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Harry Potter and the Feminist Fairy Tale

Posted by pocochina on June 9, 2007

I’ll be defending this statement with the use of individual characters, including their stories, Harry’s opinion of the characters, and the meta-significance of the characters in the story when applicable.  I’ll also be looking at several groups of witches, and pheonomena in the magical world as relates to gender issues.  I’m not going to argue that the story is a perfect fem-topia, but that it is that rare breed, a children’s story largely stripped of sexism.

In the general Wizarding World, there’s little question about legal equality between witches and wizards.  Witches sit on the Wizengamot, they’re Ministers for Magic and Heads of House and reporters and Healers as well as Mums.  There’s not perfect equality, but several times, we get the absolute treat of seeing girls stand up for themselves in the face of that inequality.

It’s only natural to start with Hermione Granger.

Hermione rules.

Ahem.  To be more specific, Hermione’s the smartest kid at school.  No slouch, in a school where there’s an entire House of people who “are of ready mind.”  She’s crucial to Harry’s success – even when she’s Petrified in CoS, she still saves the day, having figured out the Basilisk mystery, and been prescient enough to write down her reasoning, just in case it got her.  Smart, and willing to work for it, ranks almost as high as ovaries-out courage in Rowling’s world, so Hermione’s talent isn’t just the narrative necessity of getting facts to the reader, it’s a way of telling the reader that she’s something else, all right.  She’s a lot like Harry in her gender conformity, noticeably a girl, but far from being an uber-femme girly girl.  Hermione has faults, she’s a realistic, fleshed-out character, not a Sue.  Her neuroses, especially in her younger incarnations, make me absolutely cringe with self-recognition.  We’re not to put girls on a pedestal unless they belong there, and Hermione will read her way to the top of that heap if she has to stomp on the Dark Lord himself to get there.  (She can mix any metaphors necessary, and she’s not afraid to do it!)

Oh, and she’s a Social Crusader.  A Girl For Justice.  SPEW isn’t just some pipe dream.  Whether or not she’s right in her methods, whether or not she gets anywhere ever, Sistergirl Hermione will do the right thing even if there’s nothing in it for her except the salving of her conscience, which will not permit her to do nothing.  It’s not a passing phase, she holds her political convictions to date, and while we’re sure to find out more about house elves in DH, we already know that Hermione will be on their side.  The author’s having a bit of a laugh at her teenage dramatics over the issue, yes, but she’s also encouraging all her readers, but especially girls, to get out there, do something, and tell anyone to eat s**t if they laugh.

Hermione’s not afraid to call her boys out, either.  When Ron gets huffy over the aspersions cast on her by Rita Skeeter in GoF, she just chuckles at the notion of anyone being so stupid as to care.  When Harry assumes, based on nothing but his gut, that the Half-Blood Prince is a boy, she does an instant Sexism Check on him – and Harry’s appalled at the suggestion.  (“Hey boys,” says the clever author, “you can play too!”)

Hermione also gives us a chance to look at intersectionality in the Wizarding World.  She’s a witch and a Muggleborn.  We get to see how she feels about being The Girl in her group of friends, how not following the prescribed gendered script that comes so naturally to Lavendar and Parvati affects her, and the effects of pureblood prejudice in her life.

The portrayal of her character also gives us an important comment on appearances.  It’s pretty unusual that Harry can know Hermione for almost half of their lives, but not give us much more than “frizzy hair and buck teeth” by way of physical description.  Because it doesn’t matter.  She’s the most important live woman in the series (Lily Evans, of course, whups Voldemort’s *ss, and so probably deserves that honor overall), and it does not matter what she looks like, because she is good and brave and intelligent and kind.  Yeah, halfway through GoF we find out that she cleans up nicely, but we also find out that she can’t be bothered, it gets in the way of living her life.  (Hermione Granger and the Slaying of the Beauty Myth!  It’s so delicious, it must be fattening-and Hermione wouldn’t give a crap.  She’s got a paper to write and a Ministry minion to vanquish.)  The author is careful to give young women readers a character with whom they can identify without having to face any insecurites about their own appearances.  ‘Course, this should go without saying, but, well, in the real world, that’s huge.

