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I am making my second attempt at reading the book Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Though the writing is quirky and often beautiful, and the theme of individualism is one that interests me, some aspects of the book are just... off-putting to me.

It takes place both in modern times and in ancient Europe. One of the main characters is a waitress name Pricilla, the other is a king named Alobar. Their respective storylines are interesting enough, but there are some little details here and there that just gross me out.

For example, one of Pricilla's friends is a Puerto Rican lesbian name Riki who acts more like a predatory man than any lesbian I've ever met. She is constantly harassing Pricilla (who is heterosexual) and says that she went to college to study PhysEd just so that she could ogle other women in the showers. There is one point where Riki helps Pricilla out, and she agrees to sleep with her "as a reward" (though they never follow through).

Alobar, on the other hand, is introduced as a king with a harem (fine, I guess. Lots of kings had harems back in the day) who will be put to death as soon as he becomes too old to 'satisfy' his wives. Much of the plot details his sexual exploits, always going to great lengths to describe the "semen-greased teeth and lips" of his lovers, which include his wives (some of which are teenagers), random village girls, some wood nymphs that he "shares" with the god Pan, and Kudra, an Indian woman he meets as a young girl, then eventually marries after her husband dies and she escapes death by suttee.

On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn't be bothered by these small details. On other other hand, it is very difficult for me to like the characters (Alobar and Riki especially) when they treat women and girls like sexual playthings and never seem to evolve beyond it. And honestly, he just need to stop talking about semen. It's really fucking gross.

I know this has happened to me with other books written by men with unlikeable male protagonists. I try my hardest to keep an open mind and just push through it, but sometimes I just can't.

Anyone else have this problem?

I am making my second attempt at reading the book *Jitterbug Perfume* by Tom Robbins. Though the writing is quirky and often beautiful, and the theme of individualism is one that interests me, some aspects of the book are just... off-putting to me. It takes place both in modern times and in ancient Europe. One of the main characters is a waitress name Pricilla, the other is a king named Alobar. Their respective storylines are interesting enough, but there are some little details here and there that just gross me out. For example, one of Pricilla's friends is a Puerto Rican lesbian name Riki who acts more like a predatory man than any lesbian I've ever met. She is constantly harassing Pricilla (who is heterosexual) and says that she went to college to study PhysEd just so that she could ogle other women in the showers. There is one point where Riki helps Pricilla out, and she agrees to sleep with her "as a reward" (though they never follow through). Alobar, on the other hand, is introduced as a king with a harem (fine, I guess. Lots of kings had harems back in the day) who will be put to death as soon as he becomes too old to 'satisfy' his wives. Much of the plot details his sexual exploits, always going to great lengths to describe the "semen-greased teeth and lips" of his lovers, which include his wives (some of which are teenagers), random village girls, some wood nymphs that he "shares" with the god Pan, and Kudra, an Indian woman he meets as a young girl, then eventually marries after her husband dies and she escapes death by suttee. On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn't be bothered by these small details. On other other hand, it is very difficult for me to *like* the characters (Alobar and Riki especially) when they treat women and girls like sexual playthings and never seem to evolve beyond it. And honestly, he just need to stop talking about semen. It's really fucking gross. I know this has happened to me with other books written by men with unlikeable male protagonists. I try my hardest to keep an open mind and just push through it, but sometimes I just can't. Anyone else have this problem?

150 comments

[–] InvisibleWoman 52 points (+52|-0)

Me too.

Up until a few years ago it didn't bother me but then I made a conscious decision to focus on female authors and it quickly became clear that many male writers absolutely cannot help themselves. They are just constantly objectifying women and write way too much about female bodies, gross sex and how stupid women are. That's not to say women don't sometimes internalise the male gaze, but most don't.

I'm enjoying reading much more since choosing to focus on female writers!

[–] scriptcrone 36 points (+36|-0) Edited

Scriptcrone's rule: When a male writer writes a female character, in the first few pages he tells you how she lost her virginity. When a female writer writes a female character, in the first few pages she tells you how she (the character) feels about her mother.

[–] Nasrin 9 points (+9|-0)

This is in many cases so entirely true it is painful to realize.

