February 27, 2017

Taylor Carre-Riddell

Some amazing displays and feats of equality for all genders from the characters we love and even those we love to hate

Warning: Contains Book and Movie Spoilers

1. Strong women in combat!

Nothing is as badass as our dear Professor McGonagall taking on Death Eaters in her own right! As the infamous Battle of Hogwarts commences in The Deathly Hallows, our beloved Deputy Headmistress reminds u that women of any age have something to offer and can stand up to fight and protect the things and people we care about.


2. Women who are intellectual and complex, and unapologetically so.
Luna Lovegood graces us with her presence as a key character in The Order of the Phoenix. With her knowledge of Nargles and horse-radish earrings, she deviates from what is expected of an easy, breezy, beautiful teenage girl and instead serves as gentle reminder that we should not only pursue any passion that calls out to us, but do so proudly.


3. Women showing ‘uncouth?’ emotion.

Way back in Philosopher’s Stone, Hermione tells Harry’s rash broom chase with Draco for what it is: idiotic.   She demonstrates  a powerful example that when women (or young women especially) are disgruntled, annoyed or exasperated at something, it’s not them just ‘overreacting’ or being ‘crazy’ or ‘hormonal.’ The emotion is valid and reflective of what’s going on!

4. Women don’t have to pleasant, likeable or agreeable all or any of the time.

The Slytherin bully Pansy Parkinson teaches us that women can display fear, cowardice and hesitancy in their own right. Pansy does not validate patriarchal views of her being delicate or overwhelmed by emotion, but recognises a legitimate risk to the safety of others, and moreover, herself first and foremost.


5. Women undertake  complex, troubled and multifaceted journeys for no one’s benefit but their own.
Across all the books and complementing movies,  Hermione demonstrates that women can grow and change and struggle in avenues that are not for the consumption, fascination or critique  of a male audience, or indeed anybody else at all. A key example of this is the first Potions lesson of their sixth year, where Hermione lists off what attracts her as she smells the most powerful love potion in the world. It’s a personal moment that shows feminine introspection that isn’t underpinned by a patriarchal agenda, such as the hypersexualising a maturing Hermione despite the obvious tenderness and intimacy of the moment.


6. Women are allowed to suffer visibly, and do so in ‘unpleasant’ ways.

There are women who embody childhood struggle, and the consequences and emotional impact of not being the ‘favourite’ or ‘popular’ girl, as in Petunia’s case with her magically talented sister Lily: Harry’s mother. Petunia’s suppressed feelings of inadequacy shape her personality and outlook on life in a way that is unique to her and not toned down or censored for the comfort or social expectations of those around her, or for the male consumers of the franchise.

7. Women can be brutal.

Women can kill and seek vengeance justly. Men don’t need to orchestrate, supervise, give permission or benefit from it. Period. It’s okay to let them watch while you be a boss in your own rights. Take Molly Weasley’s feat in the Battle of Hogwarts: she gets rid of Bellatrix in one fatal swoop!

-Taylor Carre-Riddell 

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