Login  
 
 
Go Back   Chamber of Secrets > Harry Potter > The Stone

Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3



Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #921  
Old June 28th, 2011, 5:29 pm
PeppermintGum  Undisclosed.gif PeppermintGum is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 2582 days
Posts: 20
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post

Very, very interesting. I always had a gut sense that JKR was following in the tradition of misogynistic stereotype with Bellatrix, but it's good to have the benefit of your wide-ranging analysis to confirm it.
When has bella ever been misogynistic? She is not portrayed nor presented as hating women. Your reply was to someone's comment about the common stereotyping of female villians as being sexualized and hating children. The fact is, they don't just hate children. They hate most things that have to do with being "good" and "innocent". Where do you get the implication that women fall into that category? Bella might have killed several women in HP but she's also killed several men.

I also read comments where people think bella is unfeminist and anti-feminist. She might be unfeminist, yes, because she doesn't have nor show qualities typically associated with being feminine, like sensivity and kindness, but some of you are confusing feminism with the feminist movement. None of the characters in HP were written (as far as I know) to be against women's rights. In fact, they all have a neutral position because the feminist movement isn't a theme in HP. If the character's individual characteristics suggest so or suggest otherwise, than fine. But as far as I know, all female characters in the HP series are not anti-feminist. Even if some of them are being glorified for the wrong reasons, like being evil and being a follower, or for "traditional" reasons, like being a housewife, that doesn't mean they are not strong women and that doesn't mean they are anti-feminist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Moony_ View Post
I think there actually is one very important female character. What about Lily ?
Although she is dead, she is kind of omnipresent. By sacrificing herself, she (indirectly) defeated Voldemort and put an end to the war. There is also this protection that she gave Harry, which is quite useful because it is the only shield Voldemort can't break. Without that shield, Harry would have been much easier to kill. In DH, when the protection is gone, things become more difficult.
Besides that, she is the main reason for Severus' actions, which are important in DH. Everything Snape does is of course important for the magic society in general, but the reason why he is supporting the good side is Lily.
I don't want to say that all the books are feminist because of that, but imo they don't have to be feminist anyway, as long as there are significant female characters. I think there is a good balance between important male and females. Besides, I don't think Hermione is a stereotype character. She is not only smart and "useful", she is also brave and loyal. She is not just a bookworm who knows important information, but is useful in action. To me she is definitely a main character, not stereotype, and not less important than Ron or Harry. Ron and Harry would be totally lost without her.

Edit: RavenStar83: corrected it, thanks. I was thinking the wrong way. I wanted to say "she is not just a bookworm, who is useless in action."
I agree with this. Lily is very important to HP, probably more important than any other female character in the series for the reasons you stated. I think the fact that she's dead and isn't really mentioned in the HP books (or mentioned very little) has more of an impact on readers (and viewers) than what she actually did to help Harry and the storyline. You don't get that direct view or contact with her character, so even though she's omnipresent, she doesn't seem to be of much significance to the story like other characters (Dumbledore, Snape, etc.).

As someone else stated, lily was foremost a motivator for the characters in the story who just happened to be men. We didn't get any insight into her life as she was always put on hold for James, Snape and other characters who have connections to her but ultimately had some other agenda that usually involved Harry. Not to mention, Harry's relationship with his parents is mostly centered on James. I have to disagree with those who say JKR did a good job of representing men and women as equals. On a large scale, have you noticed that alot of the female characters are basically sidekicks? Dumbledore/Mcgonagal (misspelled, I know), Voldy/Bella, Harry/Hermione, James/Lily, Lucius/Narcissa, Weasly boys/Ginny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bellatrix93 View Post
Ok, I'm new to this thread. So please be patient with me .



I don't mind the numbers, really. I look more at the role a certain character has played.
For instance, we have Hermione with Ron and Harry (1:2). This might seem unfair. But if you weigh what the three of them do in certain situation you'd find that in most incidents Hermione plays a more important role than Harry and Ron together. The flight from Lovegood's place, comes to mind. Hermione comes up with the plan. Puts it into action all by herself. Even considers what would happen if the death eaters saw Ron. Examples of that are countless in the books. Especially in DH.
I agree that the ratio of men to women is unfair. But like you said, sometimes you have to look at the role of the character, not the number. Hermione is portrayed as being reasonable, logical, level headed and knowledgable compared to Ron and Harry. She does all the research and comes up with most of the plans that the trio carry out throughout the series. Of course Harry is the one who has more to do with the plan, and carrying out the plan, than all of them, but Harry definetly would not have made it to the end of the series without Hermione and various other people who have helped him.


Also, I agree with this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
For me, part of the problem is that many writers and readers see male characters as "universal" and "genderless", but female characters as first and foremost female, whatever their other roles in the story. Thus a book in which the main characters are all (or mostly) men often isn't deemed biased or odd, but a book in which the main characters are all (or mostly) female is often denounced as biased, unrealistic or propaganda which is trying to labour a heavy-handed ideological point, or dismissed all together as chicklit which isn't worth men's time reading.

So it does bother me that Dumbledore, Voldemort, Harry and Snape are all male, even if they're not he-men, even if their masculinity isn't a big part of the story and they are to all extents and purposes genderless.

I'd be quite happy to buy the "They just happen to be men, but really their sex is irrelevant to the story and the book's not making any comment on gender" argument if we lived in a world where you just as often got books (aimed at both genders) where the majority of the "genderless" characters just happened to be female. But we don't, so I think any book where the male:female ratio of central characters is as marked as it is in HP is contributing to the attitude that men are more important and more central than women, even if that wasn't the author's intention.

And here's some of my own thoughts about feminism:

I also wanna say that women are always being forced to identify with traditionalism, and "feminism", in every meaning, has become sort of a replacement for it. Saying things like "it's anti-feminist to do this/that" is just another way for people to separate themselves from one another, similar to racism, anti-gay and so many other prejudices. Similarly, people are also trying to deminize anti-feminism wherein those who are percieved to be anti-feminists are scrutinized in every way possible; whether they are or are not anti-feminists (whatever the meaning of anti-feminism may be), that doesn't mean they are not strong women. If men can be genderless, encompassing the entire human race, why can't women? Similarly, why can't women be percieved as being universally strong just like men? Why does it have to come down to whether one is feminist or anti-feminist? Whether one fits the traditional mold of womanhood and whether one lives by her own standards? Also, what gives anyone the right to decide what womanhood is? Everybody has their own unique perspective of life, but women ultimately have to make the decision of how they want to live their life, and how to identify with their own womanhood. And it doesn't help that everyone's place in the world is already predetermined. If you're born a man, you're already gauranteed a successful career and a fulfilling life. If you're born a woman, you're gauranteed a neverending struggle for equality.



Last edited by PeppermintGum; June 28th, 2011 at 6:50 pm.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #922  
Old July 7th, 2011, 6:06 am
ManglePuppets  Female.gif ManglePuppets is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 2572 days
Location: Slytherin Dungeons
Posts: 46
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

What's the point of this exactly? I have never seen any indication that Harry Potter the series had feminism--or that it needed it. Yes, I found most of the female characters annoying, but honestly? Harry Potter was in fact written by a woman. Hermione, though naggy and at times insufferable, was arguably one of the strongest magic users of the generation.

I always did view however, that the wizarding world was a bit behind the muggle world--as indicated by how they seemed to dress very formally in a victorian-medieval style. However, woman are allowed to attend school, vote, take on job positions the same as a man would and marry who they chose. The only time this stops is when the law against Muggle-borns take affect in the seventh book, and that effects both women and men. Never in the series has there been an issue raised. I find one of the the strongest characters in the book to actually be McGonagall, who is always a pillar of strength and courage, no matter how dire the circumstance. She is a proud, respectable woman who fights for what she believes, and has the strength to back it up.

Why should the women in the series be singled out? Aren't you, in doing so, creating the barriers themselves that make us different? If someone were to make a thread about how the men are treated unfairly, would anyone make a stink about it? No. My biggest problem with the series wasn't the female characters, it was the horrible way she portrayed the boys. Harry Potter is not a normal teenage boy. he doesn't seem to even be remotely attracted to the female species until he is fourteen--that is not normal. He comes form an abusive home, has no real confidence issues. Case in point: he is eleven and he is given an invisibility cloak. A normal boy's reaction? "Whoo! Girl's locker room, here I come!" but this NEVER crosses perfect Harry Potter's mind. Ron is little better, but as Harry comes from the abusive background, there are a lot of things that are absent that should have been incorporated.

