Sexism in Harry Potter, plus Cynthia Voigt, DWJ & other rambles

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Oct 4 04:31:18 EDT 2000


Replying mostly to Lizzie and Sallyo (and Andrew) in this:

It's funny, because when the thread about Pamela Dean and elitism was going
on, I was thinking about Cynthia Voigt, who dealt with the issue of
academic-type intelligence and lack thereof in some of the Tillerman books.
I was thinking that Voigt seemed more in line with what someone else
perceived to be DWJ's slant - that you don't look down on someone who just
hasn't got it, but only on someone who refuses to use it.  I know someone
else on the list put down one of Voigt's books (_A Solitary Blue_ maybe?)
as a favourite on the survey, but can't for the life of me remember who.
For anyone who's read any though, IMO the character of Maybeth, and the way
the other (smarter) kids in the family relate to her, is amazingly
well-done.

But now Voigt's books came to mind in the Sexism in HP thread as well.
_Homecoming_ was written in '81, and weirdly seems to be exactly the story
Sally described, in a realistic book!  There are three books told from
Dicey's pov, and Dicey is a heroic character, flaws and all.  There is some
connection somewhere for me again between the way Voigt wrote a heroic
female character, and the way DWJ did it (F&H being the most obvious
example).

I  haven't read HP4, so can't comment on that, but I certainly found the
female characters disappointing in the others.  And Lizzie, FWIW, Cara
(aged 10), Becca (aged 14) and I (aged 42) all agree with you 100%, so if
it is late adolescent idealism, we may all be in trouble!

And finally, I have to admit that I can't see Buffy as pushing the cause
forward.  Maybe I'm too cynical here, but gorgeous girl, wearing tight
clothes and kicking butt, while seeming pretty feather-brained except when
she's saving the world, just doesn't do it for me. (And I do like Buffy -
though I watched it much more in the beginning, and am not up-to-date, so
forgive me if these quibbles are behind the times.)

Hallie.


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