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Girl Talk: How I Learned About Feminism And Motherhood From Molly Weasley

I was eight years old when I first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at an elementary school book fair. My mom bought me a hardcover copy to take home and read at my leisure. Instead of tuning into the Disney Channel I devoured all 309 pages of Harry’s first adventure in one night. As time passed, I continued to keep up with Harry Potter. I read all seven books upon their immediate release. I went to midnight showings of each film, sitting alongside my fellow Harry Potter Heads with their broomsticks and faux-lightning scars. I even visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Theme Park in Orlando, Florida, this past January, courtesy of the best Christmas gift ever. Both the 90-minute line to get into Ollivander’s Wand Shop and the hour-long wait for a meal at The Three Broomsticks were well worth it.

I’m sad that my childhood journey with Harry will come to an end on July 15—fourteen years after my initial HP experience—with the opening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” Some kids read the Harry Potter books and learned about Azkaban, love potions, and chocolate frogs. I learned about feminism and motherhood, thanks to one of the series’ most underrated characters:

Molly’s character is viewed the same way most view the role of mothering: she is under appreciated and not acknowledged enough in comparison to her true significance and what she accomplishes on a daily basis.

Molly is the mother of Ron, Harry’s best friend at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as well as six other Weasley children. Her husband, Arthur, works at the Ministry of Magic and leaves her as the designated homemaker. Her character is short and plump, with flaming red locks that match the rest of the Weasley clan. She rules the roost and wears many different hats—caregiver and expert pie maker, activist and one of the only female members of the Order of the Phoenix, and participating fighter in the Second Wizarding War to name a few. In “Deathly Hallows,” Molly will go toe-to-toe with Bellatrix Lestrange, chief Death Eater and Lord Voldemort’s right-hand-woman, during the Battle of Hogwarts. In case you haven’t read the books, she plays a pivotal role.

Molly’s character is viewed the same way most view the role of mothering: she is under appreciated and not acknowledged enough in comparison to her true significance and what she accomplishes on a daily basis.

She welcomes other children into her family and treats them like her own. Despite her lack of financial resources, she always comes up with a decent Christmas feast for all guests invited. While Molly upholds the traditional stereotype of being a stay-at-home mom, she is a new kind of mom that’s revolutionary in children’s stories. She is not a submissive character by any means; instead, she uses her role as “mother of many” as a means of power and accomplishing great tasks.

Molly Weasley’s unique, badass mothering reminds me of my own mom. Their similarities struck me at a young age through basic, minor details; specifically when Molly sent a Christmas package to Harry Potter during their first year at Hogwarts because she knew he was an orphan and wouldn’t get many presents. My mom always buys my friends her own Christmas presents, too, I thought to myself.

On a more serious note—Molly’s ability to aggressively stare down any problem facing her family, no matter what the cost or sacrifice, confirmed my suspicions that she shared more than a few characteristics with my own mom.

Like Molly Weasley, my mom stayed at home, but redefined the traditional role in her own ways. She’s never failed to encourage my progressive thoughts, urging me to pursue my most radical opinions over a cup of Lipton tea and piece of homemade bread pudding. My mom raised my siblings and I to never assume just because she stays home with us all day, she’s responsible for doing the dishes after dinner—my brother, sister, and I are very familiar with a sponge and dishwasher detergent.

It was a form of magic to see the same qualities play out between this made-up mother character in my favorite books and my real mom. My views on modern motherhood were inherently affected by witnessing both mothers nurture all children who need them, not just their own blood; manage to hold their families together under any and all circumstances; have unconditional love and support, even in the most frustrating moments; and partake in empowering, female-friendly movements that positively influence their daughters and sons alike.

J.K. Rowling didn’t only provide a source of entertainment for readers through Harry Potter; her works of fiction serve as critical tools in shaping the ways in which we perceive real-life experiences. Underneath the Death Eaters and Floo Powder are characters, themes, and metaphors filled with a deeper understanding. The Wizarding World might be a whole world away from reality, but its underlying messages hold true. I’m just so grateful that my mom bought me my first Harry Potter hardcover at that book fair. My feminist consciousness wouldn’t have been the same without it.

“Jersey Shore” Season 4 Promos Offend Italians, Art Historians

Nothing is sacred to “Jersey Shore,” not even world-renowned priceless art. The season four promos, plugging the just-wrapped season the GTL gang filmed in Italy, depict juiced up and Snooki-fied works of art.

You can see all the “Jersey Shore” promos after the jump: Keep reading »

Casting Couch: Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Reynolds Coulda Been In “Horrible Bosses”

Over the weekend, “Horrible Bosses” grossed $28 million at the box office. But according to an interview Brett Ratner did with The Hollywood Reporter, in the six years the movie was in development, it could have had a very, very different cast. Ratner explained that many actors had once been attached to take Charlie Day, Jason Bateman, and Jason Sudeikis’ roles—including Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Reynolds, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Johnny Knoxville, and then Ashton Kutcher again. Keep reading »

A Sneak Peek At The “Dallas” Reboot

We’re still not 100 percent in favor of a network dredging up a television hit of yesteryear and updating it with hot, young actors. I mean, the rebooted “90210” and “Hawaii 5-0″ have their moments—but the new “Melrose Place” was truly terrible and we don’t have huge hopes for Minka Kelly’s “Charlie’s Angels.” Last night, TNT debuted a preview of their rehash of “Dallas,” which will feature original stars Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray alongside newcomers Jesse Metcalf, Josh Henderson, and Jordana Brewster. In the preview, J.R. and Bobby Ewing do the most talking while the hot, young things do a lot of … makeout scenes. So maybe this show will be okay after all? We’ll have to wait until next summer to see. [EW] Keep reading »

The Good, The Bad & The WTF: Ashley Tortures Her Suitors, Narrows Down To 4 On “The Bachelorette”

Allow me to describe last night’s episode of “The Bachelorette” in one word: CRINGE. Now, this is nothing new, as “The Bachelorette” is always chock full of cringe-worthy moments. But last night’s episode took the cringe to whole new levels of secondhand shame. From the most psychotic date in all of “Bachelorette/Bachelorette” history to the epic diss handed down to one of the bachelors — spoilers ahead! — here are the good, bad and WTF moments from last night’s episode of “The Bachelorette,” as Ashley narrowed down the field from six to four. Keep reading »

Have A Movie Night With “Miral”

Artist Julian Schnabel—the dude behind both “Before Night Falls” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”—is one of my favorite directors for making beautiful, tough, touching stories with artistic flare. His newest one, “Miral,” didn’t make a huge splash at the box office, but is very worthy of a viewing and it’s out out on DVD today. In it, Freida Pinto plays Miral, a Palestinian girl who is brought up in an safe house in Jerusalam and, as she ventures outside at age 17, finds herself drawn toward intifada.

[$19.99 Amazon]
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