Is it possible to love something that was made by a horrible person? What if you didn’t find out how horrible the person was until much later down the road? This is a topic I have seen being discussed at length all over Twitter lately, following the comments made by J. K. Rowling in regards to the phrase “people who menstruate”. She came across as completely transphobic and non-inclusive, saying things like “if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans”. I’ll include the tweets here:
It is clear to see that this is unacceptable for someone in her position to say. She has a huge platform and following (most of which was gained from young adults who fell in love with her world) and the way she is alienating a group of people is irresponsible and hateful. It hurts that she feels the need to go after trans people in this way, especially when the books she created preach a story of overcoming adversity and empowering not only yourself but the people around you.
Obviously we are all disappointed in the way JKR has decided to use her platform and her reach and there is an easy answer to how to address this, and that is to unfollow her and stop giving her our money. She needs to understand that this way of thinking is harmful to people we care about and she can’t get away with it. There is another side of this, however, that is a bit more complicated to address. What about all the books, movies, and other products that we all already own in the Harry Potter franchise? Can we still enjoy these things while condemning their creator?
Most of us in the writing and blogging community love to read. I would wager to guess that for most of us this love of reading stems from our experience with Harry Potter at a young age. The Harry Potter books are some of the most important books to me because they showed me my first look at an expansive world built over multiple books. The feeling I got from these stories had me completely enthralled from the beginning of book 1 to the end of book 7. I went to every movie as soon as it came out, I loved absolutely everything about this world. So again I have to ask the question, is it possible to still enjoy something that was so integral and important to me in becoming the person I am today, even though the person that created it has outed herself as a bigot?
I think the importance of this franchise and world has outgrown the original author. It might seem like a weird thing to say, but I really believe that Harry Potter belongs as much (if not more) to the fans as it does to JKR. There are so many of us that attribute who we have grown up to be, to this franchise and honestly I don’t think there is anything JKR can do to take that away from us. JKR revealing herself to be a horrible person doesn’t take away from the fact that her books stand for something better. Her books inspire young people to stand up for themselves and be true to themselves as they overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. These are books that I think everyone can get something valuable from and I still think they should be read and enjoyed.
I am doing a re-read of these books currently. I have almost finished the first book and review and after seeing these tweets from JKR I was on the fence about posting these re-read reviews. I didn’t want to give more of a platform to her hate and vitriol, but at the same time I think it might be just as important to call her out for what she is doing even while I love her work. I do believe I will go through with the re-read posts, but I wanted to know what you all thought about it? Let me know in the comments below.
I will say that I do not plan on giving JKR anymore money than I already have, I don’t think she deserves it. The set of books I just recently received for my birthday will likely be the last set I ever own, so I guess I need to make sure I keep them in pristine condition! I think we should enjoy the books and other merch we already have, as getting rid of it doesn’t hurt her in anyway whatsoever, I just don’t know if I am able to continue to talk about HP. As the old saying goes, all press is good press, so even if we talk about the books and criticize her we are still bringing attention to her. She honestly doesn’t deserve any more attention than she is already getting. I know I don’t have the biggest platform, but if we all took this approach we could really hurt the platform she has and limit the spread of her hateful comments. We can still love Harry Potter while condemning JKR, and honestly using our love of HP might make our condemnation of JKR even more powerful.
As always, thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think about all this in the comments below. I really want to know how this has affected your outlook on the world of Harry Potter. It is difficult to see someone I looked up to for most of my life turn out to be this hateful, it is extremely disappointing. Either way, be sure to check back for new posts (at least) every Wednesday and Saturday and sign-up via email to make sure you never miss a post! Be safe and have a great day!