So in my mind, the problem isn't the way the women are portrayed, but the men. Most of them wind up dying or are bullies or are gay (or all three in some cases). When do we see that in the women? Pansy? Bellatrix? That's two, and they both deserve what they got in the end. She seems to favor certain characters over others, but that is a matter of favoritism, which I feel does not have anything to do with feminism, or whatnot.


__________________
The Dracon Triad
Reply With Quote
  #923  
Old July 7th, 2011, 12:50 pm
GryffSolider  Female.gif GryffSolider is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4767 days
Location: Dumbledore's Office
Age: 35
Posts: 283
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

I can honestly say that I never saw anything overtly chauvinist in the entire series.

And it seems to me that the Magical World of HP is a great place to be a woman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ManglePuppets View Post

I always did view however, that the wizarding world was a bit behind the muggle world--as indicated by how they seemed to dress very formally in a victorian-medieval style.
Disagree, thought HP world ahead of ours in women's right AKA they did not need legislation to tell the magical world to treat women fairly.


__________________


Hufflepuff: We kill you with smiles and rainbows.
The Pottermore Battalion -- Unicorn Army Corp.

Pottermore Sigs Here

Last edited by GryffSolider; July 7th, 2011 at 12:54 pm.
Reply With Quote
  #924  
Old July 7th, 2011, 11:36 pm
ManglePuppets  Female.gif ManglePuppets is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 2572 days
Location: Slytherin Dungeons
Posts: 46
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by GryffSolider View Post
Disagree, thought HP world ahead of ours in women's right AKA they did not need legislation to tell the magical world to treat women fairly.
That is, in essence what I was trying to say. I only was pointing out the style of dress could maybe be the factor someone might point out as feminist or chauvinistic.


__________________
The Dracon Triad
Reply With Quote
  #925  
Old July 8th, 2011, 7:19 am
Moriath's Avatar
Moriath  Female.gif Moriath is offline
MODLY CREW
 
Joined: 4792 days
Location: Neverwhere
Posts: 7,036
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by ManglePuppets View Post
Why should the women in the series be singled out? Aren't you, in doing so, creating the barriers themselves that make us different? If someone were to make a thread about how the men are treated unfairly, would anyone make a stink about it?
I would suggest doing a forum search before accusing posters of this thread and indeed this board to be exclusive, rather than inclusive: Masculinity in Harry Potter. You're welcome to post your theories on male characters and the concept of masculinity over there. This thread, however, is for feminism in Deathly Hallows. Discussing this issue here does not mean that other aspects are less important, only that it is the topic of this thread.


Reply With Quote
  #926  
Old April 5th, 2012, 9:16 am
Sereena's Avatar
Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 2344 days
Age: 32
Posts: 599
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

I know this thread is rather old but the subject is interesting so I hope it's okay if I post anyway. I'm sure many of my points have already been discussed by others as I haven't read the whole thread. Keep in mind that this is subjective of course and reflects my understanding of feminism.

I’ll just discuss each female character briefly:
Hermione- not a lot to complain about from a feminist standpoint in this case. She obviously has many strengths. The one issue I have with her and which I also posted in her character analysis thread is that I do find her slightly less developed than the other members of the Trio and I think that the author sometimes prioritized developing Ron and Harry instead of her.
Minerva M- she is a good role model but unfortunately does not get too much development in the books. I also thought she was overshadowed by the male fighters in the battle of Hogwarts though she does get some points for fighting Voldemort. I do see her as rather stereotypical and strangely underdeveloped considering her being in the series from the beginning.
Umbridge- the anti-McGonagall. I find it refreshing that she has no love interest since almost all women seem to have one. On the other hand, I thought she was described as more cruel than actually competent and good at something and her character gets very few positive qualities. The fandom reaction to her I also find problematic since I think she gets more hatred than other female baddies simply because she is described as less pretty.
Molly- I see her as rather powerless to be honest. She attempts to control the men in her life in order to get what she wants like encouraging Arthur to take a higher position at the Ministry so he could fix the family economy, which Molly obviously finds a problem. However, her attempts hardly ever work and both her children and her husband ignore her while she worries and gets upset. I do find her sort of interesting since I think she isn’t exactly entirely content with her role as a home maker. I feel a kind of frustration coming from her which makes her more rounded, IMO.
Ginny- I agree with some of the others in this thread that this character is rather problematic from a feminist perspective. I don’t have a problem with what she does but I think she considers herself to be inferior to Harry and that’s probably where her passivity in this regard also comes from. I would have liked her to be a bit more like Lavender who while appears as rather silly still has the courage to pursue her guy and cannot be accused of being a trophy. But anyway, this is just my opinion.
Luna- No problems here, IMO. Her character comes across as rather redundant sometimes like JKR can’t find her proper role in the story but she is a breath of fresh air and sticks to her beliefs.
Tonks- I love Tonks and I was disappointed with the role she ultimately had in the series. Her losing her powers because of Lupin’s rejection has received a lot of criticism and I cannot but agree. It’s okay to be depressed but to actually have your special powers depending on whether a man loves you or not is hardly feminist, IMO. Snape doesn’t lose his powers for example.
Bellatrix- Her I don’t really get which I suppose makes her interesting. I would have to agree that accusing her of being more submissive than the other DEs is rather unfounded IMO. They were all terribly afraid of and desiring to please LV. She is also probably the only DE who considers herself to be Voldemort’s equal (besides Crouch Jr) so she scores some points for that. However, in the end regardless of her motivations and beliefs the only thing Rowling thought worthy of emphasizing about her is her love life and the relationships she had or didn’t have, which is evident in her face off with Molly. This I find deplorable from a feminist standpoint as the male fighters’ personal life is never an issue and as Bellatrix has committed much greater crimes than lusting for Voldy.
Narcissa- not very interesting to me I’m afraid though brave and somewhat worthy of admiration. Is there more to her than her son and husband? Does she have any dreams or desires apart from keeping them safe? The reader doesn’t know…
Lily- her personality is okay but in terms of plot importance her roles are to motivate the men to do good and to sacrifice herself for Harry. I would also like to point out that even her sacrifice which is considered to make her character feminist, is “set up” by two men- Voldemort and Snape. Her choices are limited by the choices given to her by Voldemort which in turn is a result of Snape’s request (I believe, though there have been some arguments here). I also find her rather passive. The protection she put on Harry was involuntary and she didn’t actively fight for her and his life in any way.

Overall, I think it’s a problem that while romance is only a part of the men’s lives for the women it’s the be all and end all. Male characters don’t depend on women to the same amount women depend on them. Many female characters are “victims” of unrequited love and even those who eventually get their guy end up in what I find to be unequal relationships. The relationship becomes their whole life and defines their character while for man it is simply a side dish. I was annoyed with Rowling’s comment about how Lily could have loved Snape if he hadn’t dabbled so much into the DA. I have nothing against Snape but it seems to me as though the men are considered to always get the girl unless they do something wrong. How about a woman simply not being interested in a man even if he is a good guy? Why can’t male characters be rejected as well? All prominent male characters have a woman interested in them even loveless Voldemort. I don’t want to come across as though I consider love a weakness but I don’t think having women be, not only defined by romance, but also suffering from unrequited love to a larger extent than the men is very feminist.

Sorry for the long post


Reply With Quote
  #927  
Old April 5th, 2012, 3:30 pm
arithmancer's Avatar
arithmancer  Undisclosed.gif arithmancer is offline
Assistant to Professor Snape
 
Joined: 4739 days
Location: The Hogwarts Boathouse
Posts: 7,937
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Minerva M- she is a good role model but unfortunately does not get too much development in the books. I also thought she was overshadowed by the male fighters in the battle of Hogwarts though she does get some points for fighting Voldemort.
I strongly disagree, I think Minerva comes into her own in the final battle, and this is one of the stronger feminist statements in the books (even though I disagree with some of her decisions in these chapters). She is not overshadowed by the male fighters - she is the leader of the fight. She makes the decision that the school will make a stand, and she issues orders to make everyone ready. Also I personally found the spells she used (multiple Patronuses, the enchanted armors and desks) among the more impressive bits of magic seen in the battle.

Quote:
Umbridge- The fandom reaction to her I also find problematic since I think she gets more hatred than other female baddies simply because she is described as less pretty.
I think it is her hypocrisy and cruelty that make her so hated. Bellatrix is cruel too, of course, but she it up front about it.

Quote:
Ginny I would have liked her to be a bit more like Lavender who while appears as rather silly still has the courage to pursue her guy and cannot be accused of being a trophy. But anyway, this is just my opinion.
On the other hand, Ginny is the one female character we see dating more than one guy, and breaking up with guys when she decides it is not working for her.

