Feminism Friday: What do we do with terrible men in our favourite media?


Content Note: This post discusses several men accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment.


Recently, a friend asked me a question. Tagging myself and several other feminist-minded friends in the post, he asked:

What do we do with the art/movies made by men who have been exposed as monsters?

It’s a simple question, with no simple answer. Here’s my best attempt to answer it.

The first thing is that you should avoid financially supporting the abuser – don’t go to an Aziz Ansari show, don’t buy Johnny Depp merchandise, don’t see new movies produced by Weinstein. That is, believe it or not, the easy part. Humans are more complicated than that.

What if you genuinely enjoyed Master of None and own a copy of it? What if you have every Oscar Best Picture winner on DVD? What if you morally object to Johnny Depp, and JK Rowling’s defense of his casting, but Harry Potter has been such a large part of your life for so long that it would legitimately be detrimental to your mental health to let it go?

At least some people learned the lesson about choosing what is right over what is easy.

I originally thought my friend was referring to Aziz Ansari, since he was in the news that day. Personally, I will never be able to enjoy anything with him in it. Every time I’ve seen his face for the last week, all I can think of him sticking his fingers down Grace’s throat, and the squirmy feelings of uncomfortableness I had while reading that article. My friends (including the one who asked the question) are generally feminist – they know that Ansari is not a feminist, and I knew I did not need to explain that to him.

My friend clarified. He was talking about Harry Potter. Well, crap. He knows what he’s asking with this question. I know what he’s asking with this question. Most of the people he tagged and had chimed in in the comments knew what he was asking. We’re all quidditch players. We know what he meant.

The common, and easy, answer is to not financially support the Fantastic Beast movie. I have a friend who will be hosting a pirating party to view it after its release (not that I’m advocating illegal activity on my blog *coughcough*). I will not be seeing it in theaters.

But… what about JK Rowling’s statement of being glad to have Depp in Fantastic Beasts? Well, she was the one who taught a generation of kids that we must choose between what is right, and what is easy.

Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good and kind and brave because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort.

You didn’t kill Cedric for this bullshit, JKR. But *ahem* I’m getting off topic. What do we do with our 3 sets of Harry Potter books, and full set of DVDs, and the first Fantastic Beasts, our wands, our studio visit tickets, our harry potter tattoos, hell, our quidditch gear? Well, I’m not going to be throwing mine out. I probably won’t stop buying Harry Potter stuff, either, though I’ll probably stick to the sets I have and not buy any brand-new sets. I’m certainly not going to stop playing quidditch. I’ll probably watch Crimes of Grindelwald eventually. I’ll also try to remember the lessons that Jo taught me, and hope that she remembers those lessons, too. Be good, and kind, and brave, and stick up for those who cannot stick up for themselves, and always, always choose what is right, especially when it is not easy. It’d be easy to continue to be a part of Harry Potter fandom without being critical of Johnny Depp. It’d be easy to not criticize Johnny Depp and the Fantastic Beasts filmmaking team and continue like nothing happened.

Our heroes aren’t perfect, and neither are we, but we can still try to choose what is right, even if we aren’t completely sure what’s right.

I’m sure we can throw Johnny Depp out though. Fuck him.


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Ra is a 25 year old nerd living in Sunnyvale, California. They work as a barista and get paid to talk about coffee for 8 hours a day. You can often find them sewing, cooking, gaming, playing quidditch, reading, writing, or blogging about the above.

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