False comparisons of Margaret Sanger to Hitler are nothing new, in fact, we’ve written about them on this blog before. This recent comment about Sanger, in a review of the new Harry Potter movie published in the New American, takes this common comparison one step further…
“Perhaps the most striking element in the film is the parallels to fascist and Marxist regimes. As the Ministry of Magic is infiltrated by demonic powers who intend to rid the wizarding world of “halfbloods” (half mortals/half wizards) and create the perfect race of wizarding creatures, one cannot help but draw connections to Adolf Hitler or American eugenicists such as Margaret Sanger. The powers that be are disgusted by the very idea of “halfbloods” breeding with “fullbloods,” believing “halfbloods” to be of far lesser stock.”
Apparently, photoshopping Sanger and Hitler together in a touring car is too 1990s. Now, the evil Lord Voldemort has been added to the back seat!
Just for the record, pictures like the one above are fake. We have no evidence that Sanger and Voldemort were ever friendly. In fact, Voldemort hexed her books when he first rose to power in an effort to keep people from reading them because he disagreed so strongly with her views. Oh and also, Sanger never actually met Voldemort… probably because he’s fictional.
On a more serious note, characterizations like this are troubling. Sanger’s message was one of choice, giving women the power to decide whether and when to have children. This is the idea that the Birth Control Movement was founded on. The clinics that Sanger fostered were voluntary and either free or inexpensive; they were places that a woman chose to visit, and they offered methods of contraception that required the woman’s participation. In short, they were empowering not facist, Marxist, or filled with Death Eaters.
The internet is a wonderful tool for sharing information, but there are also dangers attached to it. The internet has given rise to ahistorical treatments of historical figures, including a number of early twentieth century leaders, like Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Margaret Sanger. We cannot confront every instance of misinformation, but we will continue to publish historically accurate, carefully annotated and accessible texts on this blog, elsewhere on the internet, and in print.