Quote:
Tonks It’s okay to be depressed but to actually have your special powers depending on whether a man loves you or not is hardly feminist, IMO.
Yes, it would have been nice to see a male example of this to balance Merope and Tonks.

Quote:
BellatrixThis I find deplorable from a feminist standpoint as the male fighters’ personal life is never an issue and as Bellatrix has committed much greater crimes than lusting for Voldy.
I don't see Bellatrix as being punished for her Voldy-love. It seemed to me that the obvious message there was a contrast of Molly (who loves and defends children) and Bella (who...doesn't. We see her in OotP eager to torture Neville, and we hear her in HBP state she would five up her sons to Voldemort). Whether this is more or less problematic is another question.

Quote:
Narcissa- not very interesting to me I’m afraid though brave and somewhat worthy of admiration. Is there more to her than her son and husband? Does she have any dreams or desires apart from keeping them safe? The reader doesn’t know…
I do not find her dreams and desires relevant, much. She is a character whose presence in the books pleases me nonetheless. I thought the point of her was that she is thoroughly the wealthy, pampered trophy wife and fond mother, who may even have no ambitions beyond that. But that this makes her neither weak nor powerless nor uninteresting. When her family gets into difficulties, she has the strength and resources to do something about it, and in the end her actions affect not only the survival of her family unit, but the fate of her society. To me, feminism is not just the idea that women can break out of stereotypes and do anything men can do; it also involves the recognition that women who don't, who choose family and home exclusively, also matter, can also be strong, and can also influence events.


Quote:
Overall, I think it’s a problem that while romance is only a part of the men’s lives for the women it’s the be all and end all.
The major character exception to this is Hermione. Hermione loves Ron. However, in DH she is forced to choose between her love for Ron, and her loyalty to Harry and the anti-Voldemort cause they are trying to advance together. She chooses Harry/the cause. And this does not (fortunately for Harry) cause her to lose her powers. She does wind up in the end married to Ron as she wanted, but on her own terms. Ron comes back, and she chooses to forgive him.

Among more minor characters, as you yourself point out, there is no romance known to us in the lives of either Umbridge or McGonagall. Both are career women who may or may not also have families and love lives off-page.

Quote:
Male characters don’t depend on women to the same amount women depend on them.
Two major male characters are shown to be "victims" of love - Dumbledore, and Snape. (Dumbledore's love interest was of course male, but I don't think this takes away that Dumbledore had love-related problems in his life.) These characters are not shown to lose their powers; however, neither has what one might consider a "usual" or "happy" life. Dumbledore has no partners, that we know of, and is quite isolated emotionally. Ditto Snape, though being a spy tends to do that regardless of romantic problems.

Quote:
How about a woman simply not being interested in a man even if he is a good guy? Why can’t male characters be rejected as well?
Snape was. I think Rowling's point was not about men and women, but about Lily and Snape. She did find him interesting, interesting enough to remain his best friend for several years.

Quote:
All prominent male characters have a woman interested in them even loveless Voldemort.
I would argue that Dumbledore and Snape are prominent male characters...


__________________
The Sorting Hat says I belong in Slytherin.



“Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion.”-D. H. Lawrence

All was well.


Avatar by nerwende, signature art by sigune, used with permission.
Reply With Quote
  #928  
Old April 5th, 2012, 4:51 pm
StarryVeil  Female.gif StarryVeil is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 2326 days
Location: Godric's Hollow
Age: 24
Posts: 168
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

IMO, the HP series oscillates a lot between presenting gender equality in a way not even present in the real world (i.e unisex sports) and reverting to more traditional gender roles. I think this is why there is so much debate on the topic of feminism in HP. I'll look at both sides of the argument.

The Argument that HP Downplays Females and Feminism in General:

1) The ratio of male characters to female characters is skewed. The Trio is made of two boys and one girl. The Triwizard champions are three boys and one girl. However, one can argue that Hermione was given skill and intelligence enough for two witches and that, her almost-perfect character is also a sign of JKR's favoritism toward her own sex. As for how Fleur was, firstly the only girl champion and, secondly, the most easily defeated... I agree that it was rather anti-feminist of JKR, IMO.

2) This is a small observation but, IMO, it reveals the writer's (un)feminist psychology. The way names are listed in the HP series - males first, then females. It's "Harry, Ron and Hermione" and "James, Sirius, Lupin and Lily". Instead of placing Lily's name next to James's, she is listed last, after all the men - despite being Harry's own mother. I am not judging JKR here - I suspect even I have have an unintentional tendency to do the same. Just making an observation.

3) One argument I hear a lot in regard to HP's supposed anti-feminism is in reference to the Patronuses of the two Marauder wives ( Marauder wives) - Lily and Tonks. It is seen by some as unfeminist (is that even a word?) that Lily's and Tonk's Patronuses conformed to the animal shapes of their respective male counterparts. My opinion on this is different. I don't find it offending to women that Lily's Patronus became a doe to match James's stag (this is based on my opinion that Jame's stag came first since he became an Animagus at fifteen, before either or them could have been practicing Patronus charms) or that Tonk's Patronus became a wolf to represent the then-unrelenting Remus.

In Lily's case, this is because her Patronus becoming a doe doesn't just mean that she loves him - it also shows that he loves her back. It is mutual. If it had only been one-sided, her Patronus would have been a stag to represent James himself. The symbolism taken was stag-and-doe simply because, IMO, one of them already had a representative animal from before (James's stag Animagus) and, therefore, there was no point in finding another pair of animals.

In Tonk's case, yes, at the point when we see her Patronus it is representative of Remus himself, and not his counterpart. However, I don't think this should be taken as being anti-feminist, simply because we see Snape in the same situation with Lily's doe and for a longer period of time.

4) All the exceptionally powerful wizards and/or the leaders, are males. DD, Voldemort, Grindelwald, Cornelius Fudge, Scrimgeour. Yes, there are strong women too like McGonagall and Bellatrix but they were not leaders of any movement or organization. They were followers. The only female I can recall in HP who was the leader of a group was the Merchieftainess in GoF (a very minor character). I would have liked to have seen a prominent woman character as the leader of some organization or cause or something (and Hermione starting SPEW does not count).

The Argument that JKR Places (Sometimes Unfair) Importance on Females and their Roles:

1) The strong, rather unjust IMO, emphasis on motherhood (over fatherhood). We see that both times, Voldemort meets his downfall because of a mother's love for her child. The first time because of Lily's sacrifice for Harry, and the second time because of Narcissa's lie for Draco's sake. Lucius is shown to try to protect his son, but he is not successful. James gives his life for Lily and Harry's sake, but his sacrifice is barely given a glance because it did not bestow a magical protection on Harry - that was the mother's job. When Harry's got to learn a lesson about idolizing people, it has to be through his father's bad actions as a youth; his mother remains the angelic martyr throughout. Molly is the one who, in a fit of maternal rage, slays Bellatrix. In the Resurrection Stone scene, Lily's smile is "widest of them all". All these small things put together create, IMO, a rather glorified image of mothers and their love for their children, which I think is unfair toward the fathers who, I'm sure, love their kids just as much.

2) IMO, the magical world itself doesn't seem to view women as "lesser" than men. The founders of Hogwarts are two men and two women (although, yes, it can be argued that the two most prominent founders, plotwise, are the men). Quidditch is a unisex sport and JKR seems to show her approval of gender equailty by portraying the "bad" team (ie. Slytherin team) as an all-male one and the "good" teams (ie. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw) as ones comprised of both males and females. Nothing against Slytherin, guys, but their Quidditch team seems to be a definite negative element to me. Professionally, there doesn't seem to be much of a glass ceiling for women either. We see women like McGonagall, Umbridge, Amelia Bones, future Hermione, Alice Longbottom, and the various headmistresses of Hogwarts in prestigious positions.

On the whole, I would say the HP series is not an overtly feminist story, but there are certain elements in it which suggest that the author doesn't mind a bit of female-glorification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
To me, feminism is not just the idea that women can break out of stereotypes and do anything men can do; it also involves the recognition that women who don't, who choose family and home exclusively, also matter, can also be strong, and can also influence events.
Well said! I agree.


