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message 1: by Gary (last edited Nov 05, 2014 10:07PM) (new)

Gary | 1471 comments Here's an interesting Goodreads list:

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/...

I've honestly never heard of a lot of those, though others are pop phenomena, and their appearance on such a list is predictable, even obligatory. However, a few are kind of surprising. I'm not terribly surprised by the number of female authors on the list; though it is a bit eye-rolling.

In a few cases, I'm not 100% convinced.... It's been a long time since I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest so I'm not remembering the sexist content of that book other than Nurse Ratched being the villain of the piece. I'm guessing there were some specifics that I don't recall that put it on that list.

The Taming of the Shrew seems obvious, even if I'm not sure going back centuries is completely legit for a list that contains Stephenie Meyer's oeuvre.... Lysistrata seems like a stretch for similar reasons. MacBeth is on there for Lady MacBeth, I have little doubt, but unlike Shrew, it's easier to reinterpret that one into something more modern.

It's not surprising to see The Catcher in the Rye on that list given Holden's narrative, though I think it might be misguided to call it a sexist book rather than a book about a sexist character. Similarly, I'm surprised nobody has thought to nominate Lolita for that list--I don't think it belongs there, but if content is divorced from context, surely the problems with Catcher are present in Nabokov's work.

Thoughts?


message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 301 comments Lysistrata? Really? Did they actually read the play?


message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments Only one person shelved it as "sexist" if that makes a difference... but only one person "shelved" Friday too, which seems like a much more apt candidate for the list. (I think maybe I should fix that.)


message 4: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments When I clicked on the list I saw a lot of romances. It seems odd that books that are catered to women specifically (because we know that romances tend to be written with a woman audience in mind) have so much sexism in them.


message 5: by Sparrowlicious (last edited Nov 05, 2014 10:30PM) (new)

Sparrowlicious | 160 comments Oh, I don't even know most of the books on the first page.
Yeah well. Those YA romances often portray abusive relationships as romantic. I don't know if that's exactly sexist. It's a problem, yes, but does it fit the shoe?

Edit: Just saw 'Graceling' on page two. The book has many flaws, but I didn't think it was sexist. More like, the author had no idea about how a character can have a sexual relationship with another character without instantly falling in love with them. That was an especially flawed part of the story.

Edit2:
Sherlock Holmes?
Um.


message 6: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments In some cases, I'm sure what's happened is the author used a trope or trigger words that the reviewer picked out (maybe taken out of context) to make their assessment that the book is sexist.

The majority of the books in that list with which I'm familiar, I wouldn't have a particular argument with. The appearance of so many romance novels does make sense. As a genre, romance isn't inherently sexist, but there's an awful lot of those books written, and inevitably there's going to be some lazy writing involved or some mediocre ideas thrown in.


message 7: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 794 comments Gary wrote: "Here's an interesting Goodreads list:

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/...

I've honestly never heard of a lot of those, though others are pop phenomena, and their appearance on such a list..."


In summary, according to the list, every romance and YA title is sexist? :)

I don't remember The Fault in our Stars being sexist...


message 8: by Amber (last edited Nov 06, 2014 10:35AM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Brenda wrote: "Lysistrata? Really? Did they actually read the play?"

Probably not and even if they did they probably thought it was sexist of the WOMEN to deny sex to their husbands... .

Sparrowlicious: You've never seen Holmes' attitude towards women, except for Irene Adler?


message 9: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments Amber wrote: "Sparrowlicious: You've never seen Holmes' attitude towards women, except for Irene Adler?"

I was a little surprised by that one too, because I couldn't remember any particular sexist content, but I think you're right. It seems to me they play that up a lot more in the TV/film adaptations than in the books, but that's probably where the overall impression comes from. Plus, a sort of generalized Victorianism.


message 10: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 301 comments I would argue that it is not especially fair to denounce older works as sexist. They are of their time. It is like complaining that Abraham Lincoln's doctors didn't give him an MRI after he was shot.


message 11: by Alicja, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς Θεός (new)

Alicja (darkwingduckie7) | 772 comments Brenda wrote: "I would argue that it is not especially fair to denounce older works as sexist. They are of their time. It is like complaining that Abraham Lincoln's doctors didn't give him an MRI after he was shot."

I agree, literature (like other works) have to be viewed within their context. There is no excuse for a modern work to be sexist, at least within the western cultures, but things written 50, 100, 200 years ago were products of their time and thought. I think they should be assessed based on the popular culture at the time.

At the same time I think that saying that those works are sexist is fine, pointing out sexism of the past and placing it in perspective should be done. If we just look at the label sexist and leave it at that doesn't do anyone any service. It just seems more complicated for a single label to do it justice.


message 12: by Gary (last edited Nov 06, 2014 01:20PM) (new)

Gary | 1471 comments This is one of those long standing issues, so I'll just reiterate that I'm inclined to include the period in which something was written as a factor, but it's one of several that we should take into consideration. It's an important factor, but it shouldn't necessarily absolve content.

Putting the girls in mini-skirts in the original Star Trek, for example. OK, there was a lot of 60's cultural nonsense going on there. They cast Walter Koenig because he looked like Davy Jones, and Nurse Chapel gave up her position as a doctor to be a nurse so she could look for her missing fiance, and mini-skirts were popular, so the female uniforms were about half the size they should have been. Sexist? Sure. But they also had women on the bridge of a starship in command positions (mostly talky ones, but still right there on the bridge) and Nurse Chapel actually was a doctor.

It probably doesn't compare with current, more enlightened sensibilities, but at the same time we have to note that most of the books on that list were written more recently.

But then compare to something like Barbarella....

