Fe­male facts

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

I’m re­spond­ing to one Mark Boyle, who felt it nec­es­sary to write to you on 24 Oc­to­ber to crit­i­cise me, and my book Pic­ture-book Pro­fes­sors: Academia and Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture, with­out both­er­ing to fact-check his opin­ion.

This is a shame, as the book is freely avail­able to down­load from Cam­bridge Univer­sity Press in both PDF and Kin­dle ver­sions.

Mr Boyle makes the ob­ser­va­tion that I have missed the fe­male pro­fes­sors in Harry Pot­ter. How­ever, I men­tion the pro­fes­sors of Harry Pot­ter through­out the book. My method was to look at il­lus­trated pro­fes­sors (hence “Pic­ture-book Pro­fes­sors”), and although Harry Pot­ter is “rid­dled with pro­fes­sors... the il­lus­tra­tions fea­tured in the Amer­i­can edi­tions of the Harry Pot­ter nov­els con­cen­trate on the male aca­demics [in or­der of il­lus­tra­tion]: Dum­ble­dore, Snape, Quir­rell, Lock­hart, Mad-eyed Moody, Ha­grid, Firenze, Lupin, and Slughorn. The only two fe­male pro­fes­sors il­lus­trated are Trelawney and Um­bridge. Pro­fes­sor Min­erva Mcg­o­na­gall, although a cen­tral ma­ter­nal fig­ure within all the Harry Pot­ter books, is omit­ted from any il­lus­tra­tion in any English lan­guage edi­tion pub­lished prior to 2015.”

I un­der­stand it is very pre­dictable that a woman who has writ­ten about the lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women in the me­dia has been tar­geted by

a “man who knows best”, who has not taken the time to read a freely avail­able text. I urge Mark and your other read­ers to down­load my freely avail­able re­search, and make up their own minds: af­ter read­ing, but not be­fore.


Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh Col­lege of Arts, Hu­man­i­ties and So­cial Sciences

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