No, the Harry Potter series should not be “canceled” because of J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans stance. Show more Show less
J.K. Rowling has recently garnered widespread attention for her transphobic statements, but this does not mean her work is not pivotal for many young people.
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Harry Potter has cultural value and has shaped a generation outside of Rowling’s direct influence
J.K. Rowling is not the be-all, end-all of the Harry Potter series. She created it, but it continues to exist outside of her original written work.
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In current debates about the cancellation of public figures, particularly those who have created culturally relevant works like popular music, books, or movies, the phrase is often thrown around: separate the art from the artist. While this is not fully possible, as the cultural and social context of an author’s creation is an important formative factor of the work itself, it aims at dissecting that piece of art and finding ways that the art’s impact on consumers is separate from the authorial intent of the work. The Harry Potter fandom has become such a widespread phenomenon that it exists outside of the world the author herself has created. Countless fanworks and theories are originated on a regular basis, many from creators who denounce Rowling and her views. More importantly, the Harry Potter fandom has been an important factor in multigenerational identities, as well as a source of diversity for those who wish to use the template of worldbuilding to imagine the characters as more reflective of their own experiences. While Rowling herself may not be the ideal generator of this diversity, the cancellation of the Harry Potter series would erase the work that those creators have done to make their communities reflective of a wider range of experiences and a safe place for many kinds of escapism. The legal ownership of a creator is different from the metaphorical ownership of content and characters by fans. While nobody but Rowling may profit off of her ideas, the ideas themselves deserve to remain non-controversial in order to maintain the inclusivity that has been fostered within the fandom.
This is not the only time Rowling has come under fire in recent years. She has received much criticism for retconning the diversity of her characters: for example, retroactively claiming Dumbledore was gay. Clearly, the time for self-improvement has passed, because she has only continued to cause damage to the LGBTQ community. Other authors are better suited to capture diversity within young adult or fantasy genres, and we should give those authors our attention, time, and money.
Rejecting the premises