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Jumping into Harry Potter Meta - Mo's Journal
May 30th, 2006
02:02 pm

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Jumping into Harry Potter Meta
Oh, I suppose I should precede this with “I have a bad feeling about this.” I'm a little frightened since it seems that so much in HP meta gets so heated. On the other hand, a lot of the topics seem very interesting. I'm not in HP fandom. I'm a fan in the sense that I love the books but I don't belong to any of the HP communities and I have read very little of the fanfic, so I mostly don't know what I'm talking about, not that that has ever stopped me before.

I started by writing a comment on an entry in another journal, only it got too long for that. I won’t mention where I was trying to comment because it was f-locked, but it probably doesn’t matter. The topic was one that I’ve been reading a lot about lately in a few places: the controversy over “Is Ginny a slut?” It must be a pretty actively discussed question, since without being in any HP communities or reading any HP fanfic I keep hearing about it. I was surprised by it the first time I heard it, and now I’m mostly dismayed.

My claim to brilliance (well, my kids think it was brilliant) was that when Ginny Weasley showed up for about two seconds in the first book I said she would end up with Harry. I really saw no other reason for Ron to have a sister. The way I see it, the core of the tension in the Harry/Ron friendship is that Harry wants Ron’s family and Ron wants Harry’s fame. So in the final book that tension is resolved when Ron distinguishes himself in a big way and Harry and Ginny get married, or at least engaged. My brilliance was revealed to my kids {g} in HBP when the Harry/Ginny romance becomes canon. I have some quibbles with how Ginny was portrayed (basically it seems out of character to me, based on what we know of her before, that she doesn’t respond to Harry’s noble “I can’t be with you because my enemies would take advantage of my love for you” with “Screw that! We’ll fight them together") but that's kind of neither here nor there. I think in general Ginny is depicted as someone worthy of the hero of the series – resourceful, plucky, able to endure all manner of problem with her basic goodness intact and a mostly positive outlook on life.

So, I think it strange that anyone would think that JKR is writing her to be a “slut.” Let me further say that I think calling a teenage girl a “slut” or “whore” or “the school bicycle” because she has three boyfriends in as many years is pretty disgusting and reflects badly on the person who says it, not the person it’s said about, whether the object of that slur is real or fictional. I think that view shows both a misogynistic and a sex-negative bias. I think others, carlanime in particular, have spoken well on this theme and I won’t add to it, because I don’t think I have anything interesting to add.

One side issue that interests me, though, is the question of whether the kids at Hogwarts do have sex. A lot of the “Ginny is/isn’t a slut” question seems to devolve into whether or not she really had sex with those three boys, rather than just “snogging” them. It’s still misogynistic and indicative of a double standard to label her a slut if she did, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also intrigued by the question itself: Did Ginny have sex with her boyfriends? More generally, do the students at Hogwarts have sex?

I mean, on the surface, it’s a simple question to answer: they don’t in the books and movies; they do in the fanfic. But part of what fanfic does is fill in the stuff that we don’t see. Part of what I deem quality in fanfic is that it can feel more real than canon by that filling in process. So, aside from what isn’t shown in the books, should we assume that kids at Hogwarts don’t have sex?

I found the following comment to the post I was originally commenting on:

it would be a strange co-ed boarding school where no one was having sex

I think it's fair to say that Hogwarts is a strange co-ed boarding school. {g} But if we take that strange school and try to make it as much like a real school as we can, what do we get?

It seems to me that a really salient point is that these are books written for children. Sex is edited out of it before it's written, in effect. The reader can assume that some of the characters are having sex (the married ones, perhaps, for starters) but sexual behavior is neither depicted in the narrative nor discussed. The closest JKR ever gets to mentioning sexual activity that I know of is in HBP when Dumbledore says that the townspeople thought that Merope had tricked Tom Riddle into marrying her by getting pregnant (but it's clear that they are wrong and she did not conceive until after they are married). Bill and Fleur - who are engaged, for Something’s sake – sleep in separate rooms; boys aren't allowed in girls' dorm rooms at Hogwarts; wild and abandoned behavior by romantic couples during the last war was throwing caution to the wind by getting married.

None of this is how real people behave. I would certainly assume (pretending for the moment that they are real people) that at least some of them are having sex some of the time. We don’t take the fact that Arthur’s and Molly’s sex life is not referred to at all as evidence that they aren’t sexually active, and we shouldn’t for anyone else. Most people do have sex at some point in their lives. Many begin doing so during their teen years. It’s unlikely that all of that “snogging” described in HBP would be totally unaccompanied by sexual activity beyond kissing, if they were real people. So, one could view the kissing as representing more advanced sexual activity which JKR chose (for obvious reasons) not to describe.

