I hate to write this, because I love Andy…But I do not love the way that he treats Ann and her new boyfriend Mark after she dumps him, nor do I love the way that the show frames his actions as cute, affectionate, and distinctly nonthreatening. Andy’s continued harassment and monitoring of Ann is not violent, but a big man following someone around and refusing to leave a former partner in peace carries the baggage of domestic violence; just because Andy is a "nice guy" does not mean that he cannot be violent. This refusal to take Andy’s creepy and unwanted attention as a seriously flawed pattern of entitled behavior that goes beyond his goofy personality reflects a cultural desire to re-frame a scary and dangerous pattern of behavior disproportionately targeted at women as an affectionate and romantic way of showing concern.
Speaking out against her peers’ devaluation of house-elves is a brave move befitting the best parts of Hermione’s character…But in forming SPEW, she uses her oppression as license to act as an authority, as a leader for folks who experience oppression she did not. This is a grave mistake common to people of privilege in social justice movements: she centers and prioritizes her skewed and unsuitable vision of what house-elf protection means over the concerns of house-elves.
Yeah, but also… this is a problem of the writing. Rowling wrote the Elves as passive and having internalised their enslavement to the point where they could never actually think outside it (even Dobby feels the taboos around criticising Wizards). When they finally do rebel against Wizards, its in the aid of other Wizards. Rather than Rowling getting into the wherefores of this, it’s made into a running joke at the expense of both Hermione and Elves, reinforcing the worldview of the most privileged male characters. In the end, Harry and Ron’s views about Elves are supported by the narrative, while Hermione’s is denied and the Elves’ completely ignored.
nodnod agreed that it’s suspect (“rigged,” I would say) the degree to which the elves did not care for freedom.
oh that part ALWAYS annoyed me SO much because it was just too damn reminiscent of the whole white liberal “but they LIKE working in sweatshops” bullshit. while i liked HP enough to read through them all as escapism i think that plotline was actually one of the major reasons i could never really get into it as much as other folks. threw me off too much/ made me too upset.
Writer of the piece dropping in to say that I absolutely agree that that’s a HUGE problem with the series - one I don’t have a great grasp of, which is why I haven’t written about it in great depth yet. It also extends to the way centaurs, giants, and goblins are written IMO. I acknowledge the problem in the text linked above, but not in as much depth as I think the issue deserves.
“Part of the mechanics of oppressing people is to pervert them to the extent that they become the instruments of their own oppression.”—Kumasi, activist, in the 2008 documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America.
ANYWAY this is usually the point where I go to bed and try again in the morning
[Image is a triptych,* three photoshop panels featuring a concerned Wren from Riot Nrrd in purple outline looking to the right from the left side of the frame. In the top she is surrounded by stars squigglies and “OH NO”. Second has a cloud with Nih’s happy face looking left with BUH beneath. Third has Nhi again, pointing at a device of some sort (vibrator maybe?) with It’s the Fuken SHITT** beneath.]
GPO my writing process half the time.
*satah might have taught me this word. the wonder of transcripts!
I blame it all on you. I blame you for my lack of interest in book-learnin’ and my schoolwork. And my inability to sleep for more than 7 hours at a time. I hate you. “My So-Called Life” is new on InstantWatch? OF COURSE. GREAT. Now I will get nothing done before dinner tonight. Are you happy, Netflix? Is this what you wanted? INTERVENTION NEEDED. You’re no good for me.
Love, Sarah Fitz
PS, I love you so much please don’t leave me
I blame Netflix for each one of the dishes in my sink.
Also the fact that I haven’t taken a shower today.
Hermione’s exercise of oppression is not immediately apparent; she herself is the most major character who experiences the focal point of oppression in the books: she is Muggle-born, and is in constant danger because of her birth. She is also a woman, and though sexism seems to be a less-than-significant problem in the magic world, as a girl raised partially in the Muggle world she is acutely aware of sexism, and she frequently counters Ron and Harry’s sexism. But she confuses the authority with which she speaks on these experiences with authority on all oppression, and uses that confidence to silence and threaten house-elves through SPEW and her unwanted hats. Like many of us who experience and fight both sides of inequality, she uses her privilege to enforce another form of the system of oppresson that implicates us all, kyriarchy.