__________________

Picture by LaurelSKY from http://laurelsky.deviantart.com/art/...tter-170927604

"Its hooves made no mark on the soft ground as it stared at Harry with its large, silver eyes. Slowly, it bowed its antlered head. And Harry realized..."Prongs..."
- Hermione's Secret, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Last edited by StarryVeil; April 5th, 2012 at 4:56 pm.
Reply With Quote
  #929  
Old April 5th, 2012, 10:06 pm
Sereena's Avatar
Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 2344 days
Age: 32
Posts: 599
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post

I don't see Bellatrix as being punished for her Voldy-love. It seemed to me that the obvious message there was a contrast of Molly (who loves and defends children) and Bella (who...doesn't. We see her in OotP eager to torture Neville, and we hear her in HBP state she would five up her sons to Voldemort). Whether this is more or less problematic is another question.
I think it is immensely problematic. Bellatrix isn't the only DE who hurts children but this characteristic is emphasized with her because she is a woman. It shouldn't be relevant IMO, since it isn't relevant when it comes to the male DEs. I also don't think that the comparison to Molly works because they have absolutely nothing in common and thus cannot be parallels to one another. And even if they did, there is nothing more unfeminist than comparing women to each other and praising one type of femininity over another. It saddens me that we still do this in the 21th century and that it has been done in a popular book series.

Quote:
The major character exception to this is Hermione.
I agree and I think Hermione is the exception to pretty much everything in the books probably because she is Rowling's avatar.
Quote:
Two major male characters are shown to be "victims" of love - Dumbledore, and Snape. (Dumbledore's love interest was of course male, but I don't think this takes away that Dumbledore had love-related problems in his life.) These characters are not shown to lose their powers; however, neither has what one might consider a "usual" or "happy" life. Dumbledore has no partners, that we know of, and is quite isolated emotionally. Ditto Snape, though being a spy tends to do that regardless of romantic problems
In Dumbledore's case though the romance is subtle if not unexistant. The only thing we can know for certain from reading the books alone is that he and Grindelwald were friends. As for Snape, I have already said what I think about this. He is unloved in the books for sure but according to Rowling's interview the only reason Lily rejected him was because he was into the dark arts. I resent the idea that a woman cannot reject a man simply because she doesn't like him even if he does everything right and is a good guy. This is further underlined by the disproportionate amount of men who suffer from unrequited love in the books as opposed to women.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil
The strong, rather unjust IMO, emphasis on motherhood (over fatherhood). We see that both times, Voldemort meets his downfall because of a mother's love for her child. The first time because of Lily's sacrifice for Harry, and the second time because of Narcissa's lie for Draco's sake. Lucius is shown to try to protect his son, but he is not successful. James gives his life for Lily and Harry's sake, but his sacrifice is barely given a glance because it did not bestow a magical protection on Harry - that was the mother's job. When Harry's got to learn a lesson about idolizing people, it has to be through his father's bad actions as a youth; his mother remains the angelic martyr throughout. Molly is the one who, in a fit of maternal rage, slays Bellatrix. In the Resurrection Stone scene, Lily's smile is "widest of them all". All these small things put together create, IMO, a rather glorified image of mothers and their love for their children, which I think is unfair toward the fathers who, I'm sure, love their kids just as much.
Definitely. It is also problematic for the women because motherhood gets glorified over all other life choices and while it's okay for men to not want children or be paternal, women who aren't maternal get villified.


Reply With Quote
  #930  
Old April 6th, 2012, 12:01 am
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
Seventh Year
 
Joined: 2489 days
Location: The pirate ship Revenge
Age: 33
Posts: 1,853
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Hoo, boy. Feminism and me don't often play well together but I'll try to respond as best I can to some of the points here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil View Post
The Argument that HP Downplays Females and Feminism in General:

1) The ratio of male characters to female characters is skewed. The Trio is made of two boys and one girl. The Triwizard champions are three boys and one girl.
I saw JKR's inclusion of a female triwizard champion as a pro-feminism statement rather than one that plays down feminism - she could have gone whole hog and made all the champions male but then she wouldn't have been setting the example that girls can do all the same things boys can do and she would have been criticized for leaving girls out.

As for Fluer being the most easily defeated champion I am of two minds about that. Her character was the least important in terms of plot (Cedric had to make it to the end with Harry so he could be killed and Viktor was 'dating' Hermione at the time which upgraded his status) but at the same time it's not a ringing endorsement for girls doing well in the tournament.

Quote:
2) This is a small observation but, IMO, it reveals the writer's (un)feminist psychology. The way names are listed in the HP series - males first, then females. It's "Harry, Ron and Hermione" and "James, Sirius, Lupin and Lily". Instead of placing Lily's name next to James's, she is listed last, after all the men - despite being Harry's own mother. I am not judging JKR here - I suspect even I have have an unintentional tendency to do the same. Just making an observation.
An interesting observation and perhaps more of a hold-over from our own patriarchal society than a statement on feminism in the HP series.

Quote:
3) One argument I hear a lot in regard to HP's supposed anti-feminism is in reference to the Patronuses of the two Marauder wives ( Marauder wives) - Lily and Tonks. It is seen by some as unfeminist (is that even a word?) that Lily's and Tonk's Patronuses conformed to the animal shapes of their respective male counterparts. My opinion on this is different. I don't find it offending to women that Lily's Patronus became a doe to match James's stag (this is based on my opinion that Jame's stag came first since he became an Animagus at fifteen, before either or them could have been practicing Patronus charms) or that Tonk's Patronus became a wolf to represent the then-unrelenting Remus.
I do admit that the patronus thing bothers me a lot. Not so much that it's because only women are shown to have patronuses that "match" their husbands' existing patronuses but because I think that it patronuses change to represent the love of a couple I think both patronuses should change.

Tonks' patronus doesn't bother me, though. But Snape's patronus matching Lily's patronus bothers me. It's a mystery.

Quote:
In Lily's case, this is because her Patronus becoming a doe doesn't just mean that she loves him - it also shows that he loves her back. It is mutual. If it had only been one-sided, her Patronus would have been a stag to represent James himself. The symbolism taken was stag-and-doe simply because, IMO, one of them already had a representative animal from before (James's stag Animagus) and, therefore, there was no point in finding another pair of animals.
But why does James' patronus have to be the same as his animagus form? In terms of story it was probably to simplify the animal associations with characters but it still bothers me.

Quote:
4) All the exceptionally powerful wizards and/or the leaders, are males. DD, Voldemort, Grindelwald, Cornelius Fudge, Scrimgeour. Yes, there are strong women too like McGonagall and Bellatrix but they were not leaders of any movement or organization. They were followers. The only female I can recall in HP who was the leader of a group was the Merchieftainess in GoF (a very minor character). I would have liked to have seen a prominent woman character as the leader of some organization or cause or something (and Hermione starting SPEW does not count).
This is the one I have the least problem with because I feel, often times, that when a prominent woman-figure is introduced in a position such as Minister for Magic or something I feel like feminism is being shoved down my throat - "accept it or you're a bad person!"

Quote:
The Argument that JKR Places (Sometimes Unfair) Importance on Females and their Roles:

2) IMO, the magical world itself doesn't seem to view women as "lesser" than men. The founders of Hogwarts are two men and two women (although, yes, it can be argued that the two most prominent founders, plotwise, are the men).
This I have issue with simply because it doesn't fall in with gender roles of the middle ages when the founders of Hogwarts were... founding Hogwarts. It wouldn't have been antifeminist to me to have four male founders, it would have been consistent with history and I feel like having two male founders and two female founds is one of those instances where gender equality is being shoved down my throat.

Quote:
Quidditch is a unisex sport and JKR seems to show her approval of gender equailty by portraying the "bad" team (ie. Slytherin team) as an all-male one and the "good" teams (ie. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw) as ones comprised of both males and females. Nothing against Slytherin, guys, but their Quidditch team seems to be a definite negative element to me.
I am of two minds about this. On the one hand I feel like it's too heavy handed for the "good teams" to be the ones with the girls on them and the "bad teams" to be the one with all boys but at the same time I don't know if Hogwarts could have supported two gender-exclusive quidditch teams per house - one boys teams, one girls team - given the various debate about the population of the school, anywhere from 350 students (where a co-ed team is basically the only way to do it) to 1000+ (which might have been capable of furnishing 8 teams of players)

With all that being said, though, there's nothing about quiddtich that really necessitates separating the genders. It's not a game about physical strength or unassisted speed in which the boys would have an advantage over the girls. At times, stength and weight is an asset, at other times, slightness and agility are an asset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I think it is immensely problematic. Bellatrix isn't the only DE who hurts children but this characteristic is emphasized with her because she is a woman. It shouldn't be relevant IMO, since it isn't relevant when it comes to the male DEs.
I think at least part of Bellatrix's characterization as a child-hating woman comes from the fact that she is the most brutal, most extreme death eater we are presented with. I didn't really feel like she was shown as the only death eater unfairly targeting children, isn't Greyback said to try and bite and infect as many children as he can when he's a werewolf?

