As Recklesley and the rest of humanity celebrates the transition of Daniel Radcliffe (and his alter ego Harry Potter) from boyhood to stud muffin, a select group of honest and brave academics are taking up the story that the mainstream media chooses not to cover, and JK Rowling’s naive readers do not wish to hear. Much like the brave Xenophilius Lovegood, Tison Pugh and David L. Wallace are breaking the story which may well save our lives in their article, “Heteronormative Heroism and Queering the School Story in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.” Although Pugh and Wallace find many admirable things to say about the Harry Potter series, such as the post-feminist landscape the book conjures for young children, they also worry about Harry’s tendency to fall back on heteronormative ideals of heroism. In case you didn’t attend a crazy liberal undergraduate institution, this basically means every time Harry wants to be strong and ditch Hermione and Ron to pursue Voldemort, he is breaking with the thematic structure of the book that celebrates difference and aberration to return to his caveman roots. This has severe implications:
“The danger of heteronormative heroism in the Harry Potter books is that it potentially reinscribes the problematic heterosexual/homosexual binary that critics such as Michel Foucault, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Jonathan Ned Katz identify as both policing desires and the identities constructed around those desires. This binary serves not only to stigmatize homosexuality and other expressions of sexual queerness; it also contributes to a concept of masculinity that marginalizes women and narrows the range of socially acceptable behaviors for men in ways that work to the detriment of all humanity.”
For those still in the dark about what this actually means, and what tangible impact it can have on your life, Eve Sedgwick makes the argument simpler, “Finally, this attempt to write a pure space where sexual deviancy does not exist will always result in a universal omnicide.”
Your scar going to get us out of this, Harry?
Speaking of jerks, the free market isn’t helping things either.
“The elevation of the family to ideological preeminence guarantees that a capitalist society will reproduce not just children, but heterosexism and homophobia.”
– John D’Emilio