I bought some DVDs yesterday. No, I did not hit my head and think that it was the mid 2000s again. I went on a bit of a shopping spree yesterday and once I start I can’t stop. I shop till I drop. I throw away my hard earned cash on clothes I don’t need and DVDs in the age of streaming.
Golden Discs is a well-known, small chain here in Ireland. They are currently making most of their money from the sale of vinyl records and me stupidly buying the CDs of artist who host their whole collection of music on Spotify and DVDs that are inevitably streaming online.
After buying Parasite, the Oscar-winning film, I saw that the shop was having one of its many sales. Two DVDs for twelve euro. ‘Absolute bargain,’ I thought without even checking if these movies were on Netflix or Prime. I ended up buying A Star is Born and Fantastic Beasts (2016). I am a massive Harry Potter fan, although that love has been tempered in the last few months.
As Black Lives Matters protests were made into violent riots by the various police forces of America, J.K. Rowling tweeted a hateful thread about trans people and her own backwards beliefs on their bodies. She had built a good reputation during the years that her Harry Potter books and movies were flying off the shelves and being distributed in cinemas worldwide. She donated to various charities and several of her most prominent characters in her books were young girls and women. She announced that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were gay together. Her play, Cursed Child, while not unanimously loved, had a black actress, Noma Dumezweni, play Hermione. Rowling could not have seriously been accused of exclusion.
Then, as the world was reeling from George Floyd’s death and an international mishandling of the Covid crisis, Rowling decided that she had another battle to fight. She tweeted her annoyance at an article that used the phrase, ‘people who menstruate,’ instead of saying that women are the only ones who menstruate. After facing criticism for this tweet she doubled down and posted more lengthy tweets stating that she would march for trans people if they were being persecuted for being trans, but she just couldn’t let women’s experiences be erased so that people could identify as whatever gender they wanted to identify as. As if we would suddenly turn around to the women in our lives and online and disregard their stories about period pains, cramps and health effects because somebody else identified as a woman. How hard is it to just accept that language must be more inclusive in this modern age?
In the special features section of the Fantastic Beasts DVD (God, I missed special features sections of DVDS) J.K. Rowling talked about Newt Scamander. I couldn’t help but notice that she has had a lot of work done to make her look more youthful. This piece is in no way an attack on J.K. Rowling for her appearance and her changes to it. I don’t care one way or another if you want to get cosmetic surgery to enhance your features or reduce the effects of aging. I have thought about my future imminent baldness and what I am going to do to combat that. What I do have an issue with is the hypocrisy on show by the famous/infamous author. At a base level, J.K. Rowling wanting to look more youthful and a person wanting to transition to their preferred gender is one in the same. Both people are uncomfortable in their bodies. Both want to change themselves so that they find peace and comfort in the body of their choice. None of us choose to be here on this earth. None of us choose to be a boy or a girl. None of us choose our genetic or mental make up. We have no control of how fast we go bald or how soon wrinkles start appearing on our foreheads. However, in this modern age, we can change things so that we are comfortable in our bodies and happy as an individual.
Yes, wanting to look younger and wanting to be a different gender are completely different things. Underneath it all, though, there is a stark hypocrisy from Rowling. She will face no backlash from any famous figures about her altered appearance. However, all the young trans fans of Harry Potter have had the author of their favourite fantasy series tell them that they will never be the same as her or the gender they are transitioning too. She will march with you and for you but does not view you as equals. She will write a fantasy series where a fictional character is celebrated for his sexuality, but in real life she couldn’t care less about your situation.
As I get older it is getting harder and harder to separate the art from the deeply flawed humans we once admired.