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Some anti-racist and feminist notes on the sixth Harry Potter plus some anti-feminist fangirlish squee!!!!

July 18, 2009

Race issues:

1) So Harry dates Cho an Asian girl, has a flirtation with a biracial girl in a cafe… and then gets into a relationship with, Ginny, a nice washed out white girl.

2) Ginny dates Dean Thomas, played by a Black? Biracial? boy who makes her cry a lot… then gets into a relationship with a nice, white Harry Potter.

3) All the leads are white. There are very few people of colour with speaking roles in the movie. This has been true of ALL of the Harry Potter movies… but it felt even more marked in this one. The biracial girl in the cafe was not in the books that I remember… maybe the film-makers were trying to write more people of colour into the movie.

Women issues:

1) Remus and Tonks together SUCKS. It is so disgusting to see a gorgeous, vibrant young woman be put into a relationship with a gross, boring old man.

2) Hermione pining after brain-dead Ron???? Yeah right. That wasn’t believeable in the books… it sure as hell isn’t believeable in the movies.

3) Ginny got onto the Quidditch team too, right??? She is supposed to be a really brilliant Seeker and Chaser. Why did we only get shots of Ron heroically getting hit by the Quaffle over and over??? Where were all the shots of Ginny with the Quaffle scoring goals for the team??? Oh, that’s right, women’s acheivements and herorism really isn’t comparable to the wonderfulness of stupid men.

Fangirlish Squee:

1) The movie was beautifull rendered. I loved the cinematography.

2) SO MUCH SLASH!!!!! I nearly wet myself when Ron got into bed with Harry. And all those shots of Harry watching Draco and following him around… Sigh. Ages ago I wrote the most brilliant post Sectumsempra story. It fit in so well with the atmosphere of this movie.

3) Luna Lovegood is awesome. I love her character so much. And Helena Bonham Carter has always made my heart beat faster and since she plays an evil, crazy witch in these movies I am totally smitten!!!

20 comments

  1. “maybe the film-makers were trying to write more people of colour into the movie.”

    British stuff is like that: they have a less than primal need to differentiate themselves from americans so EVERY shop girl, police officer, security guard, random speaking part will be given to a person of color to show how diverse even the smallest hamlet is. Of course, in wide shots of the streets of london, the fancy places they tend to shoot in, 99% of the people are white. And even though black people, especially, get all these decent but never quite the biggest roles, they can’t *ever* be onscreen at the same time or have any relationship together because that would make *them* racist. (“OMG, they’re in cahoots!”) OTOH, most US material isn’t so diverse and yet there’s a history of minority produced/marketed content.

    I’m not exactly sure how “washed out” is supposed to be insulting, heh, but Ginny is also like three years younger. I don’t remember who played her in earlier films, if she was around, but I’d imagine that’s also verging on Tonks/Remus territory, which is all kinds of ick.

    I’ll be seeing the movie six months from now.


  2. British stuff is like that: they have a less than primal need to differentiate themselves from americans so EVERY shop girl, police officer, security guard, random speaking part will be given to a person of color to show how diverse even the smallest hamlet is.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that too. Tokenism much??? By that comment I was in no way trying to imply that it made the movie less racist. In my view, if they are going to make a white imperialist ethnocentric movie, they should just make a white imperialist ethnocentric movie. Why they insist on chucking in all these Black/biracial/Asian tokens is beyond me. Do they think we are not going to notice the whiteness of the movie if they do so?

    OTOH, most US material isn’t so diverse and yet there’s a history of minority produced/marketed content.

    Oh, I love Black american womyn’s films. There aren’t that many of them but they are always amazing.

    I’m not exactly sure how “washed out” is supposed to be insulting, heh, but Ginny is also like three years younger. I don’t remember who played her in earlier films, if she was around, but I’d imagine that’s also verging on Tonks/Remus territory, which is all kinds of ick.

    She is only a year younger than Harry so not so bad. Washed out wasn’t an insult really. I am just amazed at the whiteness of some of these english people. You don’t really get translucent whiteness like that in Australia. Well, with the exception of Nicole Kidman really. I quite like Ginny as a character, but she, like all of the female characters in the books and movies is totally underutilised.


  3. What really, really icks me about Harry and Ginny’s relationship is the fact that she is merely an object of exchange between the real love relationship between Harry and Ron. Ron ‘allows’ Harry to dates his sister to solidify the bond between himself and Harry. Gross out.

    Oh, and the movie so isn’t worth watching. Well… unless you like masculinist movies with men and boys running around being heroic… and girls standing about either kissing said heroic boys or crying about not kissing said heroic boys.

    Bellatrix Lestrange is the only woman with a backbone and a purpose (albeit a screwed up one) in the whole movie.


