This week, at Alternet, I wrote about gender in the Harry Potter saga:
Finally, it is here. Last week, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 arrived in movie theaters. Waiting to greet it were hundreds of thousands of devoted and nerdy fans of J.K. Rowling’s remarkable books, as well as of the movie franchise they have spawned. The Potter series is remarkable for many reasons. But one of the best things about it is that Rowling created a host of female characters who are smart, competent and courageous, women who defend themselves and others, and who defy gender stereotypes.
In this sense, Rowling’s books are enormously important; recent studies have found that in entertainment created for children, women and girls are severely underrepresented, and when they do appear, they are less likely to speak than male characters and are often depicted in ways that reinforce gender stereotypes. Over the course of seven books, Rowling has given her readers, some of them young and easily influenced by depictions of gender on the page and the screen, and some of them older and desperate for books that portray women as complex, valuable characters, a wide range of heroines to choose from. And some of those heroines are flat-out awesome.
Read the rest here.