Monday News: Rowling’s Magic in North America, #UnfairandLovely campaign, rescuing women, and amazing book art
“Magic in North America”: The Harry Potter franchise veers too close to home – So if you’ve heard about or read JK Rowling’s new “Magic in North America” pieces on Pottermore, you may also know about the pushback that Adrienne Keene and others have articulated. Rowling, you see, has decided to bring the Harry Potter world to what we now refer to as North America, a fully colonized territory taken forcefully and most often illegally from the people of the First Nations. This distinction is important, in part because Rowling’s “history” begins about a hundred years before Amerigo Vespucci was even born and carries through colonial history in a way that is astonishingly incoherent and re-colonizing in its portrayal of “magic” indigenous peoples. Rowling has not in any way created something entirely new and fictional here; instead, she has borrowed liberally from known events and cultures and re-written them to fit her own HP world. If you haven’t already, please read Adrienne Keene’s articulate and informative blog posts on the “Magic” writings, and also listen her to discuss the appropriation issues further on this CBC radio interview. As Keene writes on her blog,
We fight so hard every single day as Native peoples to be seen as contemporary, real, full, and complete human beings and to push away from the stereotypes that restrict us in stock categories of mystical-connected-to-nature-shamans or violent-savage-warriors. Colonization erases our humanity, tells us that we are less than, that our beliefs and religions are “uncivilized”, that our existence is incongruent with modernity. This is not ancient history, this is not “the past.” The ongoing oppression of Native peoples is reinscribed everyday through texts and images like this trailer. How in the world could a young person watch this and not make a logical leap that Native peoples belong in the same fictional world as Harry Potter?
We are also fighting everyday for the protection of our sacred sites from being destroyed by mining, fracking, and other forms of “development.” These sites are sacred. Meaning they have deep roots in our spiritual beliefs, hold sacred power, and connect us to our ancestors. If Indigenous spirituality becomes conflated with fantasy “magic”–how can we expect lawmakers and the public to be allies in the protection of these spaces?
This isn’t a joke, this isn’t something that can be laughed off and just enjoyed at face value. As I often say, when you’re invisible, every representation matters. And the weight and impact of the Harry Potter brand can’t be ignored. – Native Appropriations
Women of colour around the world are taking part in the #UnfairandLovely campaign – And speaking of fighting back against stereotypes, three University of Texas students began an online campaign against the skin-whitening cream called “Fair & Lovely,” which has been particularly popular in South Asian countries that practice colorism. Check out the incredibly beautiful photos.
It began when black photographer Pax Jones shot a photo series titled “Unfair & Lovely” featuring fellow students, Sri Lankan sisters Mirusha and Yanusha Yogarajah, to highlight their common experiences of colourism. After it went viral, the three decided to evolve the series into a hashtag on social media.
The campaign invites dark-skinned women from around the world to post their photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #unfairandlovely. Since then, hundreds of women have been sharing their stories. – Mashable
The Eight Words I’d Hoped Never to Hear From Any Daughter of Mine – So let’s go for the hat trick of awful stereotypes, shall we? Oby Bamidele discusses the ways in which women internalize and pass down the message that women must rely on men to rescue and take care of them. Even the assumption that a woman wants to marry is part of this messaging, which should give Romance readers and authors something to think about, as the genre continues to promote marriage as the standard HEA.
The other day, my four-year-old daughter and I were hanging out, drawing pictures of Disney’s Princesses Cinderella, Belle and Jasmine from a birthday card she received. We were having a nice time when from nowhere (it seemed) she suddenly uttered the words that I hoped never to hear from any daughter of mine: “The woman always gets saved by the man.”
I felt my heart sink in that instant. “No, no, no”, was all I could think, “How did she miss the lesson I had so carefully been trying to teach her?” Actually, more to the point, how had I missed the fact that I hadn’t done a good job of teaching my daughter that the woman doesn’t always get saved by the man?. Reaching for all my thoughts and trying to quickly get them in some kind of order, I quickly composed myself, looked her in the eye and with a smile said, “No Dara, there are only two people who can save you — God and you.” Of course she didn’t agree with me and an argument ensued, “No mummy, that’s not true”, she insisted, “the man saves the woman.” – Huffington Post
Artist Transforms Old Books Into Miniature Landscapes – So before you get thoroughly bummed out, train your gaze on these amazing works of art.
Artist Guy Laramée transforms old books into oceans, valleys, and sprawling mountain ranges. For the last 25 years, he’s created multimedia artworks that address the “erosion of cultures” and the way new technologies affect the transmission of knowledge. His works explore (and question) the shift from print to digital, from the physical world of the library to the intangible realm of the Internet, giving new life to abandoned encyclopedias and obsolete reference books. – Mental Floss