the powerful women of harry potter
Today is International Women's Day, the day to celebrate amazing women all around us and what they represent. There are tons and tons of women in real life that I want to honor and thank today, but I couldn't bring myself to risk leaving anyone out, so instead, I'm going to talk about some of my favorite women from the Harry Potter series and how they helped shape how I view myself and what it means to be a woman.
(Also, quickly, shout out to UpTheHillArt for their badass artwork I used here for this post (with permission, of course.) Check them out here and give them some support!)
These aren't in any particular order, just the order I happened to think of them, so this isn't a matrix of who I like more than any other character or anything.
Here we go!
Tonks is the epitome of being a tough badass woman. She loved so fiercely, she believed so deeply and was willing to do whatever it takes to overcome the evil that surrounded her in the world. She fell in love with a werewolf which was very frowned upon in the wizarding world and didn't care how other people would view her for it. Even Remus Lupin himself tried to tell her that he was horrid for her because he was monster and she saw through everything and found her soulmate. She fought for the love she knew they both deserved. She was also unapologetically herself and didn't let anyone make her feel any less because of it. She hated her first name and demanded people call her by the name she wanted to be referred to as, "Tonks." That helped me to grow up and learn to call people by what they would like to be referred to as out of respect, whether it be a nickname, a pronoun, or anything of the sort.
Hermione, Hermione, Hermione. I could probably write paragraphs upon paragraphs about Hermione, so I'll try and keep it short. Hermione taught me that it was okay to love school. It was okay to seek knowledge. It was okay to be a "know-it-all." Her knowledge CONSISTENTLY saved lives! Harry wouldn't have survived year ONE at Hogwarts, let alone much of what came after, without Hermione by his side. Even though Professor Snape, Malfoy, and even Harry and Ron gave her constant crap about caring about school or knowing too much, she continued to pursue knowledge because it was important to her and it was something she loved. Hermione's character resonated with me a lot because I have bushy brown hair, I always had my nose in a book, I always knew the answers in class, and I was always getting teased for these things. Having a character I saw myself in like Hermione to relate to while I was growing up was an amazing experience. She helped me become proud of who I am. We can all learn a lot from her.
I never truly understood or had even tried to understand what risks mothers are willing to take for their children until the scene in the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort, the most powerful and feared dark wizard alive, asked her if Harry was dead. Narcissa took the huge risk of lying and told Voldemort that Harry was dead when she knew he was alive. Let me tell you why that was so insanely brave of her. Voldemort could READ MINDS, y'all. Voldemort was GREAT at figuring out when people are lying to him. He's also very, very liberal with doling out punishments to those who dared to defy him. Narcissa lied to him because Harry let her know that Draco was still alive and Narcissa knew that one of the only ways to truly protect her son was to let Harry defeat Voldemort. She risked her own life, risked being tortured and killed and well-being in order to help secure a safer future for her son. That is true, deep love. Way to go, Narcissa.
Lily needs almost no explanation. She was murdered because she was protecting what she loved. She sacrificed herself in hopes that her son would live. She had no guarantee that Harry was going to survive the night. She had no idea her husband had already faced Voldemort and was murdered. She truly had no idea if she was going to live or die. There were no certainties in what surrounded her during the moment of her biggest choice. But, she protected Harry anyway. She put her son's life above her own, praying that they'd be able to live it. That's just more proof of the strength of a woman's love and dedication. There are women all around the globe doing these things every day. It may not be as tragic as getting killed, but there are women who make sacrifices for their children all the time. Somewhere, there's a mother going without a meal so she can feed her child. Somewhere, there's a woman working overtime so she can help put her kids in college. There are women everywhere like Lily Potter who are willing to do whatever it takes for their children to live.
Okay, here comes the capslock. MINERVA DIDN'T LET MEN WHO WERE NOT AS EDUCATED AS SHE IS IN A SUBJECT TRY TO TELL HER ABOUT THINGS SHE ALREADY KNEW. She is the type of woman I personally strive to be. She is always dealing with people (men, namely) who think they know more than her and try to "put her in her place," and man, she has had ENOUGH of that crap. She is the one of, if not THE, most talented and knowledgeable professor at Hogwarts and demands to be treated with respect because of it. She is constantly being cut off while she's speaking by the male faculty members and she doesn't accept that. At one point, she even says, "I do not generally permit people to talk when I am talking." LADIES, be a Minerva in board meetings when people try to cut you off or not let your idea be heard. Be a Minerva in conversations with random dudes at a bar who just seems keen on talking about themselves all night. Don't permit them to interrupt you. Don't let them push your opinions under the rug. Don't let them shun your expertise in a subject. Say what you deserve to speak.