I do think that one should assume that some and not all of the kids who are dating are having sex. How many? Who knows? It’s all imposed on the text anyway, since the text is purposely written to be unrealistic in that respect, following the convention that sex is not discussed in children’s books (although mass murder and torture to the point of insanity are not adult topics unsuitable for innocent children).

My general assumption in the real world is that most people have sex, and that people who are in couples are having sex with each other. I don’t think about it much. I don’t sit around saying “Soandso’s married. I bet she and her husband have sex.” I think it would be absurd to do so. I think it is absurd when people apply that IT’S ALL SEX view to gay people, as heterosexuals often do in our society. But I do think most people in couples have sex, and I think 15/16 is a very frequent age for first sexual experiences, so I would think it a reasonable assumption that Ginny does indeed have sex with at least one of those boyfriends, and wouldn’t think it unusual if she had with all three.

How that sexual behavior in a teenage girl would be judged depends on how sexuality and sexual behavior are viewed by the person making the judgment. It seems to me that whether Ginny was only snogging or whether she was having some form of genital sex with one or more of those boys, she’s well within expected range of behavior for a person of her age. I also think that any and all of those behaviors – from kissing to various sexual activities, from one boyfriend to three – are morally neutral ones. On the other hand, I’m no longer surprised that some readers view her negatively for her presumed sexual adventurism. After all, in canon her own brothers feel similarly, and the canon itself presents such a negative view of sex that it’s not mentioned at all. So, it can certainly be a comfortable fantasy world for those who have a negative view of female sexuality. It makes sense that those with that kind of Weltanschauung would judge her negatively for presumed sexual activity. And that’s kind of where I came in on this one.

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From:chimosa
Date:May 30th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
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I don't have anything profound or insightful to add, I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading this bit of meta.

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From:mofic
Date:May 30th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
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I live to serve!
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From:mofic
Date:May 30th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
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The thing that strikes me again and again, both in the books and the films, is that Hogwarts feels more to me like when WE were growing up than now (or for me, when my brother was, really). Do you get the same vibe? 1960s? Bren Kuebler kinda felt the same -- public school when she was there

I went to public school in the USAmerican sense :-) but I do think it's got a bit of an archaic feel to it. I think - like most things in the HP books - Hogwarts is a bit of a hodgepodge. It's public school as reflected in popular literature (of the lighter variety) with some other elements thrown in. I remember early on reading an essay (wish I knew who wrote it or what it was called - it was quite good) by a man who had been through the English public school system talking about how JKR remembers it so fondly because she never experienced it and is only going by the light-hearted descriptions in Wodehouse et al.

In terms of other elements - well, she's made Hogwarts coed and multi-racial, too, as a nod to feminism and ethnic diversity. But women are still presented mostly as enacting very traditional gender roles. The expectation is that even the smart and competent ones (like Molly Weasley) become housewives. And I think the traditional gender roles are reflected in the greater restrictions on girls than on boys, which you point out. They don't need to put restrictions on the boys' rooms because it is the girls' reputations that are being protected. It reminds me of the parietal rules at colleges in this country (before my time, but I remember hearing about them). They were all about appearances, not about preventing sex at all.

I wonder about pregnancy. Would they have magical ways to prevent conception? No way to know since it's just not discussed.

Which brings me to homosexuality. Like you, I think the total lack of mention of any possibility of same sex sexual activity is complete denial that it's possible, not tacit acceptance. In that way it's like the public schools she bases Hogwarts on. There was tons of homosexual activity, but everyone pretended it wasn't happening.

Anyway, thanks for weighing in. You gave me lots of food for thought. I see you are at least knee deep in HP now. Have you given up on X-Men, do you think?
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From:lilacsigil
Date:May 31st, 2006 01:15 am (UTC)
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The school life really does seem to be coming from a previous era - either the 1930s or the 1950s, which certainly makes sense if you read Harry Potter as a British school story. That would match the lots-of-fooling-around-but-no-sex vibe of Ron and Lavender, the lack of awareness of same-sex attraction (let alone activity!), and the idea that girls can be trusted but boys can't. It also makes sense, in that time period, that Bill and Fleur sleep in separate rooms at his parents' house, as the prevailing standard (if not truth!) is no premarital sex. And it explains all the young marriages.

