The need for new mythology

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.

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One response to “The need for new mythology

  • Mandy

    I know I am saying this as a feminist and as a harry potter fan but I honestly believe that you are off the mark here. Yes, Hermione was attacked by the basilisk (but other male characters were as well attacked) and is the typical ‘Smart girl’ Hell even in the second book we have a young girl being captured and used by a much older male. The point was that those things were bad and if Hermione had not been attacked the whole thing would have over and done with because she had solved the mystery of what had been attacking the students. Hermione is a far better witch in the series than harry or Ron and she is never ever shadowed by the male characters in the story, in fact there more times that i can count that Hermione sticks up for herself as a female and a feminist in the series even when she is knocked back by the more ‘traditionalist’ characters She even goes to the point accept and even fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Even in the series there is a character that is devoted to the male main antagonist is beaten by an another awesome matriarchal character later in the series. J.k Rowling created some amazing female/women role models in this series and I do not think it’s fair to disqualify them just because a badly done adaption shows one aspect of a character. The movies do even come close to showing the characters in their proper light and i seriously recommend you read the books and watch the movies after…you will have a far better appreciation for the female characters and understand why so many people have praised J.k. Rowling for the work she did.

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