Me, Hermione, and ‘The Smart Girl’

Hermione Granger would have been my role model, had i grown up reading about her. As it is, I identify with her in retrospect, although i wish I had grown up with her. I’d have learned from her to be a friend and disregard the rules a little, while still being my intelligent, bookish self.

I’ve heard that Hermione fits the ‘smart girl’ trope. And honestly, it offends me a little, because I *AM* hermione (minus the wizarding boarding school, and helping my friend save the world).

I loved school and always got good grades. I’ve been called bookish, and people have said I lack common sense and social skills – in other words, I’m a ‘smart girl’. The trope varies, but that’s the gist of it.

But I don’t really lack common sense, and although i’m smart, I am so much more than the trope, and so is Hermione.

Hermione is indeed bookish, but not at the expense of all her other traits – like talent, bravery, and practical knowledge. Although in the beginning she isn’t very sociable and holds to the rules at the expense of all else, she quickly changes as she becomes friends with Ron and Harry.

She becomes less of an academic perfectionist and more of a friend and brave adventurer, although she never loses her love of books or her natural intelligence.

She isn’t just the bookish friend, she is magically talented, determined, and full of common sense. She has the mind of a philosopher scientist, and is the quickest of the trio to link motives, knowledge, and clues to help solve puzzles. She’s an indispensable ally to Harry as he saves the world.

My mother always said I was booksmart but had zero common sense. After i got a 34 on the ACT, she regularly told me in frustration that i was incredibly stupid for someone so smart whenever I did something she thought was dumb.

She also insisted that Luke, my then-best-friend now-husband, was so much smarter than me because despite me getting higher grades, he didn’t have to work as hard to get excellent grades, and plus, she said, he had a ton of common sense. (Once he was related to her, she started pointing out a lot more flaws in his thinking abilities).

It was a definite benefit to her that the boy they intended me to marry was ‘smarter’ than me, because my family believed a husband should be smarter than his wife.

It is true that he has a better memory than i do for things he has read, and for things like math formulas. and that he has other strengths i do not. Literary analysis, for example, comes easier to him than to me (i get too distracted just by the reading and sometimes miss finer points until i have read something several times), but analyzing real life scenarios is one of my strong points. I am incredibly analytical. I am a great reader, and I can find links between things. I’m good at logic although when the logic (or lack thereof) is hidden behind a thick cloud of language, sometimes have to fight hard to get down to it.

All people have different ways of being smart, and more than that, people can improve.

In many of the ways my mom said I was stupid, I was simply ignorant. Don’t call your daughter stupid for not knowing how to starch a shirt when you’ve never even done it in front of her.

I might have burnt macaroni as a child, but that wasn’t lack of common sense so much as lack of experience and distraction. I still forget I have things cooking, on occasion. I wonder if Hermione was ever too busy thinking to remember to turn off the oven.

I have a hunger for knowledge both impractical and practical and like to make informed decisions.

I think what my mom saw as lack of common sense in me was mostly youth and inexperience, and i believe she was also influenced by misogynistic believes that men are more logical, grounded, and rational with their book learning.

Perhaps she wanted me to have some serious common sense problems so that I could be the ditzy blonde on top of academic intelligence, and therefore not be an ineligible prospect for potential suitors who might be less intelligent than myself.

Hermione certainly didn’t marry a wizard smarter than herself, although Ron Weasley had his own strong points, like a good sense of humor, loyalty, and bravery. He got a winner in Hermione, too. That witch is brilliant and friendly, with a fierce sense of justice and a large dose of intuition.
He saw her as so much more than just a smart girl.
I’ve been treated like i was ‘just a smart girl’, as though i were no more than my love of books and talent at school, but I prefer to be around people who view me as a whole person, because Hermione and I are both so much more than ‘smart girls’.

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3 thoughts on “Me, Hermione, and ‘The Smart Girl’

  1. Daisy Dial

    (Once he was related to her, she started pointing out a lot more flaws in his thinking abilities)

    This made me laugh. Your posts are like poetry, everyone gets something different out of them. I’ve been known to say people were book smart/no common sense. I see it differently now. No Common Sense = inexperience.

    One thing that always made me cringe in the Mormon Church was that wives were allowed to have opinions, but the final decision was always the left to the husband.

    I had a teacher in college who became a very good friend of mine. We used to play basketball, swim, etc after school almost every day. We had a blast. Her husband worked about 5 hours away so he was only home on weekends. He had no problem with me spending time with his wife, until she told him I was a lesbian. Though she fought for our friendship, she eventually said we couldn’t hang out, because he made the final decision.

    Reply
    1. lanamhobbs Post author

      That’s really sad about your friend. … I didn’t realize though, that the Mormon church was so similar to how I was raised. We were nondenominational but fundamentalist Christians.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: In Which a Demigod Confronts Two Wizards | FanFiction Fridays

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