Tag Archives: girl talk

Girl Talk: Neville Longbottom And The Glory Of The Late Bloomer

It all ends today. And by “it,” of course, I mean our decade-long love affair with the Harry Potter movies. For those young adults who came of age with Harry, what’s ending is an era. I am one of them – I was 11 when the first book was released, and 19 when the last one came out – and though I’m a bigger fan of the books than of the movies, I can’t help but feel a bittersweet blend of sadness and excitement as it all winds down.

We grew up as Harry grew up, and though none of us was involved in a good-versus-evil, civil-rights-metaphor fight-to-the-death with a vicious tyrant, we still saw ourselves in Harry and in his friends. We learned a lot from these books. For example, that sometimes, nice guys finish first and smart girls get the guy. We learned about motherhood and feminism. We learned that love is the answer to almost every question, and if “love” doesn’t work, try “expelliarmus!”

And more recently, as the cast of the movies has been hitting the red carpet to promote the movie, we have learned about the glory of being a late bloomer. Keep reading »

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.

Girl Talk: We Can’t Be Friends

There’s this (amazing) song on the soundtrack to the (terrible) movie “The Romantics” called “We Can’t Be Friends” by Lenore Scafaria. My favorite lyrics go:

“I want to wear a skirt, I want to make mistakes,
I want to kill you first and then take your name,
I want to tear you apart, I want to make your bed,
I wanna break your heart, I want to break your head,
I guess this means we can’t be friends.”

In the days, weeks and months following a big breakup, I listened to this song on repeat. Every word of it spoke to me (especially the part about breaking his head). We’d said to each other on our first date, moony-eyed, that even if this didn’t grow into anything, we should still be friends.

Two years later, it couldn’t be more obvious that we could not be friends. My friends don’t sneak around behind my back. My friends don’t email me lists of the things they don’t like about me. My friends don’t threaten to throw out my stuff. There’s a hell of a lot of things my ex-boyfriend did that I wouldn’t stand for if one of my girl or guy friends were to do them. Why should I make concessions for acting like a d**k just because we had been in a romantic relationship together? What would that prove?

This cropped up again recently when a guy I’d been going on dates with for about a month ended it with me. Hormones, as I’ll call him, said he didn’t have strong enough romantic feelings or see long-term potential for us. Yadda yadda yadda. That is fine. I understand. I appreciate that he was honest about it. But then Hormones told me that he hoped we could be friends. Keep reading »

Girl Talk: How I Beat My Past Self At Its Own Crappy Dating Game

Guys, I went on a date this weekend. Thrilling, right? And on that date, I met a guy. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Keep reading »

Girl Talk: Compromising Positions

I made decision when I was a young adult on the kind of regrets I’d try to have: I want to regret only the things I did do, not the things I didn’t. So far it’s worked out just as I’ve hoped. I have never had to look back and wish I had fallen deeply in love, or traveled around Europe when I was young, or quit a steady job to freelance write fulltime, because I’ve done all of those things. I’m proud that I have very few regrets about things in my life I have done — very, very few, like, I’m struggling to think of examples now. But as each month brings more and more distance between myself and a devastating heartbreak I suffered with the guy I wanted to spend my life with, one regret is becoming pronounced. I look back now and I’m not proud of all the small compromises that I made for him without, I think, getting as much as I should have in return. Keep reading »

Girl Talk: I Want My Boyfriend To Fantasize About Other Women

I read Eliza Jules’ essay “I Obsessively Monitor My Husband’s Lube Bottle” over at xoJane and was left with this question: Is a partner’s masturbation something we should worry about? The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more I’ve concluded that, for me, I’m at the very opposite end of the spectrum as Jules; I’d be worried if someone I was dating didn’t masturbate, all the more so if I was the cause behind them holding off in the self-love department. I also wouldn’t expect someone’s firmly entrenched patterns of masturbation and porn use, especially if I met them well into their adult life, to change just because they were with me.

I’ll even go so far as to say I would definitely not want to be the sole source of my partner’s masturbation fodder. Part of it? Sure. But imagine the pressure if every single time they jerked off, they were thinking about you. That would creep me out a bit, and while I’m not an expert, I don’t think that’s a realistic goal, especially when you’re talking about long-term relationships. Keep reading »

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