Ginny was a very oddly presented character in the later books: on the one hand, she's an athletic, smart-mouthed, pretty girl, on the other her brother worries that people think she's a slut. He seemed as concerned with the rumours as with her actual behaviour.
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From:mofic
Date:May 31st, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)
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That would match the lots-of-fooling-around-but-no-sex vibe of Ron and Lavender, the lack of awareness of same-sex attraction (let alone activity!), and the idea that girls can be trusted but boys can't

The interesting thing about all that, though, is it's not portrayed at all realistically. It's not that they fool around but the girl, as guardian of her worth which is held in her virginity, resists going further as the boy presses her to. It's not that girls can be trusted because they will say no to sex. It's as if they don't know that sex exists, as if snogging is all they know to do. It reminds me of the movie Pleasantville. Which just brings me back to pretending that sex does not exist, because these are children's books and - as minisinoo points out - JKR is not the kind of author who pushes the envelope on adult topics.

Ginny was a very oddly presented character in the later books: on the one hand, she's an athletic, smart-mouthed, pretty girl, on the other her brother worries that people think she's a slut. He seemed as concerned with the rumours as with her actual behaviour.

Absolutely. He's concerned with her reputation. And her reputation is damaged by kissing more than one boy because - again - kissing is all that exists. It's very weird, because OT1H there's a lot of very real teenage feeling in the books, I think. One of the things I like about them is how well she ages the characters - they really do grow into a very realistic adolescence in most respects. But OTOH an adolescence where the kids don't think or talk about sex (never mind doing it) is hard to believe in. Yet that's the adolescence of 1950s teen literature and movies and tv programs. It's certainly not the adolescence that was experienced in the 1950s or any other time, I don't think!
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From:tiferet
Date:May 31st, 2006 07:02 am (UTC)
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As someone who used to be very deeply involved in HP fandom (and in those segments thereof where Ginny is most heavily criticised) I think that most of the Ginny-hate has nothing to do with the number of boyfriends or what "base" they reached, but rather with her confession at the end of HBP that she never ever EVAR got over her crush on Harry that she had when she was 11 and that she was merely following Hermione's advice in dating other people and appearing not to be so interested.

"Slut" is not a very nice word (except when it's used to refer to oneself with a sense of empowerment) but I think it gets used a lot by people who are disgusted with the fact that Ginny seems to be using the boys she dates (either romantically or sexually) regardless of their feelings for her. There is not really a word for this when girls do it, but because a lot of girls have had it done to them by boys (usually boys who were willing to get it off with a lower status girl but were hoping to have a higher-status girlfriend--the kind of girl you take home to mother vs the kind of girl you take to McD's and make out with), I don't think they like thinking that a girl who does this is the big love of Harry's life.
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From:mofic
Date:May 31st, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
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Interesting theory, although I don't think it's really a very apt analogy. After all, Ginny doesn't date lower status boys and then go for the higher status one. She's got a case of unrequited love and looks elsewhere, which is quite a different thing, I think.

I don't know if you read the other comments in this thread, but Hermione's advice to her is a very common one from an older, wiser girl in 1950s teen literature. Girls were supposed to have several boyfriends. Being "popular" was supposed to make them more attractive. It all goes with the assumption that Sex Does Not Exist.

I'm feeling more and more like the explanation for the lack of sex that is being developed in this thread fits in very well with the Ginny character. I wonder if the hostility to her comes in part from combining a retro story with a sex-aware readership and misogyny and sexism. Hmmm. Thanks for your comment - it was food for interesting thought.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 1st, 2006 04:25 am (UTC)

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Whoa, very interesting topic. I am someone who read the first three books and decided to stop reading them until the last one come out (figured out reading the Wheel of Time series that I really really hate having to go back to multiple books to check on something I vaguely remembered and can't quite figure out where it came from). I didn't really get into the fan fic for a long time, then didn't read much of it anyway because so much of it [but not all of it I know, don't shoot me] is written by teenagers and I was really annoyed with some of the really immature characterizations, and stories. Don't let me get started, 'cuz there's a whole other topic there. Anywhoo, because of this I have gotten a alot of what went on in the books from the fanfic as well as seeing fan characterizations without the filter of having read the OSM. So from this perspective I think that 1) The depiction of Ginny as a 'slut' whenever the particular conversation that you are speaking of originated, is , I think, a combination of extrapolation from the text and fannish notions. I will often stop reading stories when they get to a point where they no longer require a suspension of disbelief and I am saying "Oh, for the love of God, give me a break!" every other scene or so. And I'm not a particular Ginny fan and I have still stopped reading some fan fic because of this with her. Some of it comes from rabid slashers who are convinced that she is the roadblock between Harry and Draco/Ron/Severus and some I think is also from the 'noone is too good for our boy' school.
But you know, children can be cruel, so can teenagers, and [as all Soap Opera watchers can attest] so can adults when they want to be. When we don't approve of someone's behavior, we rarely couch it in neutral terms. Especially if it is someone we don't know, and don't feel we will ever be held accountable for our actions or words. Look at how people react to Barry Bonds who has not been proven guilty of anything. This is true even moreso for fictional characters. And hell, look hard enough, you'll find someone who thinks Juliet was a hussy. But I will definitely agree that terms like the 'town bicycle' and 'whore' are just nasty and unnecessary.