Ah.  And romance.  I’d argue against the idea, passed around since HBP, that her behavior in terms of the Ron/Lavendar relationship makes her less of a feminist character.  A concept that runs through the books is the idea that romance is not all there is to life, but it is a natural and healthy part of life.  Hermione is entitled to her feelings for Ron, entitled to her anger at him when he throws Lavender in her face, and still entitled to remain a fully-drawn character.  If she just shrugged it off, after years of hints about how important she and Ron are to each other, well, that’d make her suspect, in my opinion.  She’s understandably hurt and angry when they’d come close to an understanding, and then he goes and gets a girlfriend, one of her dorm-mates, who as far as we can tell she’s never much liked?  Hell, I’d be annoyed, anyone would be.  And considering the suffering you just know she could inflict if she chose, chasing the boy around with some killer canaries is hardly an overreaction.

And I did say Hermione and Ron.  The author’s careful not to turn Hermione into The Girl by pairing her off with Harry; she’s cleverly written the two sidekicks with a passionate, slightly volatile compatibility.  It wouldn’t change my opinion of Hermione as a strong character if she were written to be with Harry, but in terms of the traditional narrative, her most important characteristic would be her relationship with Harry, instead of her aforementioned badassedness.

Hermione’s relentless overachieving, as well as her oft-noted upon flaws, are extreme, yes.  But it’s a comment on the world she lives in as much as Hermione herself.  Like it or not, women of any sort of ambition require this extremity – otherwise, we’re just, well, girls.  It’s not fair, it’s not okay, but it’s the world.  Until Hermione takes over, that is.

Lily Evans Potter

What do we know about Lily?

She eventually fell in love with James Potter, although not before shaking him off her feet like so much dirt and letting him know exactly what she thought of his bullying.  She was one of Slughorn’s favorite students, and also had a wand suitable for Charms, suggesting that she had gifts in several subjects, despite knowing nothing about the magical world before her acceptance to Hogwarts at 11.  She was Hot Stuff.  She – not Harry, not James, not Dumbledore – took Voldemort down and ended the First War; as far as we know, this happened entirely single-handedly.  Voldemort would’ve let her live.  For some reason, she was useful to him.  Also, in a series where female friendship is, admittedly, somewhat lacking, half of Lily’s small bit of screen time is with her friends.

In a series where names give away as much as full dialogues with many of the characters, Lily Evans’ name is interesting because of its mundane nature.  Partially, of course, this signals Lily’s Muggle roots, where parents would be less than likely to name their children after consellations or obsure breeds of dragon.  Lily’s flower name is parallel to her sister Petunia (and also, interestingly, to Narcissa Black).  It’s also a derivitave of the name Lilith.  History of Abrahamic Religions 101:  Lilith, in Jewish tradition, was Adam’s first wife, thrown out of Eden because she refused to submit to the missionary position.  Probably irrelevant to the story, but certainly intriguing in light of Lily’s immense control over her relationship with James.

The author is careful not to let Lily become only the archetype of the self-sacrificing mother, while still paying tribute to that particularly feminine role.  Women are mothers, and motherhood is powerful, in this series the most powerful thing – and even with all that particular power, Lily as an individual still comes through.  Lily rocks at Potions, overshadowing even Severus (and we know he’s bloody talented) – she’s smart and inquisitive.  In front of at least her entire class (if not the whole school), she pulls a wand on the infamous James Potter and Sirius Black, and they “eye her wand warily” – mess not with Lily Evans, for she will smite you mightily.  She may have Ginny’s apperance and popularity, but she has all the intellectual prowess and just instincts of our girl Hermione.

And in this context, all the fuss about James actually makes more narrative sense.  Without his legendary mischief-making, without Sirius and Remus around to cherish Harry like uncles, without all of that – he wouldn’t matter at all. James needs whole subplots just to keep up with Lily and her two pages of appearance, and even after all that, we still can’t help but like Lily better.  Whether or not it’s a sly commentary on the way the world is, I’m certainly not prepared to argue, but it could work that way.

Molly Weasley

In keeping with our Titian-haired mother figure theme, Molly Weasley is a celebration of the typical feminine, and also a commentary on poor ways women treat other women when it comes to issues of sexuality.

As far as we know – and we do only see Molly during the summer and the holiday, for all we know, she could be a magical construction worker when her kids aren’t home – Molly’s a housewife.  And we may or may not like Molly, but we never get to assume that her job is anything less than a full time job.  She’s homeschooled more than a half-dozen successful kids, and is always busy doing something hugely useful.  We’re absolutely supposed to appreciate her work.

