The Most Underrated Feminist Moments in the “Harry Potter” Series
The Harry Potter series isn’t short of moments displaying female empowerment; one of the most iconic is Hermione standing up against Draco’s bullying. Ginny is often credited with her powerful spellwork, and who can forget Molly Weasley’s duel with Bellatrix at the Battle of Hogwarts? While these moments are often discussed, there are several others that are criminally underrated.
1. Hermione compliments Harry.
During the events of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry bravely proclaims that he will be the one to face Snape alone. I always love that at this moment, instead of Hermione volunteering to go in his stead, she understands that Harry must confront this great evil. She understands that this is his fight. The feminism at this moment is that Hermione compliments Harry and raises him up instead of doubting his skills as a wizard. Feminism is about men and women helping each other and working together as equals. At this moment, Hermione realizes that Harry isn’t trying to be a hero or steal the show from her, but instead, he’s trying to do right by his friends.
2. Luna refuses to be quiet.
One of my favorite moments of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 film adaptation is when Luna stands up for herself at Hogwarts. Harry is understandably distracted by rushing off to defeat Voldemort, but he disregards Luna’s contribution. Instead of being her usual quiet self and just brushing this off, Luna yells at Harry and refuses to be slighted. Luna ends up giving Harry crucial information, so thank goodness she stood up for herself!
3. Fleur shuts down unrealistic male stereotypes.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, following the werewolf attack on Bill Weasley, Molly questions if Fleur will still want to marry him. Fleur, who had been very polite and level-headed up until this point, passionately defends her fiancé. Everyone in the Harry Potter books commented on what a physically attractive couple Bill and Fleur were, but the werewolf attack changed all that. Fleur proclaims that she doesn’t care about Bill’s physical appearance as long as their love remains the same. Instead of perpetuating unrealistic male stereotypes, Fleur assures everyone that Bill will be beautiful no matter what. I love this moment because feminist movements often forget that it’s not just women who experience unfair gender stereotypes. At this moment, Fleur is sticking up for both her and Bill’s values.
4. Professor McGonagall argues with her boss like nobody’s business.
Professor McGonagall is many things: brave, wise, honest… but “quiet” is not one of her personality traits. In the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film adaptation, Professor McGonagall gets downright feisty when she learns that Dumbledore plans to allow Harry to enter the Triwizard Tournament – even though he doesn’t want to in the first place. When citing the rules of the competition doesn’t work, Professor McGonagall raises her voice, as well as a good point, against her employer. Not only is her line funny, but it also shows just how selfless the professor is. She is willing to risk an argument with the other professors in order to protect a student of hers.
5. Tonks shuts down Mad-Eye Moody even though he is terrifying.
Tonks is one of the boldest and most fascinating Harry Potter characters, but we don’t get many lines of dialogue from her because she is a background character. However, one of her most unforgettable moments is when she talks back to Mad-Eye Moody, who, lest we forget, is her superior at the Auror office. When Mad-Eye Moody is reprimanding Tonks, he calls her Nymphadora, a name she doesn’t use professionally (or at all). Instead of letting this go, Tonks rightfully stands up for herself. This moment always meant a lot to me, especially when men mispronounced my name or used a nickname that they deemed suitable. This quote also makes me think of people’s pronouns and how important it is for all of us to heed them.
6. Hermione tries to teach Harry and Ron about emotions.
When Hermione tries to give Harry advice about dating Cho, the golden trio makes jokes about emotional teaspoons, and the conversation ends on a humorous note. However, this conversation is more important than we all realize. This is one of the first times Hermione teaches her male friends about a female point of view, and it is one of the few times the Harry Potter series directly addresses gender inequalities. Hermione questions why Harry and Ron are so put off by girls showing their emotions and even suggests that Ron should express his emotions more frequently. Instead of supporting gender stereotypes like who should be allowed to show their emotions, Hermione encourages her friends to be in touch with their feelings – specifically, that the boys shouldn’t judge girls for feeling perfectly normal emotions.