I don't think that not mentioning sex in the books denotes a negative view of it, you yourself spoke of the convention of not describing sex in books meant for children. In addition, If I am not wrong, HP started out as stories for her children. Even my Mom who gave me 'the talk' when I was eleven probably wouldn't have written stories for me with sex in them. [I do agree with you about the violence and raise you the death of not only Harry's parents but also the two parental figures - Sirius and Albus - that he had gained.] I think no matter how many million copies she sells, what started for her children will always be for her children...and incidentally everybody else's. As for depictions of homosexuality, who's to say she ever thought about it? I'd say over 90% of the stories I read and the shows I see don't have gay characters in them. I count myself lucky if they have Black characters, let alone any other ethnic minority.

I have often thought that the age of the Wizarding World is closest to Victorian/pre WW I with some modern attitudes brought in mostly by those who come from the outside. It is a world that is insular and without any influence from the greater wizarding community (which one must assumes exists) or the dreaded 'muggle' influence, stagnant. But again, I think people often makes assumptions about the socio-political world of the book based on things that Rowling may never have thought of. Based on her interviews, she doesn't like fantasy or sword and sorcery books; she says she's never read Tolkein or Lewis, and after Harry Potter is over she never intends to write another book that has anything to do with magic. I wonder if she's done all the intricate world building exercises that some fantasy writers do where she works out complex 'bios' for such things as politics, religion, and sociopolitical realities. I never really got the idea that she did.

Damn, this is long! Sorry.
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From:mofic
Date:June 1st, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)

Re: From CC

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Don't be sorry. I thought about your comment all the way to work.

I agree that JKR seems not to have done a lot of "World Building." I think that is both the strength and the weakness of the books. Their charm - and a lot of the humor - comes in large part from how much like our own society the world she portrays is. It's the tweaking of modern society and the feeling that this really could be a hidden world coexisting with ours that I find most appealing. The downside is that by basing it in large part on real world and in medium part on the world as seen through other books there are a lot of inconsistencies. They probably would not be issues if there were only one book...

Getting back to sex :-) - I don't know what I want. You're right - I don't expect sex in books for children. I certainly wouldn't want her to be writing sex scenes. I guess I just don't like the kind of pretense that it doesn't exist. I do see that as a sex-negative view. But I'm not sure what would constitute not pretending sex doesn't exist but not writing sex scenes, either. Anyway, as a mother who reads the books to my kids, I am mostly happy with how she deals (or doesn't) with sex in the books, but I wouldn't want my kids to only be reading literature that doesn't acknowledge sexual relationships.

Okay, I'm just babbling. I'll stop now...
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From:connielane
Date:June 1st, 2006 01:03 pm (UTC)

Here via Daily Snitch

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Very interesting points. I've said quite a bit about the Ginny-hate already in various other places, so I won't get into that except to say once again that most of the "justification" I've seen made for it seems very silly.

basically it seems out of character to me, based on what we know of her before, that she doesn’t respond to Harry’s noble "I can’t be with you because my enemies would take advantage of my love for you" with "Screw that! We’ll fight them together"

I know this was kind of a side comment, but I think she reacts the way she does, not because she doesn't think (at least to herself) "Screw that! We'll fight them together." I think she's telling him what he needs to hear at that moment. He feels he needs to distance himself from her, and she understands that. I think she knows how difficult it is for him, and she doesn't want to make things worse by getting into an argument over it. I fully expect her to play (or try to play) a huge part in the Voldemort plot in Book 7, despite her calm acceptance of what Harry said at Dumbledore's funeral.

As for the sex stuff - I agree that there's more going on than can be talked about in a children's book. But I don't see Ginny as having gone that far with any of her boyfriends. First, I don't think it would have happened with Harry yet, since they only dated for a few weeks, and if it had happened, I think JKR would have found some (incredibly subtle) way to allude to it. I think the closest we get is the "particularly happy hour" spent by the lake in ch. 25 (which I see as probably a bit more than kissing - "second base," if you will - but not literally sex, especially as it's happening out on the school grounds).

