But on the whole, Rowling’s wizarding society conforms to boringly conventional gender roles. Dads, like the loveable Mr. Weasley (father of red-headed sidekick Ron), go off to work while steadfast moms stay home cooking, cleaning, and rearing large families. ~Dana Goldstein (some Deathly Hallows spoilers included)

Via Steve Sailer

Of course, there’s every reason in the world to reject in its entirety this latest stab at dissecting the politics, sexual or otherwise, of Harry Potter and Rowling.  If there is something boringly conventional going on, it is the need of pundits to find a political message beyond the rather tendentious “Nazi-like wizards are as bad as the Nazis” theme that runs throughout the series.  Then again, nothing could be more boring than loading down a fantasy series with the WWII preoccupations of the Anglo-American mind, but to complain about this would be once again to dwell on the politics of the story to the detriment of the story’s important themes.  Preferably, these pundits need to find a message with which they strongly disagree, so as to appear quite unconventional and different in their discovery of a reason to loathe Harry Potter’s subtle signals of, in this case, cultural conservatism. 

These two sentences cited above capture for me the heart of the matter: because Rowling’s society ”conforms” to  “boringly conventional” (i.e., traditional or normal) gender roles, the story’s veritable overflowing with liberal cliches and feel-good affirmations of multicultural and multiethnic Britain count for almost nothing with Goldstein.  Thus, despite the fact that we do not really want it credited to our view of things, Harry Potter is delivered, gift-wrapped, to the doorstep of patriarchal reactionaries.  This seems odd to me.  It is as if a conservative writer went out of his way to criticise Tolkien’s supposed radical feminism because he made Eowyn into a substantial and heroic character.

The core complaint Goldstein has about the stereotyping that goes on in Potter is that it actually takes diversity too seriously.  The story assumes that creatures that are not entirely human will behave differently from humans, and it suggests that there are ingrained differences between the groups that can be traced back to the different natures they possess.  If progressives believe that all talk of beings having common natures is “reactionary,” this will put progressives in an odd bind of explaining why it is that they should think that there are such things as human rights.  Had Rowling kept her nods toward diversity at the merely tokenist, superficial level, and never attributed any significance to difference, all would probably have been well.