What non-Harry Potter fans don’t get about Rowling’s transphobia controversy
The transphobes think her detractors are just random haters who always join any hate bandwagons. The pro-trans group think her defenders are either transphobic Harry Potter fans or zealous fanboys and fangirls who always defend their idols even when they are wrong.
Both sides are right; some people love joining hate bandwagons and many Potheads are indeed a bunch of sentient diarrhea (remember how they treated Katie Leung?). But, they are only partially right. In reality, many of her detractors are also her own fans.
Well, more like former fans who hate her while still loving her works. We hate her because she loves preaching about acceptance through Harry Potter and yet she ends up as a well-known hate preacher. We believe she must be held accountable not only for her bigotry, but also for her hypocrisy.
For many fans, Harry Potter inspires them to be more accepting of fellow human beings regardless of the trivial differences; in fact, a “study” (which must be taken with grains of salt) even claimed that reading Harry Potter decreases our chance of becoming bigoted.
Obviously, it is ludicrous to think works of art and entertainment can single-handedly mould our worldview. But, they certainly can be inspire us to think and feel in a certain way. It is remarkable if you actually know how Potheads perceive the series throughout the years.
It is a popular belief that Potheads started criticising Rowling when she mindlessly extended the worldbuilding through her bizarre tweets. But, their criticism against her and her works had been ongoing for much longer.
In the late 2000’s or early 2010’s, I loved browsing the internet for Harry Potter-related blogposts and sites. Not only I gained more facts about the HP universe (as I still haven’t read the first three novels and I might miss certain details), I also gained more perspectives about it.
And that was when they pointed out the problematic aspects of the series. Hogwarts’ disregard of its students’ welfare (e.g. having Snape ‘teaching’ his students), the mocking depiction of Hermione’s elf-right activism and the nonchalant depiction of love potion AKA magical date rape drug, just to name a few. That was one of my first exposure to critical analyses of entertainment.
Either those potheads got inspired by the moral gist of her works despite the complication OR they were already more progressive than Rowling ever was. Both make sense to me.
It is very easy for us to overlook problematic elements when they are small details or are subtextual; we may take heed of them long after we get the overall moral messages. While it is not always the case, it shouldn’t be a suprise that the younger generation is more progressive than its predecessor.
What’s the point of my babbling?
I do acknowledge that Harry Potter fandom has venomous individuals among ourselves; some undoubtedly defend Rowling’s transphobia (and, again, remember how they treated Katie Leung). But, we should also acknowledge the Potheads who are not only more enlightened than she is, but also have been scrutinising her works long before it was cool to do so.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the potheads, the backlash against her wouldn’t be as severe and, if it wasn’t for non-fans chiming in, the support for her wouldn’t be as strong.
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