and generally keeping them fueled and ready for battle, a task that really gets no appreciation or recognition but none the less means you have next to no experience fighting people one-on-one.

I don't think there were anymore. I think this says something not just about the DEs as a group but of the wizarding society in general where women seemed more interested in staying at home and raising children. I got the feeling that pureblood families have very traditional values considering the fact that Bellatrix was the only woman in her family to be a DE and one of the very few women in Voldemort's army. I would say all female characters that we meet and that have children are stay at home moms besides Tonks who dies rather quickly after giving birth
I don't think the traditional values are confined to pureblood families, it seems to me like the wizarding world as a whole is extremely conservative. Either you're a mother who stays at home and takes care of the family or you're a career woman with no children, Rita, Bellatrix, Umbridge and McGonagall being the principle examples of this (Interestingly, note that of the four principle examples, only McGonagall is free of ever being a villain character ). To a lesser extent we might include Prof. Sprout, Charity Burbage, Prof. Vector, perhaps Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff, and Madame Bones who is said not to be Susan Bones' mother but her Auntie, all career women who are not said to either have or not have children of their own. Of the mothers we have Lily and Tonks, both Order members who become mothers but whose futures are unclear, Molly, the definitive mother figure of the books, Andromeda and Narcissa, neither of which is said to have a job or not, and Neville's Gran who, if she had job at some point in her life, is probably retired and able to care for Neville as a sort of stay at home grandmother.

Am I missing anyone?

There is nothing either feminist or unfeminist about protecting your child IMO. The issue I have with some of the mothers in HP is that their whole world revolves around their children while for the men it's not really the case. To take Lucius Malfoy as an example, he doesn't have a proper job but he is a DE and has a great influence over the Ministry. Arthur also works outside the home. With Lily, she dies so soon after having Harry that we don't even know what she would have done in the future but JKR doesn't tell us about any of her plans after finishing Hogwarts. Rita Skeeter is childless and so is Umbridge so they don't count. Minerva and some other women work at Hogwarts so they are around children almost all the time anyway.
While I agree with the point you're making I also think that in a biological or evolutionary sense women tend to want to be with and care for their children while men tend to fall into the role of protector and provider. You do get the odd ball stay-at-home-caveman and the occasssional provider-cavewoman. On the whole, though, I think the dynamic we are shown of wizarding family is a reflection of a very traditional culture with very traditional views of the role of men and women being transplanted into a modern world where the men aren't protecting their women and offspring from saber-tooth tigers but are protecting their wives and children from, I don't know, culture corruption or something.

Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
I agree to an extent, but I did feel as the series went on JKR started to redress this a bit - as I've said before, I felt one of the "messages" in GoF was that Barty Crouch Snr spent too much time at the office and that was a major contributor to Barty Jnr going off the rails. Also, in DH I felt Dumbledore was portrayed as making the mistake of his life by putting his "hobbies, jobs and interests" above caring for his sister - something which he spent the rest of his life regretting.
I also kind of feel like James was sort of portrayed as a very idealized father figure, from the very little we see of him. He is said to be getting cabin fever being cooped up in the house all the time but I feel like he was portrayed as a very engaged and involved father (he played with Harry on his toy broom, he blows him bubble from his wand... I think that's all we see, though ) so while he might have been the one bringin' home the bacon I don't see him being protrayed like Barty Sr or Dumbledore who both made big mistakes in how they treated their family or in their level of involvement.

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