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Rowling Follows Oprah in Not Quite Bowing Out

Womens eNews - Sat, 16 Jul 2011 11:41 GMT
Author: Womens eNews
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No False Impressions The cash piles of two celebrated women, however, should not be used to construct any general impressions. Last year research by the Insight Center for Community Development reported on women's median net worth. For single white women ages 36 to 49 it was ${esc.dollar}42,600, or 61 percent of the comparable figure for same-aged, single white men. For single women of color in the same age group the statistic was a startling ${esc.dollar}5. But while neither Rowling nor Winfrey can be seen as symbols of women's rapid wealth accumulations, the two dynamos can certainly be credited with lifting the cultural horizons for girls and women. In May, researchers at Kenyon College, based in Gambier, Ohio, reported in the journal Sex Roles that nearly 30 percent of clothing sold for preteen children had "sexualizing characteristics" that can lead to self-objectification. For girls, that's particularly likely to reinforce restrictive stereotypes. Both Rowling and Winfrey, however, are iconic symbols of women using their talent, not their physical attributes, to become enormously successful. And Rowling's lead female character, Hermione, offers an alternative for young women. Hermione's character is critical in the overall impact the Harry Potter series has over a new generation. Her old-fashioned virtues of courage, bravery and kindness make for a positive role model for young female followers. The authentic agency embodied by Hermione proves to be far more important than her physical appearance--viewers tend to focus more on her ambition and spell abilities than on what she wears and the style of her cloak. Juliet LaBella, my 7-year-old cousin and Harry Potter fan, spoke to Women's eNews in a phone interview before seeing "Deathly Hallows Part 2." "I want to be just like Hermione because she's smart and knows everything. If the teacher asks the class a question she always raises her hand and has the right answer," she said. "I think J.K. Rowling wrote really good books." To get the full Cheers and Jeers click here Obama Urged to Save Programs; LGBT Hate Crimes Up Krystie Lee Yandoli is a Women's eNews editorial intern. Note: Women's eNews is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites and the contents of site the link points to may change. For more information: "Lifting as We Climb," report on women of color and wealth: Kenyon College Report: J.K. Rowling Announces Pottermore: Oprah Announces New OWN CEO:

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