Is The New J.K. Rowling Story Sort Of Sexist?

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In J.K. Rowling's latest Pottermore story detailing the history of magic in North America, she reveals an exciting fact about the wizarding world. The Magical Congress of the United States of America had a female president, Emily Rappaport, way back in 1790. You know, when George Washington was president of the country.

But there's also something undeniably sour about this new tale. Rowling explains that the MACUSA segregated wizards from non-magical "No-Maj." Why? Because of a girl who, Rowling writes, "was as dim as she was pretty."

As the story goes, this young woman, Dorcus, was the daughter of a man who was essentially MACUSA's treasury secretary. (Aside: Should there be a Hamilton-style musical about the early wizarding government in the U.S.? Just a thought.) Dorcus falls for a No-Maj who, unbeknownst to her, hates magic, steals her wand, and goes on a literal witch hunt. "Dorcus’ indiscretions led to the introduction of Rappaport’s Law. Rappaport’s Law enforced strict segregation between the No-Maj and wizarding communities," Rowling writes. "Wizards were no longer allowed to befriend or marry No-Majs. Penalties for fraternising with No-Majs were harsh. Communication with No-Majs was limited to that necessary to perform daily activities."

Rowling created one of our favorite fictional heroines in Hermione Granger, but writes about Dorcus with a disappointing amount of disdain. It's unfortunate that the author resorts to the stereotype of a ditzy, boy-crazy woman, and allows Dorcus' actions to be an object of scorn.

Rowling has stumbled in these new stories. With the release of the first in the series earlier this week, she was accused of appropriating Native American culture. This new one, in addition to being a little sexist, seems ignorant when you consider that the U.S. has an all-too-real and devastating history of racial segregation.

The final piece about magic in North America is due out tomorrow.

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