And if she didn't have sex with Harry, I don't think she would have with Michael or Dean either, since we know that even while she was dating those two boys, she still had hopes for Harry. I could see her coming close to having sex - maybe even deciding to do it - but backing out at the last minute or something. I can't see her taking that step with her other two boyfriends if Harry was still in the back of her mind. But I may just be naïve. :P

My claim to brilliance (well, my kids think it was brilliant) was that when Ginny Weasley showed up for about two seconds in the first book I said she would end up with Harry.

Oh, me too! I thought the whole train scene practically screamed "Dingdingdingding! This is the girl!" :)

Thanks for this post!
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From:mofic
Date:June 1st, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Here via Daily Snitch

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Hi, thanks for weighing in. Oooh, and I think I know now what "D/S" meant in someone else's comment: Daily Snitch. ::scales fall from eyes::

As to your explanation of Ginny's reaction to Harry breaking up with her - I think that would be a really considerate, mature way to react. I just don't know that it's what I'd expect from a mid-teenager, particularly one who's kind of feisty.

I'm mulling over the sex thing, after reading a couple more comments here. I spend a lot of time with teenagers and ime when kids in couples have the kind of physical comfort with each other that Ginny and Harry show in HBP, they are having sex. OTOH, I'm speaking about a milieu where sex between teenage couples is considered a possibility, is not frowned upon by their peers, is accepted by at least some of the parents, is kind of assumed if the couple stays together for any length of time. So, I may be overgeneralizing improperly to a society with more restrictions on sex among adolescents. OT3H (lend me a hand, will you), it doesn't seem like those restrictions on talking about sex or acknowledging sex really do translate to not having sex. Have you seen the recent studies showing that about 50% of teens who make abstinence pledges have sex within a year?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 1st, 2006 01:04 pm (UTC)
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hello. Here via Titti.

As a person from oriental culture (and no, not the truely traditional ones already; we've been Westernized for ages), I don't actually find the "non-exisistent sex" thing so weird. I think the wizarding world is a pretty conservative one, and it's quite normal to have the sex-is-not-mentioned-in-polite-conversation attitude.

And assuming that snogging is all the teenagers are doing may not be that absurd. Here, we assume teenagers date, kiss, maybe grope, but having sex is going a bit too far. Sex between partners are things for twenty-somethings, not teens. Well, at least for the "proper school boy/girl". I cannot account for the really rebellious ones, of course, but around my cycles of acquaintances this is true.

And even if people do have sex, they don't much talk about it. Well, I think so. (see above paragraph - it is not like I would know, if that holds true) Especially not young teens - for most people teenage relationships are not lasting, and nobody expects them to be; if you gives your precious virginity to such a non-serious - well - fling, it may reflects that you are a casual person, and there may be something to be said about your morality.

Umm... I think I made it sounds too severe. It's all just impressions. Teenage sex is not exactly frowned upon; but people do get "Ewwww!!" over it, rather than, I don't know, awed?

So, if you are considering the wizarding world as an conservative alternate universe (I mean, they do wear *robes*), not the real-muggle-world-related universe, it may actually be reasonable that the sex is so little-mentioned. It is possible that sex is not censored out by the author, but that's just the way it is there. People don't tell.

That's what I like to believe, anyway.


And, by the way, I firmly believe that Ginny = slut, like HPSS slash, are purely notions of Fandom.


mon.
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From:mofic
Date:June 1st, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
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So, if you are considering the wizarding world as an conservative alternate universe (I mean, they do wear *robes*), not the real-muggle-world-related universe, it may actually be reasonable that the sex is so little-mentioned. It is possible that sex is not censored out by the author, but that's just the way it is there. People don't tell.

Yes, but they are third person narratives, so the author chooses to tell us what she wants to. We as the readers know lots of things that aren't spoken about among the characters.

I'm thinking a lot about the whole issue of the lack of sex in the books. I do think it's a little weird :-) in a modern book about teenagers. I certainly didn't expect to read about sex in _Little Women_ because that's the convention of the time in which it was written, as opposed to the time it takes place iykwim. When I read historical fiction, for example, I want the history to be very accurate and I don't want the people to talk in a modern way or about modern things. OTOH, I do want a twentieth or twenty-first century take on it in the sense that I'd like the author to move beyond the taboos of the time. Do you know Sarah Waters? I think she accomplishes that very well.


