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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

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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:mofic
Date:May 31st, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
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That's a very interesting idea, and could be really fruitful to develop for fanfic. The Wizarding World is, as you say, old-fashioned in a lot of its attitudes and views. And I've been saying 1950s, but I think you're right that it has more of a between-the-wars feel to it. Of course some of the Wizarding World activities seem downright medieval because of the lack of technology, but in general they have a twentieth century feel, but 75 or so years ago.

So what happened to cause that? One could do all sorts of interesting things with that idea. You can mix it in with the often stated fact that most wizards are not pure-bloods, that they would have died out if they hadn't intermarried with Muggles. Soooooo, they went along with this kind of parallel society for generations, with some mixing and some intermarriage and then BLAM! (excuse me, I come from a comics-based fandom) something happened. Whatever the something was, it caused a greater separation between wizards and muggles. In the books you don't see any true intermarriages between Wizards and Muggles (except for the ill-fated Merope/Riddle match). You see witches like Lily who come from Muggle families marrying wizards, but that's not quite the same thing. So one could posit a definite move towards separation.

And then in the second half of the twentieth century the Muggle society changed at a faster and faster pace while the Wizard one stayed much as it was, Brigadoon-esque. Hence this feel of familiarity yet not quite our society.

So what was it that happened that caused the rift? Maybe something associated with the Great War? Maybe something associated with technology? Maybe that's when the Ministry of Magic develops its Department of Muggle Affairs and goes from sort of quietly existing along the sidelines of Muggle life to both hiding out and monitoring the larger society. It could make for a good story...
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From:tiferet
Date:May 31st, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
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I really don't think "misogyny" is the specific problem here. It is very 1950's advice (though I would argue that Hermione is an odd source for that, since she was not raised in the wizarding world, she is a young lady of the 1990s) and would not seem out of place at all coming from Molly, but most readers of this series are not at all familiar with the 1950s, nor should anyone expect them to be, since some of their parents weren't even born then--most Ginny criticism is coming from people within 10 years of Ginny's age in either direction, with a few outliers like me--I'm 42, but I thought that was bad advice when I got it in the 1970s and I still think so. I don't think Ginny's a slut, but I think she's very manipulative and a regressive female figure--it should be no surprise that women my age and girls her own age don't find her appealing for this reason.
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From:tiferet
Date:May 31st, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
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http://alchemia.livejournal.com/228044.html

This is the best explanation of the position that I've seen yet.
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