New editorial in the Three Broomsticks: “Is ‘Harry Potter’ a feminist text?”

Over the course of the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling has created some iconic, and let’s face it, kick-ass female characters like Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Molly Weasley, Nymphadora Tonks, Ginny Weasley, and Minerva McGonagall. But are these women the norm or the exception in the wizarding world?

In his new editorial, hpboy13 tackles a challenging topic in the fandom: Is Harry Potter a feminist text? There are definitely some strong female characters in the series, but these women (especially the unmarried ones) aren’t always treated in the same way as their male counterparts.

Here is a sample from this excellent editorial:

If HP were a feminist text, women like this [Rita Skeeter and Dolores Umbridge] would be celebrated. Instead, both of them are villains – they use illegal methods to advance themselves and make life a living hell for people. In short, we are very clearly supposed to hate both of these women.

In isolation, there is nothing wrong with having female villains; however, when the only two important unmarried women in the series are the two most detestable ones, we have a problem.

Is Jo’s treatment of her female protagonists problematic, or is Harry Potter a feminist series?

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  • Ness14

    I definitely agree with your perspective on the female leads. Although I thought it was great for Rowling to have created such strong female characters, the ones who are truly in power are not glorified, they are hated. Although this could be attributed to the fact that they are not the nicest or welcoming people (especially Umbridge) there is still no depiction of a strong, likeable and independent lead character. The one character that comes close to this is Hermoine. Although Harry and Ron would not be any where without Hermoine, she is always in their shadows.

  • Marble Lestrange

    I have to agree. There are a LOT more female HP fans than male HP fans. However, I do not believe the series was written as a “female” based series. I think Joanne Rowling wrote the series, to give both men and woman a fiction place to go and relax when suffering from life’s problems. Thank you!