“No, she did not! Shut up! You are stupid and Rowling is The Queen! The Queen can do no wrong.” Yells the inner fangirl in me. She kept on hissing on me while I wrote this article. “She is the one who gave you the house of Slytherin that you are so proud of, you ungrateful pig!” I ignored her as I really needed to write this piece.
So it happened that on Twitter I was having this very pleasant discussion about Harry Potter with my good friend Ryan P Freeman and one thing lead to another and he said he feels that guy side of romantic chemistry does not sit well with him. I was intrigued and obviously wanted more details on it and let’s be real Twitter is really not the best place for details, so I suggested he write a blog post about it. Guess what, he did! You can read his thoughts on the matter here. You really should.
While I agreed with many great points he made, I had a different perspective on some, so he suggests I should write a blog post of my own. So hope on guys while I dissect masculinity in Harry Potter series.
Disclaimer: This is not a critique on J.K. Rowling’s writing skill to whom I hold at a very high and prestigious spot of The Queen in my writer’s heaven, but it is about portrayal or masculinity in literature and expectations of male readers towards it.
Why Rowling Should Have Known Better?
The argument is that with a Male lead, obviously target audience was anticipated to be majorly young boys even before the release of the book and hence Joanne Rowling was suggested by her publisher that a female name for an author might hurt her case. As much as my blood boils at this prejudice against female authors in the publishing industry and reading community, I have a point to make here. She knew she is writing for a majorly male audience, or at least half of her audience will be teenage boys who will probably grow as Harry grow. She should have matured Harry’s perspective as a male lead, not, let’s say a gender neutral person. You don’t think Harry was gender neutral? Let’s see.
No toxic Masculinity
Harry was a lean, skinny and underfed kid who was bullied at home and school but that was mostly because he was Harry and among all the mean remarks none were directed towards his physical aspects or manliness. A bully like Draco or Dudley will never simply overlook such an opportunity to ridicule. Also, steroid abuse is one of the adverse consequences of toxic masculinity in real life. There were magical potions all around the castles, how come no one ever attempted to upgrade their manhood. I mean that would have been hilarious as hell if gone wrong.
Also probably due to lack of a proper father figure in his life (let’s be Sirius, he was not around much and was not really a good role model), Harry lacked in ‘Manly’ things. There were plenty of ‘manly things’ that Hermione was better at than him or Ron, like setting up a tent, setting Snape on fire and pulling up a security wall, yet no one brought it up to tease Harry or Ron for not being man enough or being sissy, not even by Fred and George. Addressing such issues could have created some awareness and had made the story more relatable.
By the time J.K. Rowling was writing the teenage Harry Potter she had zero experience in parenting a teenage child, so she had no real experience of teenage tantrums. Let me be clear on the subject they are emotional, irrational and raging with temper for no other reason then hormones. Hogwarts was full of teenagers and it makes me think what was keeping the castle together. With teenage boys empowered by magic and all the crazy stuff at their disposal how the small number of Hogwarts staff holding it up? Harry himself didn’t get in enough fights to be a standard teenage boy, but we have established that he was not that, but everyone else including Ron, Nivel, Seamus, Dean, and boys from other houses, there were no real fits of anger, yelling and fights. Were they putting some tranquilizers or anti-hormonal in the Hogwarts food?
Sexy was missing
I understand J.K. Rowling was writing for very young readers, but let’s have some reality check. As Harry and his mates grew in age, so did the readers. Although an 11-year-old boy normally does not pays attention towards the sexiness of his age fellows (because there isn’t any) as puberty hits and girls start to develop, boys, do start paying attention. So by third or fourth book Harry and his buddies should be noticing things. Like not the ‘she looked pretty’ kind of thing, guys don’t think like that. I am a female and I know teenage boys can have the wildest of wild imagination.
No Bang Bang
Provided girls could just walk into boys’ dormitory and there were plenty of empty classrooms all we see is Percy kissing his girlfriend in book two. There had to be more to that. Hogwarts castle was full of hormone raging teenagers with very little adult supervision and practically no sex education. Ok, Harry had a lot on his plate to be involved in such behavior but how come he never overheard any such discussions. Teenager males are bound to boast about such stuff as per my understanding. And what about ‘Fetus Deletus’ Why it was never mentioned. I mean if Rowling had discussed abortions in Harry Potter probably Americans might have been taking more sensible decisions right now.
Why do I think Rowling did That?
Was she trying to tone down the toxic masculinity on purpose? While some argue that Rowling consciously let contemporary masculinity win over traditional masculinity, I don’t believe so. In her male-dominated magical world Husbands were majorly responsible for earning and wives for household and children. Men made decisions and women complied. Most authoritative roles (Minister of Magic, School Head and most Heads of Houses) were male with females as there second in command. She just hushed up the influence of hormones on teenagers. It is likely that Rowling feared that her books have to be P.G. rated otherwise parents wouldn’t let the kids buy them. Or to cut her some slack maybe she was just not that aware of working of teenage boys’ mind and body.
The only logical (and non-magical) explanation to all these major plot holes I have is that they were probably putting female hormone-based birth control in the Hogwarts meals. This will explain the lack of tantrums, lack of sex drive and zero need for Fetus Deletus.
What do you think about this? Please let me know in the comment section. Thank you for reading my non-sense fangirl post.