Ruthless patriarchal assault on the self-esteem of teenage boys has become an accepted norm. There is a grave silence about adult male tyranny in relation to teenage boys. Much of the adult male terrorism of and competition with little boys and young males is conducted through mass media. Much of the mass media directed at young male consumers is created by self-hating, emotionally shutdown adult men who have only the pornography of violence to share with younger men. To that end they create images that make killing alluring and the sexual exploitation of females the seductive reward. In the wake of feminist, antiracist, and postcolonial critiques of imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy, the backlash that aims to reinscribe patriarchy is fierce. While feminism may ignore boys and young males, capitalist patriarchal men do not. It was adult, white, wealthy males in this country who first read and fell in love with the Harry Potter books. Though written by a British female, initially described by the rich white American men who “discovered” her as a working-class single mom, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books are clever modern reworkings of the English schoolboy novel. Harry as our modern-day hero is the supersmart, gifted, blessed, white boy genius (a mini patriarch) who “rules” over the equally smart kids, including an occasional girl and an occasional male of color. But these books also glorify war, depicted as killing on behalf of the “good.”
The Harry Potter movies glorify the use of violence to maintain control over others. In Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets violence when used by the acceptable groups is deemed positive. Sexism and racist thinking in the Harry Potter books are rarely critiqued. Had the author been a ruling-class white male, feminist thinkers might have been more active in challenging the imperialism, racism, and sexism of Rowling’s books.
Again and again I hear parents, particularly antipatriarchal parents, express concern about the contents of these books while praising them for drawing more boys to reading. Of course American children were bombarded with an advertising blitz telling them that they should read these books. Harry Potter began as national news sanctioned by mass media. Books that do not reinscribe patriarchal masculinity do not get the approval the Harry Potter books have received. And children rarely have an opportunity to know that any books exist which offer an alternative to patriarchal masculinist visions. The phenomenal financial success of Harry Potter means that boys will henceforth have an array of literary clones to choose from.
From The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. Had never heard anyone criticize Harry Potter for this.