|Image by Jmh2o (Wikimedia Commons)|
I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter (books and films), but there has always been something about the world of Hogwarts that I find slightly disturbing. And that’s the house rivalry. Splitting students into houses is pretty common in British schools (I’m not sure if this happens in other countries so much?), but this is clearly not a good idea where wizards are concerned. House rivalry is supposed to encourage healthy competition and working in teams, but when ‘competition’ involves the power to blow things up, perhaps the wisdom of this needs reconsidering. Particularly when the school decides to give each house its own common room in what seems like an attempt to actively discourage the different houses from socializing after school hours. Why this pointless factionalising wasn’t trashed after the whole Voldemort thing is beyond me. Why exactly do they want to be encouraging more rivalry and prejudice in the wizarding world? And why oh why at the end of the seventh book is Harry Potter encouraging his own child to engage in it? After everything he’s seen?
Worse than this, the children are split up according to personality type, making an instant judgement on who they are. At the tender age of eleven they’re already being told what kind of person they are, and in what ways they are likely to succeed. Gryffindors have it pretty good; they’re brave and cool, and generally well thought-of. Ravenclaws are taught that they are clever; another positive, but with the potential to promote arrogance and looking down on the other houses. In fact, Ravenclaws are often portrayed as a little snooty in the books. Slytherin students, meanwhile, are pretty much universally considered to be evil. When you have this many people telling you that you are no good, it’s small wonder that so many Slytherin students seem to turn out this way. It doesn’t matter that this misses the point of what Slytherin actually is, which is that they are simply very ambitious people. Not necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re sorted into Slytherin in front of the whole school in year one? Too bad, you’ve already been branded villain-in-training. Good luck getting anyone but other Slytherins to hang out with you. And what is this saying to the children of all the houses? That they cannot change as they grow, learn life lessons and become different people, revise their opinions, set new goals, learn to value new things?
And woe betide you if you’re sorted into Hufflepuff. You’re the spares of the school. You’re the ones who aren’t clever, or brave, or ambitious. Everyone laughs at you. Everyone thinks you’re useless; and quickly you’re made to feel this way. The best you have to look forward to is becoming a sparkly vampire adored by millions (a fate worse than death, clearly. Witness the angst). But seriously, there’s a lot of Hufflepuff hate.
Which is why this video is so awesome. Set to the tune of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’, these Hufflepuffians are attempting to set things straight. It doesn’t matter which house you belong to... just remember to love yourself and respect others. And most importantly, be proud of who you are. Yeah! Go Hufflepuff! I always knew you guys were cool.
(I found this video via The Mary Sue)