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Gender Representation in Harry Potter

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Courtney Smith

on 28 April 2014

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Transcript of Gender Representation in Harry Potter

Gender Representation in Harry Potter
What is the significance of Hermione Granger's name?
In an interview J.K. Rowling states: . "Hermione is a Shakespearean name - I - I consciously set out to choose a - a fairly unusual name for Hermione, because I didn't want a lot of fairly hard-working little girls to be teased if ever the book was published, because she is a very recognisable type - to which I belonged, when I was young .."- The Connection (WBUR Radio), 12 October, 1999
We come back to the major theme of J.K. Rowling's epic: characters in the Harry Potter series are modern day personas. Hermione was named to be relatable to girls who struggle to find a place in society.
"When I just throw it all out the window and dismiss it as "crazy," it makes it easier to deal. We don't really think women are insane, we just say it so we can be done thinking about their antics and move on."- Marie Claire Magazine
Is being called "crazy" complete nonsense and only what men say as an excuse, or is this sterotype a real problem that exists in even our favorite literature?

Wedding Crashers:
"looney" "love"+"good"
-Dresses Unusually
-Proclaims Her Strange Beliefs Openly
-Seems to be out of touch of what is going on around her
-"For example, for a Quidditch match where the students wave banners and wear rosettes in team colors, Luna sports a hat with a life-sized lion's head on it which roars very realistically (OP19)."

-wand goes behind ear for safekeeping
-wears jewelry made from butterbeer corks
-has earring made from Dirigible Plums
Sybill Trelawney
-thinks she is a great seer but her predictions rarely come true
-angered easily when students voiced their dislikes for her class
-implied to have a mild drinking problem a. Harry smelled "old sherry" around her at one point
b. was seen stowing away empty alcohol bottles in the Room of Requirement
-emotional when criticized
a. cried when Umbridge harrassed her
Moaning Myrtle
-Myrtle's Symptoms of Boderline Personality Disorder:
*affective instability
*inappropriate anger
*reoccuring suicidal behavior, threats, or attempts
*"splitting" or seeing people as "all good" or "all bad"
-wrote all of her deepest secrets to the diary: a complete stranger
-her emotional instability allowed Voldemort to gain partial control of her mind
-vandilized school corridprs with blood
-released the basilisk in the Chamber
-strangling roosters
Ginny Weasly in the "Chamber of Secrets"
Are The Boys Better?
The two main characters and enemies in the Harry Potter series are Harry v. Draco or Harry v. Voldemort, also known as Griffindor v. Slytherin. Two men and two women founded these houses. Is it just a coinsidence that the two most powerful houses in Hogwarts were founded by the two men, not the two women?
Hufflepuff House
"Life’s not easy for the Hufflepuffs out there. In every sketch, humorous fanfic, and rousing talk over butterbeer at the Harry Potter theme park, they are the butt of all the jokes. Sweet and slow like molasses, that’s what people think. Sure friends, but not particularly talented. Or, as one of those hilarious Second City videos has put it—“I can’t digest lactose; I’m a Hufflepuff!”"
Ravenclaw House
Urban Dictionary definintion:
"The Hogwarts house for smarty-smarts in Harry Potter.
Most people who read Harry Potter think they belong in Ravenclaw. Why? Well, come on... alot of nerds (such as myself) read Harry Potter, and nerds are usually, smart, and Ravenclaw is for the brainy ones, so... :D"
-But really, who wants to be actually labeled a nerd?
Lily Potter
Cho Chang
Narcissa Malfoy
Subservient Woman
Fleur Delacour
Lily Potter: Subservient?
Lily Potter would not normally percieved as subservient although she died for Harry's life. She is always considered second even though the series constantly states that Harry is only alive because of his "mothers love."
As one of the only female character in the series she is considered important being that she is Harry's mom but is never mention for her own brillance at witchcraft expect by Professor Slughorn. She is always second to James which Rowling demostrates as a typical nuclear family system.
Fleur Delacour
-Full Lips
Fleur attends the all girls school and takes care of her sister. She marries Bill Weasley and is heavily complemented on her good looks by his brothers.
She is considered subservient because not only is she a girl but she is also part Veela. Which is the equivalent to a Greek Siren.
It's Fleur who has to drop out of the Tri-Wizard Tournament because she can not take the challenges. It is Fleur who in the Deathly Hallows is the one doing the dishes while the boys are talking.
Only few pictures are shown of Lily. This happens to be one of the only ones available whe she is with James.
Cho Chang
"Obviously, she is feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she's feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can't work out who she likes best. Then she'll be feeling guilty, thinking it's an insult to Cedric's memory to be kissing Harry at all... And she probably can't work out what her feelings are towards Harry anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that's all very mixed up and painful."
Who do you believe said this?
In the Order of the Phoenix Cho has a hard time performing spells whenever Harry is around.
-Perceived as angsty
-Jealous of Hermione and Harry's relationship
Narcissa Malfoy
Supports her husband even when he's wrong.
Disregards her younger sister Tonks for her new family.
When it's not her husband she is protecting she falls behind her son.
Will do anything to protect her image.
Values her family wealth above all
"Sniffles" when she is around people considered "lesser"
Relies on house elves to do her bidding.
Housewife: Molly Weasley
-Wife of Arthur Weasley and the mother of nine
-Known to be skilled in household spells and healing
-Was always the one to discipline her children:
a. When Fred, George, and Ron left to pick up Harry and bring him to the Burrow, she screamed at them and made them de-gnome the backyard
b. When Ron stole the family car, Molly sent him a “howler”
c. Yelled at Fred and George for giving Dudley “Ton-Tongue Toffee” in The Goblet of Fire
-Member of the Order of Phoenix
-Participated in the Battle of Hogwarts
-Defeated Bellatrix

