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Misogyny, rights & Rowling

It might have seemed as if the isolation of lockdown was making people mad last month when the stars of the Harry Potter films turned on J.K. Rowling. They denounced the woman who had kick-started their careers, because on social media she had objected to the phrase ‘people who menstruate’.

Comment Sarah Allen
Figure Image
Emma Watson (Hermione Granger in the

It wasn’t celebrities going stir-crazy, however, but a public display of an ugly and strange change in our culture. From the time of Rowling’s tweet pushing back against the insistence of many that ‘trans women are women’, and expressing the need to retain some women-only spaces in an eloquent and personal essay, she has faced much worse than negative press statements. Deeply offensive language has been spewed at her online, trans women have posted pictures of their very male anatomy, pornography has been uploaded to the account in which she interacts with her young readers. Then there are the news outlets which will only say that Rowling has written ‘offensive’ tweets but will not expose the horrendous backlash she has faced. Perhaps worst of all have been the ordinary young women I’ve heard lament that they won’t ever be able to read another Potter book again. These young women would call themselves feminists, but have unwittingly absorbed a self-destructive misogyny.