Molly does have a dark side, though, which manifests in GoF and HBP.  We hear Ron gasp over Hermione’s honor when the papers make her out to be a “scarlet woman” – really?  She was raising her horde of wizard boys to be afraid of the Evil Vag?  Then even more painfully, she believes Rita Skeeter’s crap about Hermione.  Her deep suspicion of Fleur is more easily explained – Bill is, after all, the first of her babies to be engaged – but it’s still there, and it takes a mauling and a French temper tantrum to snap her out of it.  (Take notes, Hermione!)

Fleur Delacour

I admit, the Veela bothered me at first.  (They still do bother me in the GoF movie, otherwise known as Harry Potter and the Gender Binary on Steroids.  But I digress.)  But I’ve come to like Fleur, and to appreciate the commentary on female beauty.

Fleur’s a Triwizard Champion for an entire school, quite conceivably the size of Hogwarts, and she finishes respectably.  We see, for all the outside world associates her with a Veela Gone Wild, the most important person in her life is her sister.  This compares her favorably with Viktor and Cedric, whose most beloved are their girlfriends of a scant few weeks, and makes her more like Our Romantically-Challenged Hero – Ron is, after all, the closest he’ll ever have to a brother.  (Unless they’re gay; see accompanying essay Harry Potter and the Gay, Gay Subtext for details.  Even accepting that distant possibility, this makes Fleur even more cool – instead of being analagous to Harry, she’s even better.)

Fleur is a stunning beauty, but she’s also an Other on a couple of counts.  Being part Veela means she’s not fully human, so it’s tough to know her standing under British Wizarding Law.  She’s also an expatriate Frenchwoman, in a country not widely known for its politeness to her people.  Yes, she is scorching hot, but we can rest assured that her success is based on her competence, since she’s also marked as Other.

Moreover, the whole concept of Veela can read very comfortably as a vicious indictment of beauty-obsessed culture.  Why are they so unnaturally beautiful?  Because it is not humanly possible, and they are not human.  Overall message of Fleur?  It’s okay to be a pretty girl, you are not just your pretty face – but unreal beauty is, in fact, unreal.

Nymphadora Tonks

Tonks rocks.  Tonks is an Auror with a killer sense of humor and a super cool special power and enough of a committment to justice to join the Order even though she’s just starting out at the Ministry.  She’s also got endearing, and markedly unfeminine, flaws – she is clumsy and nosy and you just know she tells bad jokes.  And she eschews her superfemme first name (for which I can’t imagine she wasn’t mercilessly teased at school) for the tough but friendly Tonks.

We meet Tonks in OotP, when she’s making friends with Harry at Privet Drive.  She immediately wins him over with her distaste for Privet Drive and willingness to mess with the Dursleys.  We find out just how badass she must be in the chapter “Career Advice,” when McGonagall explains to Harry just how rigorous the Auror training acceptance process is, and says that “nobody’s been taken on in the last three years.”  Do the math, and it has to be Tonks.  That’s right, nobody’s had her combination of brains and bravery in three years – oh, and Rowling’s website tells us she’s a Hufflepuff, so those aren’t even her defining characteristics.  Just, you know, top of her class and battling evil on the side.

Her Metamorphmagus abilities also open up a world of analysis about women’s bodies.  Her shapeshifting could certainly read as a code for bisexuality, especially in light of her nonconformity to gender norms overall.  She’s also totally immune to beauty standards.  This is a woman who could be hotter than Fleur every day, but she chooses to be, in Ron’s words, “okay looking” because it’s who she is.  She does use her ability to make her hair shocking pink – look at me, suckers, I’m being exactly who I am, and I’m in your effing face.

HBP, of course, sees her in some tough times.  She’s wandering aimlessly through the castle, scared for Remus, terrified about the war, and probably pulling triple shifts because the Aurors and Order are losing good people left, right, and center.  She’d just started to be reacquainted with the cousin she’d lost as a kid, and then her aunt killed him.  Yes, part of her distress is due to her relationship being on the rocks, but I think it’s insane to assume that’s the whole story – she’s got more issues than National Geographic at this point in the story.  He is important to her, though, and that’s okay.  Like with Hermione, I don’t think that loving someone makes her a weak woman, I think it makes her a complete person who’s capable of love, and capable of appropriate reactions when hurt by her partner.

