Stereotypes: was Racism in Harry Potter IV

bill-sarah at mindspring.com bill-sarah at mindspring.com
Tue Jul 18 19:30:35 EDT 2000


> Tanaqui said:
>
>
> > I found the racist Quidditch World Cup almost more than I
> > could bear  (the nasty foreigners pretend not to speak English,
> > or mangle her with outrageous accents, they commit
> > unremitting but unavailing fouls, they blag seats, they have
> > siren-harpy cheerleaders who bamboozle the opposition and
> > nobble the ref. - albeit causing a problem for one of their own
> > players).


There's also a bit of (not sure exactly what the precise phrase is) anti-fat
person sentiment.  You'll notice that Dudley is primarily described by his
greediness, which shows as fat.  Harry, on the other hand, is said to be
skinny, despite the fact that he, too, loads up on candies and cakes at
every oppurtunity.  Crabbe and Goyle are also big, though I'm not sure if
they're fat or just large. . . the only good main character who isn't skinny
is Hagrid, and he's part giant.
Conversely, in DWJ, being fat isn't the defining characteristic of a person.
The two that come to mind are Brenda from Power of Three and Roger and Julia
from Charmed Life.  Oh, and Nan from Witch Week.  In Brenda and Nan's cases,
it seems to be something that's part of another problem, and will be solved
with that problem.  Brenda, towards the end, skips lunch to help the three,
saying that "it'll do me good to slim!"  Nan, obviously unhappy, is pudgy,
but I seem to remember that that's resolved some towards the end.  As for
Julia, Janet remarks in one story or another (either Carol Oneir's Hundreth
Dream or Stealer of Souls) that she thinks that Julia will grow up, lose
weight, and become quite pretty.  My point here is that DWJ doesn't just use
the stereotypes or accept them at face value.  I'm probably being too
sensitive, but I go to a woman's college, and I've taken those classes that
point out negative and derogatory stereotypes, and everybody who takes them
gets quite sensitive. . . .

Lizzie, who is a camp counselar and is hosting a Harry Potter discussion
group tomorrow.  (I believe that I will mention DWJ.  Hh he.  Captive
audience.)

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