Molly is definitely one of the characters in Harry Potter that I personally feel does not get enough attention for how wonderful she is. She's a mother to a ton of children and they're in a financial situation that isn't the greatest to be able to thrive. But, she works so, so hard every day to keep her family moving along, with little to no thanks while providing services for her family. She's strict. She knows how to budget to make sure that all her children are able to get their school supplies every year. Yes, she's a stay-at-home mom and not a career woman. But, THAT'S OKAY. I've seen a lot of flack going out towards stay-at-home moms recently and I don't understand the crap that they're getting. I personally know I couldn't cut it as a stay-at-home mom when I have kids later on in life. I've never wanted that. I personally want a career outside of the home, but I would never, ever belittle another woman for wanting to stay home with their children. Being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work. I've seen that lifestyle all around me, having grown up in the LDS religion where it's fairly common to be a stay-at-home mom. Different women have different goals in life and she's proof that you can be successful at home if that's what you choose. She's proof that you can still be a strong woman while still wanting to stay home, even if people are belittling you for "playing into the patriarchy." You go, stay-at-home moms. You rock just as much as a career bound woman.
Ginny is an amazing example of going through trauma and SURVIVING it. When she was just 11 years old, she was possessed by an evil being, forced to do terrible things, and had her self-identity and autonomy taken away from her during her ordeal. Even after her traumatic experience was over, she relived it. She had nightmares. She had people treating her like what she went through wasn't as serious as it seemed and she was silenced. No one wanted to talk about what happened to her. She was offered a cookie and a warm drink after what happened to her and that was one of the only times anyone offered her anything to help her feel better. But, through all that, she survived. She held herself together. She reached goals. She lived even with what happened to her. She's so strong, just like every other survivor of any type of trauma out there. Plus, she's a freaking warrior, man.
Luna is the best example I've found within almost any piece of literature I've ever read who truly exemplifies the art of not giving a damn what others think of her and choosing to live her best life regardless of what's considered "normal." She is constantly ridiculed. I mean, she is always getting talked down to, made fun of, having tricks played on her, people giving her the nickname "Loony" to be rude, etc. She didn't ever let that stop her. She embraced the fact that she was the "weird girl." She didn't let her beliefs get shattered because other people thought she was stupid for them, such as believing in wrackspurts and nargles, or wearing a butterbeer bottle cap necklace that showed off her albeit-strange style. She had no issues being herself and she forgave the people and judgments, knowing that it said more about them than their judgments would ever say about her.
Cho Chang is one tough woman. She had to live through that fact that her boyfriend, whom she loved, was murdered by the wizarding world's most prolific serial killer and dark wizard. Can you imagine going through that as a teenager? I certainly can't. She was mocked for her mourning. She was made fun of for being "weepy" when she thought about Cedric. It falls into the overall category of women getting treated badly for doing something as simple as feeling an emotion and feeling it strongly. She persevered through her grief and she was one of the strongest witches that took up the fight against Voldemort and his followers. She was powerful and she was even more dedicated due to the emotions she felt over what happened to the person she loved. Emotion is beautiful and powerful and Cho harnessed that in order to fight for justice. Don't be ashamed of how you feel.
Fleur Delacour is amazing. She showed me that a character can be pretty and like "girly" things and still be a strong, amazing person and that your worth as a woman isn't inexplicably tied to your feminine traits. Yes, she's gorgeous. Yes, she likes to always be "put together" as some would say. She likes clothes, hair, and make-up. So many things that many women do that are considered "ultra-feminine" such as wearing make-up, dressing up in a really cute outfit, and other things have been looked down on and made fun of as being a stupid thing to do or have a fondness for. There are quotes out there such "teach your daughter to focus less on glass slippers and more on smashing glass ceilings." Like, WHAT? Bro, Fleur could smash a glass ceiling while WEARING glass slippers. Many women are made to feel lesser because they like things that are "girly." Fleur showed me that women, regardless of their interests, or qualities, can be strong warriors. She got into the twi-wizard tournament for heaven's sake, which is no small feat to be chosen for, and she married a half-werewolf with no reservations and didn't make him feel bad for eating raw, bloody steaks even though it was messy and gross. I'm just saying. Hell, one of my favorite quotes is when someone is questioning her love for Bill because he doesn't match up with her put-together classy looks, and she says, "What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show that my husband is brave!" She knows that looks don't matter as much as what's inside someone, and I think that is great.
Anyway, that's my list. I hope I was able to help show that strong and powerful women come in all forms and from all walks of life.