[ Toxic ]
Toxic (Britney Spears Cover) /// Yael Naïm
honestly do not think Dumbledore is gay. JKR should have wrote it into the books if it was true. Her saying it after the series was completed kind of made it seem like a ploy to attract more readers.
Again, so much commentary to be had about all sides of this that I don’t even know which response to reblog to start.
First off: This is why book canon is and will always be more important than Word of God canon - why I argue that it’s important to put things explicitly in the text. Because, when it comes down to it, if you don’t, there will always be people who flat-out deny things or say “well it wasn’t explicitly written there!” (Also, it’s not the authorial intent that matters so much as what’s actually on the page.)
DH’s subtext heavily hints at Dumbledore being in love with Grindelwald. But without it ever being explicitly stated, there will always be people who will argue against it (and, again, from a literary criticism/textual analysis point of view, what’s on the page is what counts - in book-only-canon, Tonks is not necessarily a Hufflepuff, Umbridge is not necessarily a Slytherin, all of Slytherin joined Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, we will never know what color eyes Lupin had or which House Lockhart was in, and Albus Dumbledore’s sexuality is not explicitly stated - there is a basis for an argument that Dumbledore was not gay, and only had a deep friendship with Grindelwald.* **
(*Do I believe this? No, I do believe that Dumbledore is gay - not only because JKR said so, but because of the in-text clues. But without any explicit statement, people like OP can continue to argue.)
As to “it’s a ploy to attract more readers” - bull. She didn’t need to attract more readers; by book 7, the books had a widespread readership, and that’s severely understating things. Everyone had heard of HP, and any possible increase in readership would have been offset by homophobic people/parents setting down the books (although you could argue that most of them had already done so due to “witchcraft!!!”)
But the fact that HP’s readership was so widespread and that HP was so popular also blows fandom’s common arguments to hell - these books were so popular and JKR’s influence so large that, if she had wanted to put Dumbledore’s sexuality into the books openly, she could easily have done so. (Same goes for an openly LGBT Hogwarts student.) Editors were not constraining JKR’s freedom to write; OotP is basically proof that editors were giving her a free hand - it’s a book that JKR has said retrospectively could have used editing, but nobody at Scholastic was going to force her hand.
As for all of the ridiculous comments about “what did you want him to do? [insert gay stereotype about rainbows and unicorns] or the “of course he was gay, did you read about what he was wearing to the orphanage?” - good job reducing LGBT people to stereotypes and making fandom look more like fan-dumb. It is not difficult to write openly gay characters without making their sexuality a focus and without making them one-dimensional stereotypes.
To establish Dumbledore’s romantic orientation, all she needed is one line explicitly having Dumbledore state that he loved Grindelwald, and it could have occurred in any number of contexts - a Pensieve memory (perhaps Dumbledore speaking with Snape?), a statement in HBP when Harry is looking at memories - heck, even Rita Skeeter interviewing Dedalus Diggle would have made sense and put it on the page.***
To establish the presence of a gay character in the series, all that would have been needed is a line or two in passing. We see students running out from the bushes in GoF, there’s the Yule Ball in GoF, HBP is chock-full of teen romance: it’s not impossible or distracting or superfluous to have two male students running out of the bushes together, or to mention that Michael Corner started dating Justin Finch-Fletchley after he broke up with Ginny, or anything to that effect. (Granted, tokenization is another problem entirely, and I’m not saying that simply having Snape catch two male students making out or showing a background couple would have been enough. But it would have been an improvement on what we got, which was a very white, straight main cast.)
So why does this matter? Because representation matters. It matters that people be able to open books and see people who are like them - people who look like them, who are the same sexuality, who they can identify with. (You can identify with people of different appearance and gender and sexuality, of course, but it’s important for people, especially children, to be able to see people in literature who are like them. Seeing someone who reminds you of yourself in a very specific way is important, especially when there aren’t many characters who are like you in books or movies.)
JKR was incredibly powerful - because of the series’s immense popularity, she could have put ANYTHING in these books. That she didn’t isn’t “smearing” (or “smeering,” as another reblogger has stated) her - criticizing something is not hating on it, and I doubt anybody would take the time to engage in detailed discussion of something they hated. Lack of representation is a valid criticism, and wishing that JKR had created more LGBT characters and placed them in her works is a valid wish. (JKR explicitly created Hermione as a character because she had not seen girls like Hermione represented enough in literature - this wish applies to traits outside of being bookish/nerdy/smart and feminine!) To deny that it is, and to belittle others for wanting to see more characters who are like them, is to exhibit an astounding lack of empathy. We see so many inspiring stories about “character X was like me and inspired me to Y,” - why can people not understand how meaningful it would have been to have an explicitly LGBT character playing a major role in their favorite series? (Dumbledore is gay, yes, but the books don’t say so - and they easily could have.)
I could say more about this, but I’m not especially eloquent atm. (Also linking to the open letter from fandomsandfeminism and another post detailing potential Unfortunate Implications/issues because of JKR declaring Dumbledore’s sexuality - note I don’t agree with all the points on either post, especially the latter, but hopefully it will help people understand why this matters so much to other people.)
Seriously, at its core, this should not be hard to understand: JKR does not explicitly state it in the text; the text is the most important thing and matters more than authorial intention; wanting representation for an openly LGBT character and expressing disappointment for not having one is not some great crime deserving of derision and hate from fandom; JKR had the power to do it and popularity/sales/editorial suppression is therefore not a valid excuse.
(As to OP’s point: their reasoning makes no sense, but this confession is only possible because it was not explicitly stated in the books - and “explicitly stated” is not the caricature of Dumbledore shouting “gay” “GAY!” “gayyyy” every other page that half the responses to this are making it out to be.)
**Because someone will probably dispute each of these things: Lupin’s eye color is not mentioned in canon (the HP Wiki bases it on a film-extras book, not anything in the books themselves), The Houses of Tonks and Moaning Myrtle were only revealed on JKR’s website, and Lockhart’s has not been revealed by JKR to date, our only clue being a Ravenclaw Quidditch robe portrait prop that is not clearly visible in the CoS movie. Umbridge’s House was only revealed to a fan at a 2012 Casual Vacancy interview - certainly the clues in OotP seem to suggest Slytherin, along with JKR’s Sorting habits, but like Dumbledore’s orientation, you could make a plausible alternative argument based solely on the text.
***ETA: This post uses romantic/sexual attraction interchangeably when they’re not - I do think that Dumbledore is homoromantic and homosexual canonically, but the most the text could probably establish is that he was homoromantic, given that the relationship was unrequited per JKR. (Also, I realize that establishing a romantic crush on Grindelwald as indisputably, textually canon would have left open the possibility of Dumbledore being bi, but Dumbledore’s queerness would be established in canon. JKR’s statement that Dumbledore “became asexual” is something, I believe, that is JKR interchanging the terms “celibate” and “asexual” when they aren’t, although someone would have to ask JKR to clarify to get her actual intentions on that, obviously.) Thanks to someone who will remain anon for pointing out the need for clarification/correction.
• I love this girl • dumbledore • My Hogwarts Letter is just a few years late • writing • meta
remember when baby spice sang about wearing a condom
remember when it took me over a decade to realize what she was singing about
remember when I never realized this until just now
SAFE SEX, yeah. go baby spice preach it haha
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