[–] Laurel 21 points (+21|-0)

I've been doing this, too. I even found some great lists of books by women. Unfortunately, my favorite one has a (frankly hilarious) "No TERFS" warning at the top. (Oh! Well! Since it "isn't for" me, I won't read any of the books then. I promise!)

https://www.listchallenges.com/become-very-well-read-without-reading-anything

[–] InvisibleWoman 15 points (+15|-0)

That's hilarious! Does she think that will make anyone be like "oh no I must avert my eyes!"

[–] GenderHeretic 17 points (+17|-0)

It's worse than stupid, it's pathetic. The message isn't really for the "terfs", it's to impress her buddies. She probably writes the same thing on her lunch bag when volunteering for TRA organisations.

[–] vauqueline 8 points (+8|-0)

The "NO TERFS!!!!" set amuses me because they want to violate all women's boundaries by forcibly inserting males into women-only everything, yet think their own boundaries are special and should always be respected.

[–] Laurel 2 points (+2|-0)

Yup. It's a very good list and I'm using it. Maybe when I die I'll go to Trans Hell.

[–] GelatinousRube 37 points (+37|-0)

It makes a lot of the literary canon garbage, doesn't it? I get enough of men's belittling attitudes in real life. I can't handle it in fiction anymore, no matter how poetic it is in other places. If it's on a top-whatever list, there's probably some passage in it treating a woman character like trash. It's funny, no matter how well plotted it is, it makes the narrator unreliable to me.

[–] [Deleted] 24 points (+24|-0) Edited

It kind of does, yeah. Like, I saw a post the other day with a bunch of TRAs talking about trans people in ancient stories, which I assumed was a reference to Ovid's Metamorphosis. So I pulled out my copy the other day and looked up the original story of Caeneus, one of these supposed "trans people", who was raped by Poseidon as a woman and turned into a man with impenetrable skin afterwards so that she would never have to experience violation ever again. The original poem, however, described her as being "haughty" and stuck up for thinking she was too good to be raped by a god.

This also Fame relates: the haughty fair, Who not the rape even of a God could bear, This answer, proud, return'd: To mighty wrongs A mighty recompense, of right, belongs

I read that and could only think, "Jesus, fuck men."

[–] TerfSedai 5 points (+5|-0)

You are my kind of reader! I would also consult the original source too, haha.

[–] Verdandi 3 points (+3|-0)

I love Metamorphosis and I feel dumb for not picking up on that... then again, I was obsessed with it during my "not like other girls—look at how cool I am reading ancient Greek poetry shit" phase.

[–] [Deleted] 3 points (+3|-0) Edited

There's actually a feminist retelling of Metamorphosis called Wake, Siren! that tells all the stories from the perspective of the women. It "modernizes" it a bit, but it was still pretty interesting and well-written.

Yeah, that is a problem these days: suddenly the amount of books you can read has shrunk. The other day I even tried forcing myself to read a book by man I knew was probably trash, and he didn't disappoint! By the end of page 1 he'd been sexist 3x. I tried to make it to the last chapter, but no. Could not do it. It was supposed to be a silly PI type book, a genre I sometimes (maybe once in 10 years) just crave for some reason. But most crime novels are by men. And the one by a woman I found, turned out to be a silly time travel romance instead! Not that I don't like time travel or romance, but it should not interfere with my PI's mystery.

Honestly, I can think of maybe 3 male writers right now that aren't that bad. 3. That's it.

Also, about the only reddit sub I'm still monitoring (seldom commenting anymore) is menwritingwomen. And the stuff there is terrible, but no matter how bad it gets, some twit would come sauntering over with "but this is just the character's POV, and he's meant to be like that!" To which I always reply: yeah, and it's hardly something new, is it? Every fucking male pov is of a misogynist. Give me something new, you know. Even someone neutral to women would be new!

[–] scriptcrone 24 points (+24|-0) Edited

But you can tell the difference between a character written as a misogynist, and a character written by a misogynist. It's in the framing; if everything else in the story lines up to support and validate the character's misogyny, if no one else contradicts it by word or deed, and if it never has any consequences--and if the writer has written multiple books with the same framing--then nope, that's not just the character's POV.

Fortunately, women have written enough books to keep us going, despite men's efforts to silence them and exclude them from canon. We have to track them down, pass them around, promote their republication, and, if they're old enough, get them into Project Gutenberg. Women writers have written many more and much more interesting books than they're known for--Louisa May Alcott, Noel Streatfield, Edith Bagnold, are all typed as children's writers, but lived through interesting times and wrote novels and plays for adults with progressive politics and rebellious women in them.