And, by the way, I firmly believe that Ginny = slut, like HPSS slash, are purely notions of Fandom.

Oh definitely. If JKR wanted Ginny to be a slut, she wouldn't be pairing her off with her hero.


Oh, btw are you the mon I know? Hey, get yourself a lj account so you can read friends-only posts. You don't have to actually post anything...
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From:tunxeh
Date:June 1st, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC)
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I'm finding the question about whether the kids at Hogwarts can be inferred from canon to have sex to be a lot more interesting than the one about what that implies about their morals. But unfortunately the answer seems to be that we don't know. I've seen people arguing that they don't have sex there because there is no evidence that they do, but I don't find that convincing — the lack of sex can be explained for other reasons (edited out because it's a children's book) and as you say the same argument would apply to Molly and Arthur but makes no sense for them.

As to whether Ginny specifically had sex with any of her boyfriends: As I wrote elsewhere, I think it's plausible (though far from certain and maybe unlikely) that she had sex with Dean. They were snogging pretty heavily early in the year, and together for a long time after that — I'm guessing the point they started being rocky (as Hermione calls it) was when Dean laughed at Harry for being hit by McLaggan's bludger, long after the snogging scene. I think the thing with Corner was more likely on the order of handholding and going to Hogsmeade together, though, and with Harry I don't think they had enough time for Harry to move to that point.
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From:mofic
Date:June 1st, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
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I'm finding the question about whether the kids at Hogwarts can be inferred from canon to have sex to be a lot more interesting than the one about what that implies about their morals.

Yes, me too. It's a fun game, I think - trying to envision them as real people and filling in the things you're not told to make them more real. It's really at the essence of fanfic, I think. I do it for X-Men all the time. Fun to try with a fandom I'm not writing, too.

From:lady__ash
Date:June 1st, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)

about sex in children books

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Although i knew pretty early as a kid about sex and where babies do come from (all the biological related facts), i didn't get the whole concept of sex. And i was consequently never interested in the topic. It was just one of this weird things grown-ups did, like smoking and drinking.
I wanted to read books about kids on adventures (mostly starring a girl and a fabulous horse, that Frederica deCesco stuff), and sex for me as a kid was just not an interesting read. So i would guess there is no sex in HP because most kids would be bored/not interested/grossed out to read about that (like i would have been).
How about that way of thinking?
What a child would find interesting to read instead of what a parent/grown-up considers to be right ?
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From:mofic
Date:June 1st, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)

Re: about sex in children books

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The only problem with that theory is that the same kids who aren't interested in reading about sex are likely uninterested in reading about snogging and boyfriend/girlfriend jealousy. I do know some younger kids who held their hands over their ears in those parts of HBP or rolled their eyes or whatever (although mine did not). It just seems that when a large part of the book is about teen romance and there's no mention of sex, it's an authorial decision that means something other than that her audience is unlikely to be interested in that topic. At least that's my opinion.

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From:eir_de_scania
Date:June 1st, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
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Here from the Daily Snitch

Of course some of the students at Hogwarts have sex... Some of them are legally adults! Little obstacles like the Gryffindor girls dorm stairs shouldn't stop any enterprising boy with a broom ;-) and we know girls can go into the boys dorms; Hermione came into Ron's and Harry's one Christmas.

Add to that, Hogwarts is a big castle, and it should be easy to find a nice secluded spot for some privacy. Preferably somewhere without paintings. And not too ghost-haunted. Or poltergeist-haunted... can you imagine the horror if Peeves saw you? The whole school would know. In detail.

Not that you could sneak out totally unnoticed. Harry seem to walk around with his head in a bucket much of the time, but I'm certain most students are more perceptive. But as the wizworld is very old-fashioned, you can probably get away with quite a lot if you're not being too obvious.
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From:mofic
Date:June 1st, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Of course some of the students at Hogwarts have sex... Some of them are legally adults!

Are you suggesting that in the Wizarding World people initiate sexual activity when they are legally adults? I'm not sure I understand.

I do agree that the kids could be having sex, that the obstacles are not such as to stop them. And, truly, if they wanted to stop them one would think they'd have some spell to do so, not rely on parietal rules. Some sort of erection-cancelling charm or some such.
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From:majick
Date:June 6th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
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Here from the Harry/Ginny otp community.

Hum... I must admit, I asked myself this very question when a couple of smut ideas ran through my head recently. How far did Harry and Ginny go? Not very, to my mind.