Quote:
I also don't think that the comparison to Molly works because they have absolutely nothing in common and thus cannot be parallels to one another. And even if they did, there is nothing more unfeminist than comparing women to each other and praising one type of femininity over another. It saddens me that we still do this in the 21th century and that it has been done in a popular book series.
While I agree that it's a bit unfair to compare Bellatrix and Molly and I don't think it's entirely unfair as they are the two most prominent women on the opposing sides of the battle - one is a member of the Order, one is a Death Eater, one is a mother, one is... never said to be a mother or not. One is a stay-at-home mom, one is a, for lack of a better phrase, career-driven go-getter I do agree that it's completely unfair to compare which brand of feminism is better than the other (the stay-at-home-mom or the career woman) but at the same time McGonagall is a bit of a career woman and she's presented in a positive light.

Quote:
I resent the idea that a woman cannot reject a man simply because she doesn't like him even if he does everything right and is a good guy.
Amen.

Quote:
This is further underlined by the disproportionate amount of men who suffer from unrequited love in the books as opposed to women.
I'm not sure I agree with this simply based on the fact that the proportion of significant male characters to significant female characters is also skewed so it follows that we would know more of the male characters' troubles in love.

Quote:
Definitely. It is also problematic for the women because motherhood gets glorified over all other life choices and while it's okay for men to not want children or be paternal, women who aren't maternal get villified.
Another real life amen!


__________________
"I could have been in politics 'cause I've always been a big spender."
Reply With Quote
  #931  
Old April 6th, 2012, 1:10 am
arithmancer's Avatar
arithmancer  Undisclosed.gif arithmancer is offline
Assistant to Professor Snape
 
Joined: 4739 days
Location: The Hogwarts Boathouse
Posts: 7,937
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
This I have issue with simply because it doesn't fall in with gender roles of the middle ages when the founders of Hogwarts were... founding Hogwarts.
But possibly, wizards were somewhat different in this regard. Magic is a great equalizer, and I think it is suggested by the series that women are not deficient in magical power and ability compared to men.


Quote:
While I agree that it's a bit unfair to compare Bellatrix and Molly and I don't think it's entirely unfair as they are the two most prominent women on the opposing sides of the battle - one is a member of the Order, one is a Death Eater, one is a mother, one is... never said to be a mother or not.
I took her statements to her sister in HBP to mean that she is not a mother. She was speaking hypothetically of a hypothetical son; and I don;t think she would if she had a daughter. (If she did, I thingk Narcissa might mention it!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I agree and I think Hermione is the exception to pretty much everything in the books probably because she is Rowling's avatar.
My point really, is that there is only one female main character, and she is an exceptoin to a supposed pattern. There are two other secondary examples that are exceptions. So I don't think it is fair to say there is a pattern at all.

Quote:
The only thing we can know for certain from reading the books alone is that he and Grindelwald were friends.
Some readers found this obvious before Rowling revealed her ideas about his sexual orientation.

Quote:
He is unloved in the books for sure but according to Rowling's interview the only reason Lily rejected him was because he was into the dark arts. I resent the idea that a woman cannot reject a man simply because she doesn't like him even if he does everything right and is a good guy.
I don't think Rowling is saying that she would have had to like him because he is good. It is that she DID like him, enough for her feelings to become romantic love in time, except that she could not overlook his failings.


__________________
The Sorting Hat says I belong in Slytherin.



“Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion.”-D. H. Lawrence

All was well.


Avatar by nerwende, signature art by sigune, used with permission.
Reply With Quote
  #932  
Old April 6th, 2012, 4:15 am
StarryVeil  Female.gif StarryVeil is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 2326 days
Location: Godric's Hollow
Age: 24
Posts: 168
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Tonks- I love Tonks and I was disappointed with the role she ultimately had in the series. Her losing her powers because of Lupin’s rejection has received a lot of criticism and I cannot but agree. It’s okay to be depressed but to actually have your special powers depending on whether a man loves you or not is hardly feminist, IMO. Snape doesn’t lose his powers for example.
I absolutely agree. Tonks’s change in Patronus to represent her unrequited love serves as a parallel to Snape’s change in Patronus for the same reason. And yet, Snape is shown to be as competent of a wizard as ever whereas Tonks just…wilts. One could, perhaps, argue that Snape had had a longer time to come to terms with his rejection but the mere fact that his Patronus represents Lily even seventeen years after her death tells me that he has not gotten over her. Therefore, if Snape can retain his powers, so should Tonks.

Quote:
Overall, I think it’s a problem that while romance is only a part of the men’s lives for the women it’s the be all and end all.
Romance was pretty much the be all and end all for Snape. His whole life was dedicated to making sure the woman he loved didn’t die in vain. Romance didn’t seem to be what Hermione’s life revolved around. In DH, she is shown to choose friendship and loyalty over her love. McGonagall chose magic over love (though, I’m a little ambiguous about that decision of hers).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I think it is immensely problematic. Bellatrix isn't the only DE who hurts children but this characteristic is emphasized with her because she is a woman. It shouldn't be relevant IMO, since it isn't relevant when it comes to the male DEs. I also don't think that the comparison to Molly works because they have absolutely nothing in common and thus cannot be parallels to one another. And even if they did, there is nothing more unfeminist than comparing women to each other and praising one type of femininity over another. It saddens me that we still do this in the 21th century and that it has been done in a popular book series.
I don't think JKR was trying to pit one type of femininity over another. She was just trying to pit maternal love over love for the...well, dark stuff. Bellatrix was just a person who was attracted to the Dark Side, IMO. This was the moment when JKR wanted to reveal the power of Molly's maternal love, so she made her duel Voldemort's chief lieutenant, Bellatrix. Which, of course, brings up the whole motherhood-over-fatherhood thing I mentioned in my previous post. Anyway, bottom line is, I don't feel Bellatrix was, in any way, singled out as femininity gone bad. Person gone bad, sure.

Quote:
In Dumbledore's case though the romance is subtle if not unexistant. The only thing we can know for certain from reading the books alone is that he and Grindelwald were friends. As for Snape, I have already said what I think about this. He is unloved in the books for sure but according to Rowling's interview the only reason Lily rejected him was because he was into the dark arts. I resent the idea that a woman cannot reject a man simply because she doesn't like him even if he does everything right and is a good guy. This is further underlined by the disproportionate amount of men who suffer from unrequited love in the books as opposed to women.
I agree with you that DD’s “romance” was extremely subtly implied, if at all. I certainly couldn’t find any implication in the books that his feelings for Grindelwald went beyond friendship. I personally wouldn’t count his situation as one of unrequited love if we’re to have this discussion. Not so much because I couldn’t see his romance, but because it didn’t seem to torture him for most of his life really. It was his sister’s death that was his main cause of unrest.

Coming to Snape, I’d just like to point out that JKR didn’t say Lily didn’t end up with him just because he was into the Dark Arts. She said that Lily “might” have fallen for him had he not been into the Dark Arts – meaning, the first and foremost obstacle was his DA obsession. Since they didn’t cross this obstacle, we don’t see the more regular personality-compatibility obstacles they would have faced. I, personally, am of the opinion that she would have continued viewing James in a romantic light and Snape in a friendly light even if Snape had shunned the Dark Arts. So, I think your concern over a girl simply not falling for an otherwise good guy because she’s not interested in him in that way can, IMO, be put to rest.

But the point of singling DD and Snape out was, I think, to point out how they are the only men who suffer from the pangs of unrequited love in a sea of women in the same situation. Let’s make a tally.

Guys Who Fell for the Girl First and Had to Suffer from – either Temporary or Permanent- Unrequited Love: James, Snape, the Bloody Baron (curse me for raking this one up )

Girls Who Fell for the Guy First and Had to Suffer from – either Temporary or Permanent- Unrequited Love: Ginny, Tonks, Bellatrix (dunno if this really counts)

All in all, this particular aspect doesn’t bother me much. It seems pretty equal.