    • Really? Bellatrix has a backbone and a purpose? Oh, my dear fellow woman! Remember Order of the Phoenix? When Bellatrix sobs before Voldemort’s apparition into the ministry for him not to punish her, that she tried, that it wasn’t her fault, cowering before him? Similar happens all throughout Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows? She is constantly consecrating herself before him. He is a man. A sort of zombie-pseudo-human man, but a man nonetheless and she is CONSTANTLY bowing to him.


  4. “You don’t really get translucent whiteness like that in Australia.”

    The brits have an ozone layer.😛 And in America, it’s the heavily tanned white people who are generally considered elite: which has a weird gender dynamic in that males have a hard time catching up to the darkness of their female peers (as males are required to be darker and aren’t supposed to cheat cosmetically), leading to the “Guido” phenomenon with Orange guys at proms and whatnot — that even liberals make fun of without thinking too much about critically. I’ve been doing a lot of reading from the early 90s about the white-race abolitionists like Noel Ignatiev at Race Traitor and how roundly mocked they were by the White Trash Celebratory Fun People who have since moved on to the causes of transexualism and being pro-prostitution. It’s like, the same people who have their names in lights NOW (Newitz et. al) were doing the same thing to whatever burgeoning movements there were 10-20 years ago.

    I always thought Ginny was much younger, since she was treated so much like a baby early on. You’d think Harry would realize he has something in common with Luna being that they’re the only kids who can see those horse thingies.


  5. I have to ask if the m/m slash appreciation falls under your admission of “anti-feminist squee”? You’ve made quite a few solid points in the past about the anti-feminism of male homosocial/homoerotic behavior, as well as the distastefulness of male consumption of lesbian pornography. I know that the section of the post is clearly labeled anti-feminist, but I’m not sure whether or not you approve, on an ethical level, of slash fiction.


  6. I have to ask if the m/m slash appreciation falls under your admission of “anti-feminist squee”?

    Um.. yeah. It does.

    I know that the section of the post is clearly labeled anti-feminist, but I’m not sure whether or not you approve, on an ethical level, of slash fiction.

    No, I don’t… but I used to write the stuff. And am still a bit attracted to it. *blushes* My friend who used to have a blog wrote this awesome rad fem analysis of slash a while ago but unfortunately she left the internet and took the essay down. I’ve been vaguely thinking of writing something on slash myself but will have to see whether I get around to it.


  7. I feel bizarre asking this, but where did you get that top or dress in the banner up top? It is lovely!


  8. Ha! Thanks Chutney. It is a dress that I bought from a second hand store. I’ve wanted one in that style for ages. In Australia these dresses used to be sold at Tree of Life outlets. They are the Peace Angel brand which doesn’t seem to have a website but they seem to be available at the site below:

    http://www.rainbowcrystal.com.au/index.php?page_id=155&category_id=66&category_linktext=Specials&subcategory_linktext=Goddess%20Wear%20by%20Peace%20Angel&manufacturer_id=&manufacturer_linktext=

    Against my rad fem priniciples I love swanning around in lots of different dresses. I’ve been thinking about posting photos of my weird and wonderful op-shop and second hand shop collections. I’ve got some really cool 70’s dresses. My family hates my retro stuff. My sister makes vomiting noises when I want to wear them.


  9. Hi,just found this entry and thought I leave my opinion on the points you mentioned🙂

    Race issues:
    1)the ending up with Ginny thing got nothing to do with the fact that she is white and everything with her red hair. Lily Potter had red hair and Harry looks exactly like his father. It’s supposed to show more connection to Harry’s parents.
    Personally I think it’s at least as creepy as Lupin/Tonks

    The flirtation with the biracial girl in the cafe is supposed to show that Harry is a ‘man’ now. All grown up. That is something you should have brought up under “Women issues”. That the producers felt the need to show that Harry is grown up now by letting him fuck a random girl (I know that didn’t happen in the movie but it was more than implied that that’s what they were planning to do. I’m assuming they would have shown them hooking up if they didn’t have so much stuff they had to bring into the movie.)
    So why not let that random girl be biracial. Especially when you almost all your characters are white.

    3)I really don’t see a race issue here. What I always liked about british movies is that the Hollywood thing of having at least one black character appear never seemed so forced like in american movies. In fact it seems more racist to me if you try in force in a black/biracial character.
    In my town,in my school (that,when you include all that’s part of it,has circa 4000 students) I haven’t seen more than maybe 2 black people all my life. There are region were no black people live.

    2)I’m pretty sure that Dean Thomas wasn’t mentioned to be black in the books. At least not before the movies came out. I’m not so sure about after that.

    Women Issues:
    2) I only find the pining unbelievable. I just can’t imagine an intelligent girl act so pathetically.
    They are friends,they’ve been through much together. And Ron isn’t always so brain-dead.

    1)I think you’re one of those people who like to see ‘proper things’ in movies. Like,women are respected by the leads;the (male) main character being heroic,a little dense but a good guy. An older guy not getting together with a younger woman.
    But in the real life women don’t always get respected,guys can be assholes who don’t give a damn about others..and older guys get younger women. She’s what? In her late twenties? And he is mid-thirty.
    And we know that they hung out together a lot working for the Order.