Somehow I imagine that Ginny and Ron (and Percy) were the children who Molly really taught that they should wait to sleep with someone - although probably not wait until they were married. Bill, Charlie and the twins, on the other hand, were probably at it like rabbits. If Ron was considered attractive, how much more so were his adventurous, sporty and smart brothers?

I imagine that Hogwarts had a sexual revolution as much as the Muggle world did, although it probably didn't get as far. Ron's reaction to Hermione kissing Krum suggests that the wizards aren't as liberal as Muggles - not least because the wizarding world views Muggle-borns and their ideas with suspicion and/or ignorance. Ron is wound up at the idea of Hermione kissing Krum - the idea of them having sex would probably kill the poor chap.

However, when Ron gets his own fling with Lavender, we learn that he's a faily typical adolescent male - roving hands and all. Still, it's never suggested that they slept together.

I can't help but feel that as Ginny grew up dreaming about Harry, and hasn't entirely got over him, she wouldn't have slept with Dean or Michael - she didn't love them.

I don't imagine that Hermione slept with Krum, either - she seemed too young. Had he been around during HBP, then maybe she might have done - but if it had been for revenge on Ron, then she would have regretted it.

Of the four main characters, I'd see Hermione as the most likely to sleep with someone before leaving Hogwarts. Muggle born and raised, not starved of love, and generally the most mature of them all, she would select someone she cared about - be it Viktor or Ron.

Ron, to my mind, would. But the Hermione factor stopped him going to far with Lavender (and the fear of Molly). He was always aware that she was there, and didn't want to ruin his chances with her, which that would have done - possibly irreparably. Had that been removed - if Hermione had become involved with McClaggen, say - then he might well have let circumstances go their way.

(Interesting that I could see both of them losing their virginity to someone else in order to spite the other - too much Dawson's Creek etc. for me...)

Ginny, as previously mentioned, seems something of a romantic at heart. I think that she would have done - if she'd fallen in love with someone. The signs were, though, that neither Michael nor Dean were so favoured.

As for Harry, he's too noble for a one-night stand (Cliche, but true to my mind) although I could see things going fairly far before he said stop - simply because he'd be a bit overwhelmed by it all. He also doesn't strike me as agressive - not at that stage of his life, anyway. He wouldn't push for sex, being too afraid of losing his relationship with his gf.

And there's also the magical factor. Total free will is supressed at Hogwarts, of course, as we've seen by the restrictions on boys in the girls dorm. At some point during its thousand years pluss of life, I can imagine there would have been a scandal, and measures would have been put in place to prevent too much sexual activity. Whether it's the magical equivalent of bromide in the tea (the boys seem a lot less hormonal than the girls) or a wide-ranging Chastening Charm that keeps people's pants on, I don't know.

Of course, with Dumbledore dead, and the world at war, it's pretty well up for grabs now - a quick flick through the Magical Kama Sutra and it's "...for tomorrow we may die" time.

But to get back to the main point, I don't think Ginny did - but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the students did. Of course, there's a lot that wouldn't due to being fat/ugly/nerds/chaste/shy and all the other reasons that preent people from having sex in school where everyone is stereotyped and only 'cool' people have sex (for a given value of 'cool' - anyone see Luna as Michelle the flautist from American Pie?) Of course, Hogwarts is only home for about eight months out of the year, and with Floo powder, Disillusioning Charms, Silencing Charms... The possibilities are endless.
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From:simarillion
Date:June 9th, 2006 11:42 am (UTC)

Surprised but not really

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Now I wont' add here my thoughts on maturity and behaviour of adolescent girls or boys. I also do not want to discuss here the mechanics and structures at school. I am sure I would not be able to get it right anyway because the British school system is different to the school system in Austria, very different I might add. Everytime I watch some movie or Tv show where the biggest concern of the youngsters is who is talking to whom and where to sit at lunch I can only wonder why things like that are so important for them. I just don't get it. It was completely different with my school and also with the schools of my friends.

The reason I comment is that I have to say that I am very surprised that there are threads about the topic of "is Ginny a slut". Come on, for how long was the favourite pairing of a huge group of het fanfiction writers Harry/Ginny? This and the Harry/Hermione pairing was really the only one that was somewhat canon related. Although I was never able to understand how people could assume that Harry and Hermione would get together. With Hermione and Ron acting like an old married couple most of the time.

