Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hermione Granger, you should be Ashamed of Yourself

When discussing the dearth of positive female role models, I often hear Hermione Granger cited as an example to look up to. True, she is a major character who is seen and respected as capable in her own rights. She also flies in the face of tradition by being able to battle, and not always just tagging along with the boys, but is clearly independent in both thought and action. I see these as all Good Things which I hope that young girls would aspire to.

But here's The Thing. I think that Hermione is the epitome of how women have moved from wanting to 'have it all' to 'having to do it all'.

Now, firstly, I have no problem with anyone who would like to have both a job and children. I find it very odd that the two appear to be mutually exclusive, if certain points of view are taken into account. I'm not a great historian, although I have quite an interest in history, and I am unaware of any society  when people stopped working in order to have children, or when no children were born because society was needing more cash to build up their economy. Every society has always managed to combine work and children, so women wanting that seems, to me, to be erm, normal. Laudable, even, rather than some kind of criticism.

But now it appears that modern women are expected not only to have a job, but also to provide the entire support system demanded of a 1950s housewife - a full time job in itself. And this is where my gripe with Granger begins. Who has all the information and knowledge gleaned from hours of research? Hermione. Who carries all the necessities of daily life in her chic-if-you're-a-teenager-but-really-a-mum-bag-in-disguise? Hermione. Who tends to the sick? Hermione. Campaigns for the downtrodden? Hermione. Takes care of people's feelings? Tidies up? Carries the fecking tent and makes the beds? Yep, you guessed it. Hermione.

Harry sits around in angst-ridden gloom, getting all the glory. Ron is a typical teenage boy, emotionally illiterate, and doing a runner when the going gets tough.

And Hermione does EVERYTHING ELSE. She is mother, girlfriend, best friend, nurse, housemaker etc etc. She does get some admiration for it, but how often do any characters say 'let me get that for you H'? or 'it's my turn, have a nap'? Never. She simply slips neatly into the role of provider-of-all with barely a flicker of an eyelash, and STILL she comes out fighting when needed.

So, Hermione, take your wand and wander off for some me time. Get selfish. Put a spell on those boys that makes them pick up their own socks or carry the books. Fill that bottomless pit of a purse with stuff that YOU would like  - movies and popcorn, make-up or books for light reading. Basically, take your wand waving, bag toting, all-knowing, loving, nursing, dancing, reading, bed-making, tent-providing, magic making, spell-binding, instant-healing, hair-flicking, problem-solving, eye-candy dress-wearing OFF our screens, and go and do something for yourself.

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