10 thoughts on “Is Harry Potter “feisty?”

  1. I love your list! Thank you! It reminds me of Joanna Russ’ book “How To Suppress Women’s Writing” where she identifies common mechanisms used to underestimate women writers’ work [and artists’], and to undermine them. These mechanisms include ignoring women writers completely. They also include dismissing women’s work because they write about the ‘wrong’ things, condemning them for writing in the wrong genre, blaming them for what others have deleted from their work, or simply joking about them. I’ve often noticed the use of all these mechanisms as I talk with and about, and read about, women scriptwriters and directors. I think that the mechanisms are based on beliefs generated by fear of the unfamiliar or the ‘different’, and depend on fixed ideas about the meanings of gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, ability, resources, appearance, role or what a script or film is or should be. I return again and again to “How to Suppress Women’s Writing”, because—like your list—it reminds me of specific behaviours that affect women storytellers, and stories about women and girls that reach the screen.

  2. Regarding “Spunky”, I have heard people describe little boys having “spunk”.

    There was a TV cartoon from the late 1950s called “Spunky and Tadpole” (both characters are boys; Spunky is human and Tadpole is a talking bear).

    In a finale movie of “Ed, Edd n Eddy”, Eddy’s brother said to Edd that he “has spunk”, although it was used in an insulting way (immediately after he said that line he slammed him into the ground in a cartoon fashion)

  3. She’s “bossy”; he’s “a leader”.

    She’s “promiscuous”; he’s “studly” or “a ladies’ man”.

    On a whim, I decided to google “picard is” “kirk is” “sisko is” and “janeway is” to see what kind of descriptors I got. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, at the obvious sexist and racist slants to the results I got for Janeway and Sisko.

    Kirk and Picard:
    resourceful
    courageous
    heroic
    genius
    daring
    charismatic
    revolutionary
    authoritative
    inspiring
    a leader
    masterful
    a superior ___
    tough
    clever
    intimidating
    mischievous
    powerful
    brilliant
    a genius
    bold
    confident
    brawny
    stodgy

    Sisko:
    a pimp
    complex
    short-tempered
    wise
    young
    a badass
    incredible
    loud
    angry

    Janeway:
    tough
    commanding
    discerning
    warm
    accessible
    vulnerable
    sensitive
    aspiring
    promiscuous
    ugly
    sexy

  4. Here are some words I’ve heard in kids’ pop culture in reference to females that drive me crazy. I’m not sure there are male equivalents but would certainly love to hear suggestions. The words are: nag and catfight. Thanks!

  5. Headstrong (stubborn)
    Confident (Can’t tell him a damn thing)
    Curious (antisocial)
    Organized (anal retentive)
    Outspoken (Has to have the last word all the time)

    Incidentally, thinking over my experiences man-and-boy, I’m really hard pressed to recall when the word “assertive” was associated with a masculine pronoun except for: “He really needs to become more assertive.” No really, even when it would fit, people don’t use that to describe dudes. “That character John Wayne played, he was really assertive.” Doesn’t happen. It would waste time and syllables describing something everyone would expect anyway.

    But how many times have I heard females described this way? Tons! Very often when someone is thinking of putting a girl or woman in a position of authority: She’d be good for that, she’s really assertive. You really haven’t heard this before?

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