The Tonks/Lupin relationship also has a great feminist message.  Tonks, after all, will be earning the paycheck, not to mention raising hell at work every time someone comes after werewolves – and this all happens without the reader losing any respect for Remus.

Ginny Weasley

I’m actually not a huge Ginny fan.  Sometimes I like her, sometimes I don’t.  The times I don’t, she’s practically Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls, unless of course she’s standing by her man like Tammy Wynette.  Ginny’s another character that I struggle with as a feminist.

What I do love about Ginny is the way she holds her own with her brothers.  She gets a nasty, sexist talking-to by the twins early on in HBP about her social life, and she cedes absolutely no ground in informing the twins that it’s none of their business who she dates, thank you very much.

Ginny and her pre-Harry relationships also serve to show us Harry’s reactions to female sexuality.  None of this Weasley-ish “people think she’s a ho” nonsense for Our Hero.  Harry-the-narrator openly admits to himself that the only part of him reacting to Ron’s criticism of Ginny’s social life is his jealousy – “the monster in his chest” – something literally subhuman.  His brain and heart are completely on her side.

Luna Lovegood

Luna’s such a fun character.  When the author wants to tell us cold, hard, verifiable facts about the world, she gives them through Hermione or Dumbledore.  When she wants to tell us possibilities, physical or metaphysical, we hear them from Luna.  The metaphysical matters in Harry’s world, and is as real as the rain on your face, so Luna isn’t only a dreamer, she’s a Mystic.

Luna – and everyone’s either known or been a Luna – is outside the realm of social expectation.  Her blatant honesty, her outlandinsh fashion choices, and her ability to have faith in anything remind us that we’re supposed to be thinking about the best case scenario, instead of the worst.  Her appearance is a reclaimation of the feminine – long blonde hair that she ignores, a full jewelry collection that nobody else would wear – the author’s telling us to present our authentic selves to the world around us.  Also, of course, Luna is the moon, a feminine symbol as old as history.

And the Black sisters.   Oh, I love me some Black sisters.  As a whole, the Black sisters are a group of characters that could simply be an archetype – there’s three Fates, three fairy godmothers, the maiden, mother, and crone in classical mythology – but the author’s been careful to give us three sisters with distinct personalities and fascinating backstories.  They also run the good-evil gamut:  Bellatrix, who probably crucio’s cute puppies for fun, Andromeda with her major rebellion and muggleborn husband, and Narcissa, who’s married to Lucius, but probably hasn’t been the Dark Lord’s biggest fan since Draco was initiated.

Bellatrix Black Lestrange

is insanely, deliciously evil.  It’s an important point that the author doesn’t fall into the “women are equal, therefore all women are good” logical fallacy – and when Potter women are evil, they are evil.  Bellatrix is way scarier than most of the other Death Eaters.  The character could be merely an Evil Queen to Voldemort, but Bellatrix is ever so much more.  She’s already married, thus at least putting a twist on a consort role.  But the narrative tells us over and over that she hasn’t joined the Death Eaters because the Dark Lord thinks she’s pretty – she is actually a dyed in the wool pureblood supremacist, and also a pointed sadist.  Bellatrix comes out of Azkaban absolutely mad, but still powerful.

Andromeda Black Tonks

Andromeda is the dark horse (HA) of the Black family.  All we know about her is that she left her family in order to marry a Muggleborn, at a relatively young age she gave birth to Tonks, and she’s good at “household spells” (OotP “The Advance Guard”).  Andromeda thus far is cast in a specifically feminine role, but with one glaring importance – her life is entirely her choice.  As a daughter of the House of Black, she’d have been expected to marry and produce Dark young heirs.  She’s left behind privilege for freedom and love (very Disney movie).  As for her household skills, she’d have to have learned them on her own.  There’s no way the House of Black would have even taught its daughters to do something the house elves could do; the Lady of the House doing menial labor just wouldn’t look right to the neighbors.  Yes, it would’ve been more Third Wave and fun if Andromeda had met Ted once she and Sirius had been disinherited and run away to Canada together, but it’s certainly not an unrealistic rebellion, and it’s also an effective one.  (Plus, she’s still alive.)  I’d also point to Tonks herself as evidence that Andromeda believes in gender equality – yeah, she’s in a dangerous job, but she is absolutely owning it, thanks, and she’d have to be pretty well-adjusted from her upbringing.

