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Can you fathom the wizarding world of Harry Potter without Hermione Granger?

It's a thought that's horrified plenty of people online this week.

Gaining steam under the #WithoutHermione hashtag on Twitter, Potter fans discussed all the bone-chilling ways the series would have been different without its leading witch.

The consensus? The books would have been an awful, incomplete tale that left the magical world a complete mess.

Fans are pondering the unnerving premise thanks to an acceptance letter from Hogwarts' Professor McGonagall that went viral on Sept. 1.

"We are pleased to inform you that you have been added to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Waitlist," McGonagall begins. "Unfortunately, we are not able to allow you to come to Hogwarts at this time."

[rebelmouse-image 19530763 dam="1" original_size="750x971" caption="Image via The HP Alliance." expand=1]Image via The HP Alliance.


As the letter goes on to explain, getting waitlisted at Hogwarts wasn't a reflection on the applicant's abilities — it was a reflection of their gender.

"Around the world, thousands of girls are not permitted to attend school or are unable to finish their schooling due to discrimination, tradition, poverty, or violence," the professor noted.

The faux-acceptance letter was sent out by the Harry Potter Alliance for a new campaign in conjunction with She's the First encouraging supporters to use the hashtag to spread the word.

"What would the wizarding world look like without Hermione? What about without Luna? Or Ginny? Cho? Angelina? Tonks? McGonagall?" the campaign website reads.

"Hogwarts doesn't work without witches. Harry's story falls flat without heroines. Yet all over the world, girls and women are being kept out of classrooms and losing the chance to lead."

She's the First is focused on helping girls around the globe overcome the barriers they face in reaching graduation day.

Unique cultural challenges keep girls and young women out of the classroom. Factors like early marriage and high costs associated with schooling disproportionally affect girls, hindering them from gaining economic independence and pulling themselves — and thus, their families and communities — out of poverty.

"Girls are more likely than boys to remain completely excluded from education despite the efforts and progress made over the past two decades," a 2016 report by UNESCO found.

Photo by Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images.

That's why groups like She's the First are so instrumental in making a difference.

The organization funds scholarships and mentorships for girls in developing countries, as well other basics that students need to stay focused on their studies, like medicines, school uniforms, and healthy food. And you can get involved too.

Share the Hogwarts acceptance letter on social media, learn more and expand She's the First's efforts around the globe, and stay up to speed on the issue by following Potterwatch — an online effort by the Harry Potter Alliance to promote a variety of social justice causes.

"If the Harry Potter series has taught us anything, it’s that back to Hogwarts means back to action," the campaign's website reads. "So hop on the Hogwarts Express — it’s time we make sure that everyone can get on board."

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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