Sunday, 26 June 2016

On Accepting That Popular Culture Is Flawed

Pop Culture Is Flawed

Recently I've been working my way through "Witch Please", the most amazing podcast all about the Harry Potter franchise. It features two awesome female professors, Marcelle and Hannah, discussing each book and film in turn, all the interesting choices, parallels and subtexts within the series. It is such a joy to listen to, mainly because the perspectives and ideas given are so smart and just extremely interesting. Amazing feminist discussion, hosts who you immediately click with and Harry Potter, what more could you possibly want from a podcast? I could gush on about how much I love this podcast and how much I want to be friends with Marcelle and Hannah but this is not the post to do that (well any more than I already have). 

The reason I brought Witch Please up is because Marcelle and Hannah aren't afraid to be critical of the series and despite the fact that they both clearly love the whole series, they've really opened my eyes to some of the pretty big flaws in the series as well as other little questionable details. For example they've brought up the problem the books seem to have with fatness. In short, fatness is seen to be a mark of those who we shouldn't respect or treat as real human beings. Dudley's habit of enjoying his food is seen as disgusting and the book even seems to suggest that we should be repulsed by these characters for their size. A particularly sad example is the line " Dudley had spent most of his summer in the kitchen, his piggy little eyes fixed on the screen and his five chins wobbling as he ate continually". Marcelle and Hannah pointed out the irony that a series so focused on removing prejudice can take such an intolerant view of fatness. This makes me so angry and there is plenty more to question, such as possible Semitic links with the Goblins of Gringotts and weird anti-government sentiment when it comes to Hogwarts. 

So I am a huge Harry Potter fan and always have been, they've given me so much joy over the years and I'm sure they will continue to. But that doesn't mean I'm willing to brush the flaws under the carpet or block out any criticism of the franchise because just because I love something, it doesn't mean that thing has to be completely perfect. There's a culture now of becoming fans of a certain person or thing and placing them on a pedestal so that nobody can criticise or point out flaws in things. I feel as if this is because people get so worried that if their favourite thing is flawed, then it will reflect badly on them or they start almost worshipping it with the attitude that any negativity will have to be fought off or everything will collapse. That's simply not the case and we have to learn to be open to conversation about pop culture that isn't just love and hate because there's so much grey area that makes for interesting discussion.

I feel as if fans should feel more comfortable to be critical of the things they love, not being cruel or hateful but just acknowledging flaws in a healthy way. I've started to realise that I have problems with the Harry Potter franchise but I'm not contradicting myself by enjoying the books because if I only read things that were perfect, I'd have absolutely nothing to read. 

I don't know whether its because I'm moving away from the fan culture of the internet or just because I'm getting more mature but I'm done with all or nothing views on pop culture and am certainly trying to think more about the things I consume. This may help me to see the cracks in brilliant creations but it's also going to help me to see the hidden gold in them too.

Have a wonderful week!
Hattie xo

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1 comment:

  1. YES! I definitely get what you're saying. Over the last few years I've definitely become much less invested in internet fan culture, and been able to voice my criticisms of things I love without getting shouted down. Nowadays when tv shows/books etc. gain a huge following, it can be hard to discuss it properly because people always seem to be 100% accepting of every single element of their favourite thing. Obviously nothing is 100% perfect, and discussing the positives and negatives of something you love makes for a much more interesting discussion than just a rant on how great something is.

    A very interesting post!

    Charlotte xx


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