Narcissa Black Malfoy

Narcissa is another important character hiding out in a traditional feminine role.  She’s a Desperate Housewife!  She’s Draco’s mum and she’s mean to Harry!   Narcissa’s great because she’s savvy enough to use these particular cultural cues against Snape in HBP (“Spinner’s End”), to much greater effect than Bellatrix’s imperious  “bow before me, surly halfblood” act – in fact, she gets more out of Severus than anyone ever has in front of us.  Even then – it’s still the Baddies employing traditional gender expectations.

We do, of course, get characters that conform to traditional gender performance.  Parvati and Lavendar, as well as Pansy Parkinson, from all appearances are Girly Girls, and they’re markedly contrasted with Flint and McClaggen.  Flint fails his NEWTs, McClaggen ends up on Harry’s last nerve, and Parvati and Lavendar..well, they may be a bit gossipy, but they’re still DA members who seem to do reasonably well in their classes (we don’t know much about Pansy, except that she holds her own in the Slytherin social circle.)

Merope Gaunt (and Love Potions)

Disclaimer:  I am NOT arguing that Merope is, herself, a feminist character.  What I do believe is that Merope on a meta level provides a stirring comment on some very dark gender-related issues.

We see Merope once, and then hear Dumbledore relate what he has concluded (note:  NOT what he has seen first-hand, which I do believe is significant, even though I am not going to argue that Dumbledore is wrong).   When we meet Merope in the Pensieve, her father and brother are emotionally abusing her in front of a stranger.  They disparage her ability as a witch – and for witches and wizards, especially purebloods, magical ability is literally the curx of one’s existence.  It’s the most important thing, and they’re telling her she’s worthless.  The fact that it happens at all is of course enough to turn us against them, but that they choose to behave that way in front of a stranger is significant to us and to Merope – you can’t leave, you’d never make it out there, you’d die without me.  It’s classic abuser behavior.  Our author does her research; I have trouble believing she wouldn’t know that.  And that’s what happens with a Ministry representative present.  Merope is obviously traumatized.

She’s also isolated.  Her magic is clearly untrained and she and Morfin are poorly socialized.  I’d be surprised if either of them had the chance to experience the wider magical world at Hogwarts.  Morfin speaks Parseltongue without realizing Ogden won’t understand him; Merope doesn’t seem able to cast Reparo (or maybe she’s just too terrified in the presence of a stranger).  Seculsion is also a behavior of abusers.  Merope’s never known she had a choice.

Dumbledore’s supposition that Gaunt never learned to feed himself is also a comment on traditional gender roles – rely on them too heavily, assume your endless campaign of abuse will work and you will die, and nobody will be sorry.  (Maryann and Wanda were the best of friends….)

The Gaunts aren’t that far of a stretch from the Blacks, after all.  To pureblood supremacists, I’d imagine the only difference between Merope and Andromeda is social class.  The only time we’ve heard the word “slut” in the series to date, certainly the most vicious real-world slur we see actually spelled out in the text, is in exchange between Morfin the Neanderthal and Riddle the Evil.  That’s no coincidence.

I do think Merope’s story hints at incest.  The Gaunts would have to be heavily inbred to actually show the evidence of genetic deformity that the author’s so careful to portray.  Marvolo’s raised his son and daugher to be capable of nothing but speaking Parseltongue and creating more purebloods, and he’s ensured that they don’t know any other purebloods, or they’d know how to act in front of strangers.  We also get absolutely no information on Merope and Morfin’s mother (or even, for the sake of detail, if they have the same mother) except that she must be a pureblood.  I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to anticipate that Marvolo hoped that his children would recreate his own messed-up, Salazar Slytherin-obsessed life.

I think she raped Riddle Sr with the Love Potion because she had no concept of consent.

I am not defending her actions morally.  But I do not think she knew that what she was doing was wrong.  I think it was all she had ever experienced, and honestly thought that she was making Riddle happy to be with her.

That’s right.  I am arguing that the biggest threat to the wizarding world is the direct result of of using women as breeding stock.  That’s an enormously powerful feminist statement.

I can’t talk about Merope without discussing Love Potions in general.

Love Potions are another problematic concept for the feminist reader.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only person gagging over the Weasley’s hot pink supa-special for girls only line, or appalled by the poor wizard’s rohypnol.