-Despite all accomplishments, she’s remembered as a simple housewife
-Muggle, Aunt and guardian of Harry
-Did everything for her son Dudley
a. Birthday gifts
b. Clearly favors Dudley over Harry
-Wanted to lead a normal life
example: Rejected both Lily and Harry’s abilities

-Also represents the "evil step-mom" stereotype
Housewife: Petunia Dursley
Strong Female Character: Hermione Granger
-One of the smartest witches at Hogwarts, but never received proper recognition
a. Set Snape's robe on fire when she thought he was bewitching Harry's broom
b. In the Sorceror's Stone - knew how to escape the Devil's Snare
c. Discovered that how the basilisk moved around the school through the pipes
d. Discovered Rita Skeeter's animagus was a Beetle
e. In Deathly Hallows, thought ahead and brought supplies for when they went into hiding
-Used the Time-Turner to take extra classes in the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Always stood by Harry and Ron’s sides
-Always received excellent marks in school.

Strong Female Character: Minerva McGonagall
-Head of Gryffindor House, Transfiguration teacher, Member of the Order of the Phoenix
-Viewed as a motherly figure
a.Watched over Harry during his childhood at Pivot drive and at Hogwarts
b.Strict and stern demeanor

-Always second to Dumbledore - Snape was appointed headmaster over McGonagall
-Umbridge was appointed headmistress over McGonagall
Dolores Umbridge
-Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Headmaster, Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor
-Powerful in the Ministry of Magic

-Known for her cruelty/abusive actions at Hogwarts:
a. Didn't teach the students useful witchcraft, in fear that Dumbledore might form a wizard army
b. Punished students who spoke up
c. Made Harry carve "I must not tell lies" on the back of his hand
d. Abolished all student groups exceeding three people
e. Tried to fire Trelawney

-Hatred towards all half-breeds:
a. Outraged a centaur taught at Hogwarts
b. Fired Hagrid
-Generally hated by everyone/was a terrible person
Dolores is one of the few women mentioned in Harry Potter to hold a high position in the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, which doesn't say a lot about women representation in the series
-Dolores is always wearing pink
-Always drinking tea
-Loves cats (Crazy cat lady)
-Lady like/feminine
Bellatrix Lestrange
-One of the only known female deatheaters
-Tortured Alice and Frank Longbottom with the Cruciatus curse
-Escaped from Azkaban
-Killed Dobby
-Was killed by Molly Weasley
-Underestimated Molly Weasley.
a. Taunted her about Fred's death
b. Shot a killing curse at Ginny, but missed.
c. Molly, a protective mother, then fought Bellatrix and killed her.
Similarly to Umbridge, Bellatrix was one of the only women who held a position of power.
-Girls are more likely to read books with boy main characters.
-Automatically assume male characters to be heroes.
-Women are stereotypically considered weaker than men.
Why was the main character a boy?
Caricatures and Stereotypes:
Caricature: a drawing/description of a person with exaggerated features
Examples in Harry Potter:
-Sybill Trelawney
-Rita Skeeter
-Professor Sprout
Stereotype: an oversimplified depiction of a certain type/group of people
Examples in Harry Potter:
-Molly Weasley
Hermione Discredited
-Draco looked down on her for being a "Mud-blood"
-Ron and Harry initially disliked Hermione because she was a "know it all"
-Had to work for their acceptance
-Had to be saved by Harry and Ron from the Giant because she was too emotional to save herself (Typical damsel in distress)
-Had an obvious crush on Gilderoy Lockhart
-She's not viewed as being a feminine character until the Yule Ball.
-Has no female friends because there are no other female characters with equal intelligence
All the main characters are Men
Harry Potter - Hero
Voldemort - Powerful Villain
Dumbledore - Wise, most powerful wizard
Moody - Most powerful Auror
Fred and George - Comic Relief used frequently
Ministry of Magic - Nearly all Male

Hermione Granger?
Women constantly come second to men in the series and are seen as objects and not equal counterparts
Hermione Granger: Subservient?
Hermione is seen as second to Harry and Ron. Although the make sure to note that it is her brilliance that keeps them going she is seen as the tag along.
The series tries to emasculate Hermione to fit into this patriarchal world and only when the Yule Ball hits do we see Hermione transform into a girl.
It is always Harry, Ron, Hermione never Hermione first.
Not only is she a girl but she is also one of the only Mudbloods in the series, whereas Harry and Ron's blood is Half- Blood and Pure Blood.
She is also second to wizards and witches with a higher blood status.
Whats in a name?
J.K. Rowling's publishers advised her not to use her first name in fear that it would deter boys form reading it.
Became gender neutral J.K. Rowling.
Boys and Books
Look around the classrom see the boy to girl ratio.
When the books were first published boys considered the series "girly" even though they contained action, magic, and sports.
Boys were embarrassed to read Harry. Capitalist solution?
Now boys could hide their love for Harry while avidly reading the series in secret.
The Books
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