I watched my first Harry Potter movie last night. It was the second in the much hyped, very popular series, titled Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The plot was a re-hash of standard, Western, patriarchal mythology. The three main female characters in the plot included a constantly crying girl, a smart girl who spends much of the movie in a paralyzed state, and a girl who needs to be saved from the evil doings of a serpent. The chosen male, Harry, fights the serpent, killing it with a sword that looks much like a jeweled cross. Over all of this presides the headmaster wizard, who is very Christian god-like with his long, white trailing beard.
Prior to being paralyzed, the smart girl shows herself to be an excellent student who is actually much better with her spells and potions than Harry. However, it is known by everyone that Harry is simply inherently gifted, destined for greatness. Encountering the serpent renders her catatonic. Encountering the serpent renders Harry a hero.
I tire of this. The same vacuous female characters were presented to me, in other narratives, when I was a girl. Decades later, girls and women continue to be offered same limited, stunted visions of themselves and their relationship to men and society, as were they presented to women prior to my generation, and on and on. Then it is posited, by the patriarchal sycophants, that women’s and girls’ imitations of these characters are “natural”—when, in fact, they are deeply acculturated.
I ran a race a couple of weekends ago. Following the race, teams lined up to get their pictures taken. A team of college-aged girls lined up in front of the camera, then turned around, bent over with their hands on their knees, and smiled coyly back at the camera.
That’s learned behavior. It’s born of the mythology of “woman” that is given to girls.