Hermione is the Best Kind of Role Model
Growing up I was completely obsessed with Harry Potter (and part of me still is). I was exactly the same age as the characters in the books and the actors that ultimately played them in the movies. I loved the fantastical nature of it all. I wished daily for my very own acceptance letter to Hogwarts and to escape to the surreal world of witchcraft and wizardry.
The books themselves were filled with life lessons and good role models. But my favorite character and the character I related to the most was Hermione. Growing up I was seen as the 'nerd' and my wild, curly hair made me even more like my favorite heroine. I loved to read and practically lived at the library. I would ride my bike to the library and read for hours bringing home new adventures and stories to escape into. Hermione was quite similar to me at my young adolescent age. I liked school; I liked getting good grades and worked hard at it. I was always the student in class that would raise their hand to answer questions much to some of my classmates disdain. I never felt like an outcast due to my 'nerdiness' luckily but it was nice to have Hermione to relate to. She makes girls feel empowered as she is the most cunning and shrewd of the group. In many instances her two best friends, Harry and Ron, openly profess that they would not have succeeded without the help of their friend.
I have re-read the Harry Potter series more times that I can remember and each time came away with more life lessons that transcended each page. I would impatiently anticipate the release of each new book and was heartbroken when the final book and movie were over. Collin sat next to me in the packed theater as tears rolled down my face. The final book and movie was the culmination of my childhood coming to an end. It was bittersweet.
Growing up these books were food for my nerdy soul. Hermione is the role model all parents want their little girls to have. She is intelligent and is respected for it by her peers. She goes through normal adolescent issues like boy crushes but it does not overshadow her true self. She is a true and loyal friend and has two best friends that are boys. Granted she does end up marrying one of them (spoiler alert!) it is not an unnecessary love triangle but true friendship that develops between the three.
Society has even gone so far as to show that intelligence in girls in unattractive. Many shows depict the nerdy, smart girl, as unsocial and awkward. Hermione breaks this stereotypical obstacle by showing the positive side of girl empowerment and intelligence. Society has greatly influenced the way in which girls and boys interact. A study by the University of Warwick in the UK has shown that girls, often times, feel the need to make light of their intelligence or keep it private so as to not intimidate others, mainly boys. This sad reality is a big reason behind why girls, at times, are less likely to participate in some activities, academic or otherwise.
J.K. Rowling broke down a barrier when penning the character of Hermione. This bright young woman shows girls that they can be smart and quick-witted and respected. These are the types of characters that our young girls should be emulating. These books will always remain on my bookshelves so that my future children, be it boys or girls, can read them and take away the powerful lessons and be influenced by the great qualities of the characters.