May 31, 2007
The Illogical Inference
This is a sad, ironic, and completely unsurprising commentary on the state of Hollywood, the publishing industry, and society.
The strip is "Non Sequitur," found here.
I've heard it said before that if Harry Potter had been a Harriet, no amount of gender-neutral pen names by one Joanne Kathleen Rowling would have made any difference--the books would not have sold. Unfortunately, I think there's an element of truth to this. This is further inflated by the entertainment industry, with its myopic focus on teenage males as its target audience.
While I do harbor a secret wish that J.K. would have said "Screw you" and not only written a female Harry, but a female Dumbledore and maybe even a female Voldemort, I imagine that manuscript would have gone exactly nowhere. (Unless, at the end of Book VII, Harry is killed and comes back as Harriet--maybe even Hermione and Ron's daughter.) This may or may not be deliberate sexism, but it's sexism nonetheless. The fact that it's really not discussed--and the overwhelming surprise evidenced by the obvious turnaround in the strip above--shows how subtly patriarchy is woven into the fabric of our society, and how hard it will be to remove.