Until the book tells us that we’re supposed to be appalled.  Slughorn vigilantly informs us that love cannot be replicated, and those who would attempt to do so are fools.  Slughorn’s possession of the Love Potion reminds us of his propensity for showing off, even when it may be imprudent or dangerous.  We dislike Romilda Vane before she slips Harry the spiked Cauldron Cakes, and then we see terrible fallout from the incident – it leads indirectly to Ron’s poisoning.

They’re also a necessary plot point to make Riddle’s backstory as twisted as he is.  Coded mostly as a feminine product, they’re chilling, but if they were coded as masculine, the parallels to dating violence (of which men are the overwhelming majority of perpetrators, and women even more likely to be victims) would become viscerally disturbing to readers.

Female athletes:

Alicia, Angela, and Katie are Chasers in PS, Cho and Ginny are both seekers, Angelina becomes Captain after Wood graduates.  The only team with no girls is Slytherin, and we’re clearly supposed to understand that this is the teams’ problem, not the Slytherin girls’.  The Irish Quiddich team in GoF is made up of both men and women, and their powerhouse Chaser side – the reason that they win – is compsed mostly of women.  There’s no need for two teams, because nobody except the Team Moste Evil thinks that women can’t play.

Female Death Eaters:

There’s only a couple.  This does seem partially like a slight authorial carelessness, but I think it fits neatly into the story.  After all, most DEs signed up as a pureblood supremacy statement, so if your big thing is making a new generation of purebloods, and you’re a fertile woman, the last thing you’re going to do is volunteer to be chased around all creation by Aurors if you could be pregnant, and your pureblood supremacist husband isn’t going to be too happy about that either.  Am I arguing that this is feminist?  Absolutely not – it reads as another parallel to Nazi Germany, where girls were told that their sacred duty was to make more white, white babies.  (This also raises some interesting questions about Bellatrix, but that’s another essay.)  But as far as we can tell, women are treated as equals in the DE camp, with the notable exception of Bellatrix, Voldemort’s favorite.

Witches in Education:

The author’s been careful to divide the Hogwarts staff into half men and half women, and since Hogwarts appears to be the alpha and omega of Wizarding education in Britian, that’s notably far ahead of the Muggle world.  We also get Heads of House divided equally between men and women, and a wonderfully-built collegial rivalry between McGonagall and Snape (at least in the earlier part of the series, where we’re still worried about these things).

Witches in Politics:

It’s depressing that we dont’ get to see too much of Amelia Bones as Head of Magical Law Enforcement, but she is certainly the most flatteringly portrayed among the ones we do get to know.  Scrimgeour is a tool who would use Harry for political gain, Crouch sends his own kid to jail, and Bones is apparantly so effective, Voldemort can’t let her live.  There’s witches on the Wizengamot and there have been female Ministers for Magic.  I’d naturally prefer more showing and less telling about witches’ equality, but there is enough telling to assure us that it is there.

Pregnancy and Children:

Well, Harry doesn’t know too many adults, and lots of them are past childbearing years, living away from home, or Snape.  (Enough said there.)  Our concept of witches and reproduction is going to be limited to the Weasleys, the Black family tree, and the few parents of his classmates we do know something about.

Like the Malfoys.  Pure-blooded and one Black-Malfoy heir.  That sounds bloody stupid, considering their politics, especially if the father and said heir are going to mess around with the Dark Lord.  They certainly have the means to care for a wee Phyrangula Black Malfoy.  Can witches lose their fertility?  Has Narcissa been sneaking a contraceptive potion in Lucius’ brandy – or more likely, did she just tell him to bugger off, and preferably not with that Potions bloke?

We’ve already talked about Molly Weasley above.  The Weasleys as a whole are an interesting phenomenon, simply because we dont’ see more of them.  If the magical world is worried about its population – and its numbers should be of concern to them, you can only survive so many Dark Lords – shouldn’t they be at it like rabbits?  It’s not an unreasonable possibility to consider that Molly Weasley, creative and powerful household engineer (and in potential conjunction with a school-year job, remember) is the minority.  Is Narcissa secretly busy running a wizarding advertizing agency?

Also, we don’t know about the parenting status of the vast majority of the witches and wizards we know.  Does Rita Skeeter have a wee little beetle at home?  Could McGonagall have a hoarde of grandkids?  We don’t know, because women in JKR’s world get to have lives separate from their marital and parental lives.

Oh, yes.  And small wizarding families, along with no mention at all of single parent families, certainly point to a wicked effective Contraceptus Charm that every witch and wizard in her right mind uses faithfully.

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