The Sexism Cursing Hermione Granger | Weaving Pages: The Sexism Cursing Hermione Granger

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Sexism Cursing Hermione Granger

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Hermione Granger is one of the first literary heroines I had upon my shelves, and forever will be. The brightest witch of her age, she is famous for always knowing the answer to everything and thinking expulsion to be worse than death. Yet it seems even she doesn't escape society's sexist standards, particularly when it comes to the role models of young women and girls today.

I Never Wanted to Be Hermione Granger

Harry Potter has followed me throughout the years since the age of around nine, where the famed trio's adventures were yet another thing I could not shut-up about. I own Deathy Hallows earrings, and a time-turner necklace. Particularly at the age of ten, my love was not something to be taken lightly. I wanted to be like them, to learn magic and go to Hogwarts; to have adventures. Yet, I can't honestly tell you that I ever wanted to be Hermione.

Ever since I can remember, Ginny was the one to be. Ten year old me didn't care about the fact that Hermione was a vital part in Voldemort's defeat, or that she was successful, smart and not ashamed to fight for her beliefs. Ginny was beautiful, she had plenty of friends and was brilliant at Quidditch. She and Harry had this brilliant relationship that as a kid I dreamed of; Ginny was who I wanted to be. Desperately, I would want to be like her, instead of the girl who ends up crying in the bathroom because everyone else makes fun of her for being smart.

Now, more than half a decade later, I can finally appreciate the ridiculousness of this. Maybe it's the fact that I now identify as a feminist with a capital F, or that I discovered speaking up for your beliefs actually makes you feel kind of good. Or maybe it's the fact that I no longer deny that, like Hermione, I am a brunette who without having braces would still have the teeth the dentist told me made me look like a vampire. Or that I realise there is not point pretending that I didn't spend a good three hours revising for mocks and that- shock horror -I actually enjoy answering questions in class. If there was a book character designed to be like me, I feel almost certainly that it would be Hermione Granger.

Beauty > Intelligence

I hate that it took me this long to realise that I'm proud to be like Hermione. We live in a world that teaches nine year olds that it is better to be beautiful than it is to be smart. We shame women for intelligence, branding them as prententious or bossy. We tell them they need to have a voice, and then call them aggressive or- my favourite -ask if they're on their period. I'm tired of being made to feel ashamed for having aced my latest English essay, and I'm sick of the fact that  'opinionated' for a man signifies assertiveness whilst for a woman it shows someone as callous and rude.

For years, we have celebrated Hermione for punching Draco Malfoy. What about the fact she was so desperate to learn, that she was willing to go back in time to do so? Or the fact she set up her own society, albeit with a hastily chosen name, to protect the rights of house elves? Yet Hermione is often remembered for her rashness, or for the fact she looked pretty at the Yule ball.

Don't Be Shamed for Who You Are

Next time you compliment somebody, try telling them they are intelligent, that they are kind and strong before you think to tell them that they are pretty. We must stop reducing women to the way they look, because it just encourages a culture where we tell women they will never be anything more than their beauty. We need to make it so that little girls don't renounce strong, smart role models simply because society tells them that isn't what you should be.

Equally, we can't fall into a trap of setting rigid requirements for what we should be. It doesn't matter if you are like Hermione, or if you are like Ginny, or Luna or Fleur; you are equally as important as anyone else. What is wrong is to let yourself be defined by unachievable standards set by society. Never let yourself be shamed for who you are. Be Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny or Fleur, but most of all be proud.

Have you ever felt this way about a character, be it Hermione Granger or someone completely different?

To me, this is yet another example of the everyday sexism that is ingrained in our society, serving only to limit and shame women. A brilliant project that highlights even more examples of this is the Everyday Sexism project, where women all around the globe are sharing their stories of how sexism affects their everyday lives. We finally have a voice through projects such as these, so I definitely have a look at the website- it might surprise you how much you can relate to it.

rita xo

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