Quote:
It is also problematic for the women because motherhood gets glorified over all other life choices and while it's okay for men to not want children or be paternal, women who aren't maternal get villified.
I agree that JKR stresses a lot on motherhood and while I certainly don’t have a problem with that, I do object when it is shown to be “greater” than fatherhood. As for careers, I didn’t really see many instances where career women are vilified? McGonagall specifically chose her career over a family. Amelia Bones is portrayed as a great woman during Harry’s hearing in OoTP. In fact, all the female Hogwarts teachers are career women since they either don’t have families or, if they do, they choose to spend most of the year at their workplace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
On the other hand, Ginny is the one female character we see dating more than one guy, and breaking up with guys when she decides it is not working for her.
Exactly, she starts doing so in GoF whereas characterization from the previous three books presents her as the girl who blushingly gives a handmade, singing get-well card to her crush when he’s in the sickroom. That sudden changeover is not realistic, IMO. It seems to coincide too perfectly with the beginning of Harry’s attraction to girls in GoF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
But why does James' patronus have to be the same as his animagus form? In terms of story it was probably to simplify the animal associations with characters but it still bothers me.
As you have mentioned in your post, it is most probably just a means of simplifying the storytelling. Say, James and Lily’s Patronuses conform as lion and lioness. Imagine the frenzy readers would get into, trying to match the meaning of a stag symbolism to the lion symbolism to James’s personality. And since the stag and the doe also happen to match James and Lily’s personalities individually, IMO, I have even less of a problem with it. Plus, I think the whole stag and doe imagery was a beautiful yet compact way of interconnecting the James-Lily-Harry-Snape stories.

Quote:
This is the one I have the least problem with because I feel, often times, that when a prominent woman-figure is introduced in a position such as Minister for Magic or something I feel like feminism is being shoved down my throat - "accept it or you're a bad person!"
This one made me laugh because of how true it probably is. I agree that having too many women in leadership positions would have seemed too contrived. However, one woman as a leader of something (not necessarily MoM, that would probably have been overkill) wouldn’t have hurt, would it? On the whole, though, this factor isn’t the most grating feminist problem in the story.


__________________

Picture by LaurelSKY from http://laurelsky.deviantart.com/art/...tter-170927604

"Its hooves made no mark on the soft ground as it stared at Harry with its large, silver eyes. Slowly, it bowed its antlered head. And Harry realized..."Prongs..."
- Hermione's Secret, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Reply With Quote
  #933  
Old April 6th, 2012, 12:15 pm
arithmancer's Avatar
arithmancer  Undisclosed.gif arithmancer is offline
Assistant to Professor Snape
 
Joined: 4739 days
Location: The Hogwarts Boathouse
Posts: 7,937
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil View Post
Exactly, she starts doing so in GoF whereas characterization from the previous three books presents her as the girl who blushingly gives a handmade, singing get-well card to her crush when he’s in the sickroom. That sudden changeover is not realistic, IMO. It seems to coincide too perfectly with the beginning of Harry’s attraction to girls in GoF.
I do not understand the point you are trying to make here. I do not consider Harry's interest in girls, and Ginny's starting to date, coincidental. Ginny likes Harry from the start. She starts to date others, IMO, when she is given reason to believe she has no hope of a relationship with Harry.


__________________
The Sorting Hat says I belong in Slytherin.



“Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion.”-D. H. Lawrence

All was well.


Avatar by nerwende, signature art by sigune, used with permission.
Reply With Quote
  #934  
Old April 6th, 2012, 2:56 pm
Sereena's Avatar
Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 2344 days
Age: 32
Posts: 599
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
.
My point really, is that there is only one female main character, and she is an exceptoin to a supposed pattern. There are two other secondary examples that are exceptions. So I don't think it is fair to say there is a pattern at all.
I disagree because one or two exceptions don't necessarily negate a pattern. Female characters are in general more defined by and interested in romance than the men, in my view. Hermione being a possible exception doesn't really negate this.

Quote:
I don't think Rowling is saying that she would have had to like him because he is good. It is that she DID like him, enough for her feelings to become romantic love in time, except that she could not overlook his failings.
No, she isn't saying that in so many words but it is my impression that Rowling doesn't allow her male characters to get rejected and suffer from unrequited love to the same extent that the women do. Snape is an example of unrequited love in the books but Rowling's post publication statements allow for the possibilty that Lily would have loved him too had he not become a Death Eater. Which makes me take his "rejection" less seriously even though I agree that it's still an example of a male character being rejected. But it is somewhat softened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil
I don't think JKR was trying to pit one type of femininity over another. She was just trying to pit maternal love over love for the...well, dark stuff. Bellatrix was just a person who was attracted to the Dark Side, IMO. This was the moment when JKR wanted to reveal the power of Molly's maternal love, so she made her duel Voldemort's chief lieutenant, Bellatrix. Which, of course, brings up the whole motherhood-over-fatherhood thing I mentioned in my previous post. Anyway, bottom line is, I don't feel Bellatrix was, in any way, singled out as femininity gone bad. Person gone bad, sure.
But I find the Bellatrix being a bad woman to be more emphasized in the book than Bellatrix being a bad person. If she had just been a bad person an Auror could have killed her and it would have done. There was no need for her to have a face off with and be compared to another female character who is "better". Rowling said that she wanted to put these two women together and she describes them both as very "feminine" which makes it hard for me to draw any other conclusion than that the readers got a lesson in "female propriety."

Quote:
Girls Who Fell for the Guy First and Had to Suffer from – either Temporary or Permanent- Unrequited Love: Ginny, Tonks, Bellatrix (dunno if this really counts)
Also Merope. I see your point but to me it's not just about the romance being unrequited, it's about it being a defining part for the female characters. Remus isn't defined by his romance with Tonks because he gets a strong characterizations before she is even introduced to him and to the readers. Tonks however, gets some characterization in OotP after which she becomes Remus's wife and the mother of his child. We aren't told anything else about her and her role in the story is settled.

Quote:
This one made me laugh because of how true it probably is. I agree that having too many women in leadership positions would have seemed too contrived. However, one woman as a leader of something (not necessarily MoM, that would probably have been overkill) wouldn’t have hurt, would it?
Why would a female minister have been overkill? There are female statesmen in the Muggle world as well. I also don't think showing women in positions of power means feminism is shoved down our throats. In what way? If Harry's world is gender neutral, which I don't believe but many posters have made this point, then it really wouldn't be strange.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoddessClio
I think at least part of Bellatrix's characterization as a child-hating woman comes from the fact that she is the most brutal, most extreme death eater we are presented with. I didn't really feel like she was shown as the only death eater unfairly targeting children, isn't Greyback said to try and bite and infect as many children as he can when he's a werewolf?
Exactly. That is my point. Voldemort hismelf could also be characterized as destroyer of families and hurting children (he certainly hurt more children than Bellatrix and also destroyed more families). But for the men this is irrelevant. Greyback isn't killed by Molly nor is he killed by Arthur Weasley for example. Neither is Voldemort. Their evilness isn't reduced to whether or not they like children and to whom they are lusting for. I cannot find anything positive about the Molly/Bella duel but if anyone has another interpretation of it or its symbolism then I'm certainly curious to know I don't want to dislike it but I do.


Reply With Quote
  #935  
Old April 6th, 2012, 4:12 pm
Melaszka's Avatar
Melaszka  Female.gif Melaszka is offline
HighFunctioning Sociopath
 
Joined: 4444 days
Location: England
Age: 50
Posts: 3,294
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil View Post
The Argument that JKR Places (Sometimes Unfair) Importance on Females and their Roles:

1) The strong, rather unjust IMO, emphasis on motherhood (over fatherhood). We see that both times, Voldemort meets his downfall because of a mother's love for her child. The first time because of Lily's sacrifice for Harry, and the second time because of Narcissa's lie for Draco's sake. Lucius is shown to try to protect his son, but he is not successful. James gives his life for Lily and Harry's sake, but his sacrifice is barely given a glance because it did not bestow a magical protection on Harry - that was the mother's job. When Harry's got to learn a lesson about idolizing people, it has to be through his father's bad actions as a youth; his mother remains the angelic martyr throughout. Molly is the one who, in a fit of maternal rage, slays Bellatrix. In the Resurrection Stone scene, Lily's smile is "widest of them all". All these small things put together create, IMO, a rather glorified image of mothers and their love for their children, which I think is unfair toward the fathers who, I'm sure, love their kids just as much.
Yes, but I don't think that makes the series feminist - in fact, I think the idealised portrayal of women as "The Angel in The House" and of motherhood as mystical and sacred is actually quite patriarchal and, for me, is only a step away from the oppressive sexist argument that women don't need to have power outside the home because we have so much power in our uteruses and "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules The World".

And, in any case, I think there is quite a lot of emphasis on fatherhood in HP - Barty Crouch Jnr turns bad because his father spends too much time at the office and not at home, Arthur Weasley is presented as being a good father, because he puts family and principle above financial success and career status, Lupin is chastised by Harry in DH for wanting to be out having adventures, when being there for his pregnant wife is more important, the biggest mistake of Dumbledore's life is caring more about making a name for himself as a scholar than looking after his disabled sister.

