Culture

Feminist Internet: Harry Potter Perpetuates Rape Culture

Apparently, it is never acceptable to write a story about love potions.

According to a piece on Feminist Internet, the Harry Potter series perpetuates rape culture because there are love potions involved in a couple of the storylines — and that’s “glaringly problematic.”

“[The] very existence of love potions is so akin to rape that it is almost entirely undebatable,” Emma Lord states in a piece for the feminist blog Bustle titled “The Unexpected Way Harry Potter Perpetuates Rape Culture.” “Just like in rape, the victim’s autonomy is taken from them.”

One example she cites is when Merope, the mother of the evil villain Voldemort, uses a love potion on another character, Tom Riddle, Sr., to get him to marry and have a kid with her. The other is when Ron eats some love-potion-laced candy that Romilda Vane had intended to have Harry eat in order to seduce him.

“I’m surprised . . . [that] the fandom hasn’t touched on one of the most glaringly problematic things in the series: the existence and free use of love potions,” she writes.

Now call me crazy, but I’m actually not surprised that a “fandom” hasn’t been fuming over the fact that a series about magic contains magic in its storylines. Harry Potter is about witches and wizards, and what makes witches and wizards witches and wizards is that they cast spells and use potions  – which, by the way, are not real.

Elsewhere in the piece, Lord states that her particular problem with Harry Potter’s potion storylines is the way that potion-ing is portrayed. She maintains that there’s “a sense in the narrative that Tom ‘deserves’ it for being an inexcusable jerk, or that Ron ‘deserves’ it for meddling in Harry’s business.”

#share#Is this true? Maybe, maybe not, but according to her own argument, it actually doesn’t matter. After all, she herself states that the very “existence” of love potions in Harry Potter is a problem. That is, it wouldn’t even even matter how the use of the potions had been portrayed, because the fact that they were used at all makes this work of literature  – and, by extension, any work of literature that features them — automatically offensive.

Sorry, but that’s stupid.

#related#I mean, sure, I’d totally agree that drugging someone into loving you would be a very not-chill thing to do. But — Lord! —  if a story featured nothing but its characters behaving perfectly, then there would be none of this thing called “conflict,” which is, you know, what makes stories stories.

But whatever. If Lord has a problem with basic plot structure, then I guess that’s fine. In fact, she should just go ahead and write a book where there’s no conflict (maybe like a novel where all the characters just repeatedly ask each other for consent over and over again until it eventually abruptly ends?) and see how it sells. I mean — so long as she made sure that all gender identities, races, nationalities, religions, sexualities, and levels of ability were equally represented — I’m sure it would be popular as hell.

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