As Harry Potter mania continues in the UK, it is worthwhile mentioning the fact that the latest installment has two young British actors by the name of Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad, who play Parvati and Padma Patil.
But not everyone is impressed with how the film is progressing. Here we re-publish a recent piece by Ink Spill on the sexual politics behind Harry Potter.
by Ink Spill
Harry and Ron are the ideal couple, balancing out each other perfectly. Harry’s rescuing Ron at every stage makes him the protector masculine partner, while the sporadic strength of the ‘help meet’ Ron makes him the feminine part of the couple.
Homosexuality being out of the purview of children’s literature, the figure of Ginny, Ron’s property in the Muggle-like patriarchal structure of Wizardhood, is the symbolic bearer of the Harry-Ron love. Her status as rescuee in book two cements her dependence on Harry.
Her diluted feminine wiles make her a post-Feminist romantic heroine who ‘plays the game’ to get her man.
Hermione Granger is the quintessential feminist figure stuck in a post-feminist paradigm. Being obviously too bright to play second fiddle as a hero’s love interest, her possible romantic link with Harry is ruled out.
She is symbolically kept out of the hierarchy of heroism by being made a ‘friend-figure’. In the triangular Harry-Ron-Hermione friendship, she has a two-step function. The first is to preclude the threat of a homosexual liaison between the two male figures, and the second is to formalise Ron’s heterosexuality by being pitched as his romantic partner.
As an individual, Hermione is interesting to explore. Lest her intelligence overshadow the male hero, it is made irritating through people’s responses to her words and actions.
As she passes into puberty, she is constructed as a hormonal wreck, being pulled towards the hysterical female stereotype by what are socio-psychologically constructed as her “impulses”, and being pinned in the masculine world of the intellect where she has always belonged as a ‘transgresser’.
Being a Mudblood, her racial ambiguity underlines her dubious performance of gender roles, and makes her a disturbingly grey and unsettled character. As the story progresses, her hormones take over her intellect more and more often, and one fears that she will dissipate into a helpless woman who underplays her intellectual prowess to fit the role of subordination to Ron, the non-hero.
Over six books, Rowling has turned her into ‘Hormonie’, which is a big letdown for the feminist cause.
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Filed in: Culture,Humour