I agree that elevating Lily's sacrifice over James's is a bit unfair to men, though.

Quote:
2) IMO, the magical world itself doesn't seem to view women as "lesser" than men. The founders of Hogwarts are two men and two women (although, yes, it can be argued that the two most prominent founders, plotwise, are the men). Quidditch is a unisex sport and JKR seems to show her approval of gender equailty by portraying the "bad" team (ie. Slytherin team) as an all-male one and the "good" teams (ie. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw) as ones comprised of both males and females. Nothing against Slytherin, guys, but their Quidditch team seems to be a definite negative element to me. Professionally, there doesn't seem to be much of a glass ceiling for women either. We see women like McGonagall, Umbridge, Amelia Bones, future Hermione, Alice Longbottom, and the various headmistresses of Hogwarts in prestigious positions.
But that, for me, makes the comparative dominance of men in both the storyline and wizarding power structures even more problematic. If the wizarding/witching world were portrayed as being at the same stage in the march towards gender equality as the Muggle world, you could explain away the fact that more of the authority figures we hear about (e.g. Hogwarts headteachers, Ministers of Magic etc) and Triwizard candidates are men than women as being the result of women facing unfair discrimination. But when JKR goes out of her way to show the WW as having equal rights for women as far back as the Middle Ages, she creates a world where the fact that there are more men than women in high positions (even though there are some women in high positions) seems to be due to the fact that, on average, women are less good than men.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
This is the one I have the least problem with because I feel, often times, that when a prominent woman-figure is introduced in a position such as Minister for Magic or something I feel like feminism is being shoved down my throat - "accept it or you're a bad person!"
Like I said above, though, given that witches have supposedly had equal rights with wizards since before Hogwarts was founded (notwithstanding some contradictory hints that pureblood supremacists might be sexists, as well - the Slytherin all-male team, Merope's brutal treatment at the hands of her father and brother etc), logically there ought to be more prominent woman figures than there are.

I feel that JKR is inconsistent about the level of equality in witch/wizard society

Quote:
I think at least part of Bellatrix's characterization as a child-hating woman comes from the fact that she is the most brutal, most extreme death eater we are presented with. I didn't really feel like she was shown as the only death eater unfairly targeting children, isn't Greyback said to try and bite and infect as many children as he can when he's a werewolf?
I think Greyback is presented very differently, though. In PoA, the way he's described is almost like a lupine Che Guevara or Malcolm X - a radical with strong ideological principles who's reacting against an intolerant and oppressive wizarding world. I got the impression in that book that he tries to infect children because he wants to build up a werewolf population who will take arms against normal humans and redefine werewolfism as a good thing. It's only in later books that he becomes a straight-from-central-casting bogeyman who attacks children because he's just evil.

Even then, though, he's not presented as a twisted parody of a father in the way that Bellatrix is presented as a twisted parody of a mother, with her taunting babytalk when she's attacking Harry and her declaration that she would have been proud to sacrifice a son, if she had one, to the Dark Lord. And Greyback isn't taken out in a symbolic one-on-one with a stay-at-home father.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Also Merope. I see your point but to me it's not just about the romance being unrequited, it's about it being a defining part for the female characters. Remus isn't defined by his romance with Tonks because he gets a strong characterizations before she is even introduced to him and to the readers. Tonks however, gets some characterization in OotP after which she becomes Remus's wife and the mother of his child. We aren't told anything else about her and her role in the story is settled.
Even though her love isn't unrequited, I'd say the same thing about Fleur - she goes from being the best witch/wizard at Beauxbatons (although not, apparently, as good as the boys in the Triwizard :grr: and even then, I get the impression that the reader is supposed to look down on her boastfulness - heaven forbid that a girl should take pride in being good at something!) to part-time work experience girl at Gringotts to being Bill's Wife. I'm not objecting to the fact that she marries Bill, but that is literally all she is from now on.



Last edited by Melaszka; April 6th, 2012 at 4:18 pm.
Reply With Quote
  #936  
Old April 6th, 2012, 5:19 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
Seventh Year
 
Joined: 2489 days
Location: The pirate ship Revenge
Age: 33
Posts: 1,853
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryVeil View Post
As you have mentioned in your post, it is most probably just a means of simplifying the storytelling. Say, James and Lily’s Patronuses conform as lion and lioness. Imagine the frenzy readers would get into, trying to match the meaning of a stag symbolism to the lion symbolism to James’s personality. And since the stag and the doe also happen to match James and Lily’s personalities individually, IMO, I have even less of a problem with it. Plus, I think the whole stag and doe imagery was a beautiful yet compact way of interconnecting the James-Lily-Harry-Snape stories.
In terms of simplifying story-telling I have no problem with it. In terms of ones patronus changing when one falls in love I find it somewhat offensive that in 67% of the cases we are shown it's the woman's patronus changing to match the man's.

I also don't think we know enough of James and Lily's personalities to say for certain that a stag and a doe are the best representitive animals to convey those characters' personalities (with how strongly motherhood in emphasized and how strongly Lily is tied to her role as mother I would have given her a bear patronus as bears are often associated with motherhood in mythology). I got the impression that one's animagus form was what represented one's personality (Sirius being the loyal best friends: a dog; Peter being a double-crosser: a rat) and the patronus was representitive of the thing you felt most protected by but even this is very inconsistent in the books (as shown by the patronuses of the DA members)

Getting OT, sorry...

Quote:
This one made me laugh because of how true it probably is. I agree that having too many women in leadership positions would have seemed too contrived. However, one woman as a leader of something (not necessarily MoM, that would probably have been overkill) wouldn’t have hurt, would it? On the whole, though, this factor isn’t the most grating feminist problem in the story.
I viewed McGonagall as the best example of a woman in a leadership role even though many in this thread view her as a subservient woman to Dumbledore as Headmaster. She seems to be Dumbledore's right hand woman, his vice president, the next in line in the succession of power when he gets the boot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Why would a female minister have been overkill? There are female statesmen in the Muggle world as well. I also don't think showing women in positions of power means feminism is shoved down our throats. In what way? If Harry's world is gender neutral, which I don't believe but many posters have made this point, then it really wouldn't be strange.
I'm saying that given the very patriarchal attitudes of most western societies I personally feel like arbitrarily making a character a woman simply to "even out" the numbers to give us a gender-neutral society feels like equality being shoved down my throat. It's a personal thing as I don't think any society is truly gender-neutral, even the wizarding world (try as JKR might to make it look that way)


__________________
"I could have been in politics 'cause I've always been a big spender."
Reply With Quote
  #937  
Old April 6th, 2012, 6:03 pm
Alastor's Avatar
Alastor  Male.gif Alastor is offline
Keeper of the Mignon Eggs
 
Joined: 5635 days
Posts: 6,468
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
In terms of simplifying story-telling I have no problem with it. In terms of ones patronus changing when one falls in love I find it somewhat offensive that in 67% of the cases we are shown it's the woman's patronus changing to match the man's.
Tonks changed hers, some seem to think that Snape did it too but I can't find proof for that. So who were the others than Tonks? And where was it said they did?

Just wondering where this 67% were women comes from.


__________________



Reply With Quote
  #938  
Old April 6th, 2012, 6:14 pm
arithmancer's Avatar
arithmancer  Undisclosed.gif arithmancer is offline
Assistant to Professor Snape
 
Joined: 4739 days
Location: The Hogwarts Boathouse
Posts: 7,937
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
Tonks changed hers, some seem to think that Snape did it too but I can't find proof for that. So who were the others than Tonks? And where was it said they did?

Just wondering where this 67% were women comes from.
I think with Snape, we can posit his Patronus did not change, as I think by the time he learned to cast a Patronus, he was already head over heels. Which does not really kill the argument, the form of his Patronus, it seems to me, is definitely shown to represent Lily.

I think for the other female 33%, she means Lily (whose Patronus, also, may never have changed, as she may not have learned that spell until she was in love with James either). I personally find this unconvincing, as I think Lily's Patronus might have been a doe even if she had never fallen in love with James. It is a reasonable representation of HER (just as Minerva's cat seems to be).


__________________
The Sorting Hat says I belong in Slytherin.



“Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion.”-D. H. Lawrence

All was well.


Avatar by nerwende, signature art by sigune, used with permission.