Now, as I said the discussion about Ginny's behaviour concerning relationships has taken me by surprise but I think I can guess where this is coming from. I do not agree that having more than one relationship is a reason to call somebody a slut. Friends of mine Have a new boyfriend every three to four weeks and I wouldn't call them sluts either. The thing is that sometimes you feel drawn to a person but not because of a mythical soulbonding reason. The reason is just that you feel physically attracted to someone. If this someone is a nice person as well and you can spend more time with him/her it is easy to decide to stay with this person together for a longer time. Sometimes this works out and the couple stays together for years, sometimes you notice after days/weeks/months that you do not have that much in common. In other cases it was only a crush to begin with and the fascination fades with time. So if this couple splits up and they find somebody else they get together with, is it wrong? In my opinion it is normal.
I've even come to notice that there are people who are not able to be single because they need another person in their life. Now, why should they be luckier than everyone else with finding the right person to spend your life with? They have to search as well and therefore they would have to be with more than one partner as well during their search.

Okay, I wrote far too much about what I was not planning to write in the first place. What I actually wanted to write about was that I think the reason for this strange interpretation of Ginny is that she is the only one in this story arc that has more than one relationship. I mean Cho does not really count since she was too crushed from Cedric's death to be accounted for her relationship with Harry. She goes out with him to ask him about Cedric anyway (at least that was the impression I got).
... so in the end we have a lot of couples that stay together all their life (the Weasleys, Harry's parents, the Malfoys, the Lestranges, the Longbottoms, the Dursleys,...) and there are people who are not associated with anyone (Black, Snape, Filch, Dubledore -as far as we are told-, Remus -he might get together with Tonks-,...), there are people about who are told about a starting relationship where it is also assumed in canon that they will get married (Bill/Fleure) but there is only one person that goes out with more than one boy and that is Ginny. In some kind of way her behaviour compared to the others is not "normal" (how I hate to use this word) where relationships are concerned.

On the whole I don't care what Ginny does and if she would go out with all the male student body of Hogwarts it wouldn't matter to me either because in my opinion it is your own choice how you approach and deal with relationships. But What I mentioned above is probably the reason why this whole thread started.

And now I wrote a lot of nonsense about a topic that actually doesn't interest me at all. *lol* All because I cannot shut up.
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From:mofic
Date:June 9th, 2006 01:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Surprised but not really

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Everytime I watch some movie or Tv show where the biggest concern of the youngsters is who is talking to whom and where to sit at lunch I can only wonder why things like that are so important for them. I just don't get it. It was completely different with my school and also with the schools of my friends.

I'd caution you not to look on tv shows as necessarily representative of real schools in other countries. I do think - based on my experiences as an adolescent and as a parent of adolescents - that teenagers here have lots of real world concerns and lots of more interesting things to talk about than the ones you describe. OTOH, I think social anxiety is something pretty much everyone suffers from at one point or another in life and the teenage years are prime time for it. I expect that kids new to a school are worried about whether they'll find someone to have lunch with, whether kids will want to talk to them, whether they fit in. It's definitely true to my life and that of my kids. I write in a different fandom, but also a school-based one, and I do show the kids going through varying levels of social anxiety (although I focus more on the adults).

... so in the end we have a lot of couples that stay together all their life (the Weasleys, Harry's parents, the Malfoys, the Lestranges, the Longbottoms, the Dursleys,...) and there are people who are not associated with anyone (Black, Snape, Filch, Dubledore -as far as we are told-, Remus -he might get together with Tonks-,...), there are people about who are told about a starting relationship where it is also assumed in canon that they will get married (Bill/Fleure) but there is only one person that goes out with more than one boy and that is Ginny. In some kind of way her behaviour compared to the others is not "normal" (how I hate to use this word) where relationships are concerned.


That's a very interesting take on it! I don't think it's quite as absolute as you say (Hermione, for example, is going out with Viktor Krum in GoF, then sort of briefly dates McLaggen in HBP and is paired with Ron pretty clearly in HBP; also some of the boys clearly date more than one girl) but I think you're right that the norm is presented as falling in love with one person with whom you stay all your life. Not one divorced couple, not one mention of dating someone for a few years and then breaking up and meeting the man you married, not even a widow or widower who remarries. You'd kind of expect some remarriages a few years after Voldemort's killing spree, but Harry's parents dying together seems to be the model. Neville's parents go crazy together, his grandmother who is presumably a widow never remarries, the Hogwarts kids' parents (at least all who are mentioned) are all in perfectly matched couples. Even the 600-year-old couple in the first book (can't remember their names) who are kept alive through the Philosopher's Stone end up dying together, don't they?

It doesn't seem very realistic, does it? Well, of course it is fantasy.

Thanks for dropping in!
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