A few days ago, I wrote an article about 50 Shades of Grey and how damaging the book is as far as the messages it sends to its readers. Similarly to Twilight, 50 Shades depicts a horribly abusive relationship as one that we should all strive toward. Seriously, the BDSM sex aside, it sounds like Christian Grey is an overbearing, condescending asshole and I don’t understand why anyone reading the books would idealize that kind of relationship, but whatever. The same thing happened with Edward and Twilight.
But 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight aren’t the only books out there changing the way people look at the world, and, thank god, the other book I’m about to talk about is actually changing people for the better.
This article has been circulating my newsfeed today because, wouldn’t you know, July 31st is Harry Potter’s birthday. It’s also JK Rowling’s birthday, so, you know, there’s a double win. To celebrate this occasion, several people have been spreading the good news.
That those of us who grew up reading Harry Potter (and, more specifically, relating to Harry and not Voldemort) are more open toward minorities.
That’s right, folks. Reading Harry Potter as a child made you a better person.
And this isn’t just some random claim by some guy on the internet. In fact, you can read the abstract for the academic study, aptly titled “The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice,” which basically goes over how the study was performed and what they discovered. There’s also an awesome Buzzfeed article that covers things in a little easier-to-understand language. It also includes pictures. So, check it out.
The study surveyed both young children and college-aged adults who had read the books when they were younger, and explored several other connections, such as that of Voldemort to Hitler and “lesser” races being put into slave-like roles in the Harry Potter universe. It also points out that books with positive messages can definitely have real-world effects on the people reading them.
It also gives me the heebie-jeebies to think that some of the people surveyed in the study actually identified more with Voldemort… Isn’t that a major warning sign, you guys?