Last edited by arithmancer; April 6th, 2012 at 6:57 pm.
Reply With Quote
  #939  
Old April 6th, 2012, 6:37 pm
Alastor's Avatar
Alastor  Male.gif Alastor is offline
Keeper of the Mignon Eggs
 
Joined: 5635 days
Posts: 6,468
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

And we don't know if Lily ever produced a patronus before she started loving James. So only one sure case remains. I wouldn't consider that statistical proof for feminism lacking in the books.


__________________



Reply With Quote
  #940  
Old April 6th, 2012, 7:00 pm
StarryVeil  Female.gif StarryVeil is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 2326 days
Location: Godric's Hollow
Age: 24
Posts: 168
Re: Feminism in Deathly Hallows - or the lack thereof v.3

Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmancer View Post
I do not understand the point you are trying to make here. I do not consider Harry's interest in girls, and Ginny's starting to date, coincidental. Ginny likes Harry from the start. She starts to date others, IMO, when she is given reason to believe she has no hope of a relationship with Harry.
What I’m trying to say is, Ginny’s character seemed to develop according to Harry’s development, for me. In the beginning of the series, we need to get an idea of what a hero Harry is thought to be in the wizarding world, so we have the hero-worshipping Ginny. We’re supposed to get the feel that fame and attention are not Harry’s cup of tea, so he doesn’t take any notice of her then. Then, in GoF, Harry starts noticing girls and the writer has Ginny break out of her shy, fangirl shell into the confident spitfire who dates quite a number of boys in a short amount of time. And then, finally, when Harry has acquired a sort of “manliness” in HBP, he notices what a “strong” girl she is (I place “strong” in apostrophes because her contrived hell cat characterization seemed more annoying than strong to me). It is said in the last two books that Harry loves her a lot, but I don’t see where it comes from. Some green-eyed monster just springs up in Harry in HBP and, out of nowhere, he has found his soulmate. Then Ginny becomes the requisite wife needed for the hero to have his happy ending. And I’m left wondering, how did it happen? Is she really as strong a woman as she is made out to be? I just saw a hackneyed transformation from blushing wallflower to brassy she-devil to the hero’s child-bearing wife. JMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Rowling said that she wanted to put these two women together and she describes them both as very "feminine" which makes it hard for me to draw any other conclusion than that the readers got a lesson in "female propriety."
She did? I’ve never seen that statement! Could you tell me where she says that? Because, if she has said it, I do not agree. I don’t find Bellatrix as singularly feminine. To me, she’s just a mentally disturbed, cruel person. I don’t believe the duel between her and Molly was any sort of lesson in “female propriety”. I don’t think we’re supposed to draw the conclusion that it’s OK for men to act the way Bellatrix does but that it destroys some sort of feminine code of honor to treat children cruelly and be as sadistic as Bellatrix is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaszka View Post
Yes, but I don't think that makes the series feminist - in fact, I think the idealised portrayal of women as "The Angel in The House" and of motherhood as mystical and sacred is actually quite patriarchal and, for me, is only a step away from the oppressive sexist argument that women don't need to have power outside the home because we have so much power in our uteruses and "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules The World".
Not sure what I think about whether this makes the series feminist or not because, while I completely agree that being a mother is not the highest a woman can reach, I don’t think motherhood being a particular woman’s defining element is unfeminist. I guess I’m trying to say that I don’t think women who choose the homely lifestyle are, in any way, lesser or greater than career women. But, yes, the expectation that women should be at their best at home is rather unfeminist.

Quote:
And, in any case, I think there is quite a lot of emphasis on fatherhood in HP - Barty Crouch Jnr turns bad because his father spends too much time at the office and not at home, Arthur Weasley is presented as being a good father, because he puts family and principle above financial success and career status, Lupin is chastised by Harry in DH for wanting to be out having adventures, when being there for his pregnant wife is more important, the biggest mistake of Dumbledore's life is caring more about making a name for himself as a scholar than looking after his disabled sister.
Most of which aren’t exactly stellar examples of fatherhood. For the Crouchs, the father is shown as the reason for the son turning bad; the mother is shown as the compassionate angel who, out of love for her child, sacrifices herself. In Lupins’ case, the otherwise exemplary Remus turns into a poor example of fatherhood while Tonks is the silent victim faced with the prospect of having to carry a child alone after her husband runs off. DD’s situation is another bad example, although I don’t know if I should count that as ‘fatherhood’, per se. For the Weasleys, I find that Molly’s role as a warm, comforting motherly figure is emphasized more than Arthur’s role as a father. For the Malfoys, Lucius is the one who gets their son into the DE mess, then ends up in prison himself, leaving Narcissa to play her role of loving mother who puts everything at stake - her pride and self-preservation, to name a few - to make sure her son stays safe. And don’t even get me started on the Potters.

Quote:
I agree that elevating Lily's sacrifice over James's is a bit unfair to men, though.
But since you have gotten me started ( ), I’ll say it. This marked instance of female-glorification bugs me most. Not once in seven books is it phrased that James sacrificed his life for Lily and Harry whereas mention of Lily’s sacrifice for Harry is there in every single book. Sure, because of some sheer technicalities of a magical contract and the actions of external characters (ie. Snape and Voldemort), Lily’s death unintentionally bestowed a magical protection on Harry. However, if we look at the events at Godric’s Hollow as an isolated event, Lily’s and James’s sacrifices are equal – courageous, pretty useless, loving and, ultimately, willing sacrifices.

Then why is it that DD simply keeps going on about how deeply Harry’s mother loved him, of how courageous his mother was, and Harry tells Voldemort “I’ve done what my mother did” after sacrificing himself, and Harry can’t take his eyes off his mother in, both, the Mirror of Erised scene in PS/SS and the Resurrection Stone scene in DH? Why is it that Harry gets to doubt his father at one point and, yet, never has to learn anything less-than-stellar about his mother?

My ultimate point is, did James, Arthur, and Lucius love their children any less than Lily, Molly and Narcissa? I think not. Hence, I don’t see why the mothers are constantly placed on some sort of heavenly pedestal whereas fathers are just…there.

In the whole series, I can only point out one occasion wherein fatherhood is placed on a similar pedestal as motherhood often is and that is Harry’s Patronus being James’s symbolic representation. That his father is Harry’s “guardian angel” of sorts is the only instance in which fatherhood is given the same, almost otherworldly, status as motherhood is, IMO. And this doesn’t nullify the lack of acknowledgement of his father’s sacrifice.

Quote:
But that, for me, makes the comparative dominance of men in both the storyline and wizarding power structures even more problematic. If the wizarding/witching world were portrayed as being at the same stage in the march towards gender equality as the Muggle world, you could explain away the fact that more of the authority figures we hear about (e.g. Hogwarts headteachers, Ministers of Magic etc) and Triwizard candidates are men than women as being the result of women facing unfair discrimination. But when JKR goes out of her way to show the WW as having equal rights for women as far back as the Middle Ages, she creates a world where the fact that there are more men than women in high positions (even though there are some women in high positions) seems to be due to the fact that, on average, women are less good than men.
Yes, I mentioned in my first post on this thread that the series oscillates a lot between presenting gender equality in a way not even present in our real world and reverting back to very traditional gender roles and statuses. It does create a lot of discrepancies because, in theory, the magical world seems to be built on a foundation of gender equality and yet, in (fictional) reality, we see gender discriminations - which are sort of carry-overs from our own patriarchal society - occurring in that very world. This is, I think, because the writer herself is a member of our society and perhaps couldn’t break away from it enough to allow her to completely redefine gender roles according to the values of her fictional world. So we get stuck with a sort of mixed salad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
Tonks changed hers, some seem to think that Snape did it too but I can't find proof for that. So who were the others than Tonks? And where was it said they did?

Just wondering where this 67% were women comes from.
Lily + Tonks = 67%
Snape = 33%
Whether their Patronuses changed into those forms or was like that from the very beginning, the point is that Lily’s doe is in reference to James’s stag (which was established by his Animagus form from when they were fifteen) and Snape’s Patronus is in reference to Lily. And, as I elaborated in one of my previous posts, I don’t find this to be a feminist problem in the books.


__________________

Picture by LaurelSKY from http://laurelsky.deviantart.com/art/...tter-170927604

"Its hooves made no mark on the soft ground as it stared at Harry with its large, silver eyes. Slowly, it bowed its antlered head. And Harry realized..."Prongs..."
- Hermione's Secret, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Reply With Quote
Reply
Go Back  Chamber of Secrets > Harry Potter > The Stone

Bookmarks

Tags
deathly hallows, feminism


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 8:53 pm.


Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Original content is Copyright © MMII - MMVIII, CoSForums.com. All Rights Reserved.
Other content (posts, images, etc) is Copyright © its respective owners.