EDIT: The older something is, the more significant the period of time is for considering something sexist. So, overall, calling most of the books on that list that are 100+ year on that list "sexist" seems inconsistent with an understanding of literature.


message 13: by Amber (last edited Nov 07, 2014 10:31AM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Gary wrote: "Amber wrote: "Sparrowlicious: You've never seen Holmes' attitude towards women, except for Irene Adler?"

I was a little surprised by that one too, because I couldn't remember any particular sexist..."


Wouldn't know about the TV/movie part, Gary but you're right about the Victorianishness of the books. Wouldn't know about the movie and TV versions, other the Robert Downey Jr.'s version, because I don't have a functioning TV nor can I afford cable/satellite and the last movie I actually saw was (if I remember right) the TMNT remake.

Brenda: "I would argue that it is not especially fair to denounce older works as sexist. They are of their time. It is like complaining that Abraham Lincoln's doctors didn't give him an MRI after he was shot."

Interesting point about Lincoln... .and a good analogy.

Gary, again: Do we really HAVE to consider BARBARELLA? *shudder* It probably wasn't seen as sexist in its day but is now, but that's NOT why I was shuddering. I was shuddering because it's just a movie so badly made and corny in premise (like Ed Woods' PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE) that it's achieved "cult" status and I don't think any of us wants to tackle a movie on a topic that's not specifically about books.


message 14: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Watson Sparrowlicious wrote: "Oh, I don't even know most of the books on the first page.
Yeah well. Those YA romances often portray abusive relationships as romantic. I don't know if that's exactly sexist. It's a problem, yes,..."


I can’t stand those romances where the male ‘romantic lead’ starts out wanting to humiliate/bully/threaten/kill the female protagonist!! I think such books do count as sexist, because they imply that women welcome abusive relationships — as if this is how men and women are supposed to behave towards each other. The fact that these books are written by women for women shows how deep-rooted the problem is.


message 15: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments Amber wrote: "Gary, again: Do we really HAVE to consider BARBARELLA? *shudder*"

It is probably the film most in need of MST3K treatment....


message 16: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Louisa wrote: "Sparrowlicious wrote: "Oh, I don't even know most of the books on the first page.
Yeah well. Those YA romances often portray abusive relationships as romantic. I don't know if that's exactly sexis..."


Ditto.

Gary: I think they DID do an episode based on BARBARELLA.


message 17: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1471 comments Amber wrote: "I think they DID do an episode based on BARBARELLA."

I would love that. According to IMDB, they did reference Barbarella a couple of times:

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hercules Unchained (1992) (TV Episode)
Joel and Tom sing the "Barbarella" theme song.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Warrior of the Lost World (1993) (TV Episode)
It's like Barbarella, he's gonna play with her


message 18: by J.S. (last edited Nov 08, 2014 03:22PM) (new)

J.S. Little | 45 comments Amber wrote: "Louisa wrote: "Sparrowlicious wrote: "Oh, I don't even know most of the books on the first page.
Yeah well. Those YA romances often portray abusive relationships as romantic. I don't know if that'..."


This might get me a bit of heat but I like Barbarella. Of course I like it like I like The Room in that it's terrible but I sometimes like terrible things. The killer dolls in Barb. Wow. And Warrior of the Lost World I think was one of the movies based on the Gor novels. If there were any books I can think of that I'd consider sexist in whole vs sexist content (characters that are sexist or ideas that are sexist) it's the Gor books. Kinda like how the Turner Diaries are explicitly racist.


message 19: by Gary (last edited Nov 08, 2014 03:30PM) (new)

Gary | 1471 comments I haven't seen Barbarella in a long time, but I thought it was funny back when I saw it. I'm sure these days the pacing would throw me off, and I'd cringe at the writing, but I remember it as being camp and satirical more than anything else.

Personally, I can get tired of campy movies pretty quickly, but at least it's a knowing, subversive sort of humor.


message 20: by Sparrowlicious (new)

Sparrowlicious | 160 comments Never heard about Barbarella. I can't judge if that's fortunate or not. We didn't get all American TV shows around here when I was younger (if this even was one. Idk).

Anyway, on the Sherlock Holmes one:
I honestly can't remember. It's been ... two years since I read the books? Hard to say from memory. But these books are very old. Hmm.

But, on the topic of modern sexist books:
There is something that makes my skin itch when I think about it: Young writers (or writers of any age really who are trying to get their things sold) who think that adding misogyny and abuse against women into their books would make their stories "more realistic". How about no? This irks me especially in fantasy. Okay, so you got magic and maybe dragons and whatever, but we can't have equality for everyone? That's bs and lazy writing. We can have elves in a story but no human women who fight in the obligatory war?
Meh.


message 21: by Amber (last edited Nov 12, 2014 05:33PM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Barabarella was a movie with Jane Fonda in it, Sparrowlicious. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarel...

Yeah, I think the most RECENT was published in 1915...Holmes stories.

An anthology of fantasy stories about dragons might up your alley. The only instance in this anthology that I can remember where the woman was protected was simply because even as a dragon she's wasn't TRAINED for fighting, compared to her human fiance and her grandfather; Lord Magnus. Not sure if you'd consider that sexist or not. But the one story in that anthology that I refuse to read is called DRAGON FEATHERS and is set in contemporary Santa Fe, New Mexico. The anthology is called "Dragon Lovers." If I were you, I'd ignore the use of the phrase "distressed damsel" in the GR description as there's NOTHING "distressed" about Lady Ariane after Sir Kenrick of Rathbourne's first meeting of her: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 22: by William (new)

William Galaini (williamgalaini) | 73 comments Hmmmm, I would contest a number of those. Seriously.

And I chuckle that '13 Reasons Why' isn't on that list. That novel is a sexist piece of shit.


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