Cat (willowisp) wrote,

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Harry Potter and the Feminist Rants

Now that dust is settled and more people have finished the book, I'm seeing a lot of posts from people who are furious with the epilogue. We discover the fate of the four people mentioned in the cut tag, two apiece of female and male, and the gist of the rants is that those who are female have children and are married to the fathers thereof. The fury comes from there being no mention of careers or jobs outside of the house for the female characters.

[On a side note, I'm happy to see that most or all of the rants have acknowledged that staying home and being a housewife does not instantly render the woman inferior/weak. They seem to want to make it clear that they don't look down at stay-at-home moms, which is a nice change from the ridicule heaped upon stay-at-home moms in the feminist platforms I saw while growing up.]

What confuses me is that neither of the males are mentioned as having jobs either. There is no hint of "Ok, time for work, have dinner ready and the house properly cleaned by the time I get home". In fact, for all we know the husbands are stay-at-home dads and it's the wives who have careers. The thing is, the epilogue says nothing about the job status of the four people at all, and yet all of the people posting feminist rants are assuming that the men have jobs and the women are housewives.

I'm not quite sure what to make of that. Perhaps JK Rowling has given people reason to believe that all moms are stay-at-home in the witching world, and I've just completely missed it. It could also be that I misread the epilogue, although comments on the posts seem to indicate that other people got the same feeling I did; that the four characters' status as anything other than spouses and parents is left completely out of the equation.

Please note that I'm not accusing the posters of straw-man arguments. In fact, when confronted with the observation that it did not indicate the employment status of the male characters, most of the posters said something along the lines of "Oh wow, that's true". Most of them went on to say immediately that it was too bad the careers and/or activities of the female characters weren't mentioned.

I'm no great fan of the epilogue. I would have liked to see what shockwaves, if any, went through the muggle vs witching worlds as the result of the ending of the book proper. I wish we could have seen what happened to other surviving characters. It's just sad, perhaps, that even when something like job status is left ambiguous, people still believe extra clarification is needed to show that women don't default to one set path.
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