    That Harry is so much in love with Ginny but was still ready to get together with that girl from the beginning of the movie and that Ginny has the worst haircut known to mankind that also helps in making her look 10 years-old personally bothers me a lot more.

    3)I don’t dislike her or anything but Ginny is not a main character. A)No one really wants to see her do great quidditch stuff and b) ‘they’ don’t have enough movie time to spend on her playing quidditch. Ron’s fear on the other hand plays a big part in the book.


  10. Not to be disagreeable or anything, but I to point out that (in the books at least), Lupin is actually younger then Tonks. He just looks older and tired because he’s been through so much.


  11. “Lupin is actually younger then Tonks.”

    According to the HP-enclyclopedia, Tonks was born in 1973 and Remus was born in 1960.

    Thanks for setting us straight. Facts are always appreciated.


  12. LOL @ Rich. Yep I love these ‘facts’. I also really love how defensive everyone gets around their favourite misogynist and racist books and movies. There is a whole world of people out there invested in denying the racism and misogyny of contemporary media. Why do they come to this little tiny blog to read and respond to what I have to say when they know that I am not going to change my mind, and they have no intention of opening their minds to my view… the whole thing is ludicrously futile. But then again so is being radically invested in denying racism and misogyny.


  13. i wouldnt so clearly differentiate between the race/gender issues either, because they often intersect, and from what you have described (havent seen it) thats going on here, too. sure the shop girls etc were non-white…but they also seem to be deliberately placed there as a “jungle fever” element or like a poster alluded to above, a masculinity ritual for the white boys to lose their viriginity to a more-experienced female. although the girls arent any older than the boys, because they are non-white the are supposed to be experienced, or likely to be able to “teach” the boys something? anyway thats what stuck out at me from what was posted here. thanks for the read.


  14. Alright, not need to be so hostile. I’m not trying to be “defensive” or anything, I don’t even like Harry Potter. I just distinctively remember it being stated that Lupin is younger then Tonks during the fifth or sixth book. The HP “encyclopedia” is an internet collection by some random guy and not always correct.


  15. FCM,

    Yep, you are entirely right. that is why I called this blog entry ‘Notes’ because it was totally not a proper examination of the movie. Not in the least. BTW I am part Black and I am female. I KNOW racism and misogyny intersect like crazy. You don’t need to tell me that.

    R,

    Quote the part of the book that says that Lupin is younger than Tonks and give me a page number. I think you are pulling your ‘facts’ out of your arse. Besides this entry was about the movie not the books so you ‘facts’ have no relevance here whatso ever. I don’t even know why I’m wasting my time replying to you.


  16. Lupin is not younger than Tonks.

    Think about this:

    Lupin, Sirius, James, and Peter were friends at Hogwarts together.

    Tonk’s mother, Andromeda, (along with her sisters, Bellatrix and Narcissa), are first cousins to Sirius. (See OOTP – “The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black”

    If Andromeda and Sirius are first cousins (although she’s the older of the two), and Sirius and Lupin are the same age, Andromeda’s daughter, Tonks, is going to be younger than Sirius and therefore, younger than Lupin.

    See also HBP – “The Phoenix Lament”

    It’s right in the books, and it’s pretty clear in the movie that Tonks is the bridge between Lupin’s generation and Harry’s.

    I can’t believe this was an argument.


  17. You are 100% right .. watch “Half Blood Prince” right now on DVD an hour into it and aside from that first scene with a girl of color absolutely NO speaking roles for people of colour. Even the random speaking roles. Black guy at the Slugworth dessert table broods and looks threatning t says not 1 word. I will not let my kids read these books ( if and when I have them)
    You have to be white to have a speaking role in these “movies” there is no plot just special effect and “English Wonderment ” after English wonderment. JK Rowling’s creations are like the Book of Morman to the Bible… all scene and no real plot or meaning .


  18. Wasn’t there a scene in the last book where Tonks was barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen? I distinctly remember throwing my book in rage do to something like that.

    I agree where were the shots of Ginny’s Chaser abilities?

    WHAT HAPPENED TO HERMIONE!!! She as so…powerful at the start of the series! Now she becomes personal chef, healer, and Married with two kids.
    The only redemption is that they waited about 8 years to have kids (19-11) provided that the eldest is just starting school

    And what about Fleur??? What happened? She ended up being a fair princess we didn’t see anything about her in the Tournament. Was she a female token amongst the champions.
    GAH! I have half the mind to become a fantasy writer between Rowling’s last few books and Meyer’s books I worry for the youth…What ever happened to writer like Tamora Pierce? Who had girl power (the Alan series), a book with a multi-racial heroes (The Circle of Magic, Daja’s Book).


  19. Uck, seriously, Tonks deserved so much better than that elderly she married and gave up her life for. TONKS YOU WERE A VIBRANT YOUNG PERSON WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS.



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