True that, about the framing. But I still wish the journey to respecting women aren't the only character growth in so many stories. It's not exactly news anymore.

Also, I'll go check out those women.

[–] GelatinousRube 15 points (+15|-0)

I'm listening to a series right now that seems to be written by a man, with a male protagonist. I was shocked and delighted at a passage with a male character saying "you can't blame a guy for trying" in reference to repeatedly hitting on a woman, and a woman replied "actually we can and do." He has a crush on a smart lady and it's one of the only straight relationships I've seen written that isn't disgusting when you're in his mind. The stories are a mystery in a fantasy setting.

I've come to realize over time that this is why I mostly read non fiction, unless it's a mystery. A lot of fiction centered around women revolves around romance/relationship problems. "Regular" (male centered) fiction involves treating women badly. So frustrating.

Yeah. I tried reading Jody Picault these past few months, but aside from 1 book, the themes are always stuff I can't relate to. She likes writing about the mother/child dynamic, which is great, but I don't have kids. And her one book opened with a suicide pact, in which the girl died and the boy survived, and all I thought about as I read the next few chapters: there's no way to get that character back! Anyway, couldn't finish the book.

[–] GenderHeretic 5 points (+5|-0)

I've come to realize over time that this is why I mostly read non fiction,

Oh, this thread is making me realise it may not be a coincidence that I greatly prefer non fiction.

[–] mathwitch 2 points (+2|-0)

Drop the title! It's so rare to find male writers who don't have misogyny bleeding through a shallow pretense.

[–] vauqueline 4 points (+4|-0)

I tried catching up with Golden Age science fiction novels (most seem to be written by men) just to acquire historical grounding in a genre I like, but I kept running into constant misogyny that ruined my ability to just keep reading it for fun -- and as someone who's been a lifelong reader, that says something. I eventually gave up because I just didn't have the energy to expend on suppressing my disgust enough to get through the misogyny into whatever historical value may have been there. I wish I'd read those books before I gained feminist consciousness so I could have enough nostalgic attachment to them to help me keep going on a re-read, but I suspect it might have the same effect as re-watching your favourite Saturday morning cartoons as an adult: some things are best left as fond memories.

I tried reading Asimov a few years back (Foundation series, iirc). I don’t remember if I reached the sexism, because they were so mind-numbingly boring I quit in very short order.

Lol, I know 100% what you mean: I've been bitching about the Golden Era scifi also being the height of misogyny. And it is, I actually refer to it in another book.

I also did read some stuff before my femine self woke up, and let me be honest: those books I feel nostalgic about, I now avoid like the plague. Because I know everything will be spoilt!

If you like, you can al says still give Anne McCaffrey a try: some stuff she got right, some stuff she flopped on. And she has a bit of Ayan Rand in her. But not in all her stuff, and she did win a place in the scifi hall of fame or something.

[+] [Deleted] 4 points (+5|-1)
[–] [Deleted] 30 points (+30|-0)

Yes. As a young liberal feminist I loved Tom Robbins and a lot of other clever beatnik/hippy male writers.

I re-read Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates and Skinny Legs and All last year and couldn’t believe how much male gazey rubbish I didn’t see in them before.

Becoming a feminist (not the fun kind) pretty much ruined all of the beat authors (including the women) and those they inspired, like Tom Robbins.

[–] [Deleted] 18 points (+18|-0) Edited

He's a hippy, beatnik writer? No wonder I get all sorts of "free love" vibes from his writing. No wonder his main character is presented as a loveable rascal who uses women as cum-rags through the length and breadth of his boyish adventures (and of course, the women all love it). I have never trusted male hippies.

[–] Lavendersky 5 points (+5|-0)

As a former hippie-traveler type who met my fair share of New Age hippie men, your instinct is spot on.

[+] [Deleted] 4 points (+4|-0)
[–] Carrots90 22 points (+22|-0)

Thanks for this poem full of yuck.

It seems your womanhood is just for fuck

Stay out of my space,

go find your own place

You don’t become female just because you can tuck.

[–] TerfSedai 8 points (+8|-0)

You, ma'am, are the lady Patch Adams we need right now.

[–] Carrots90 5 points (+5|-0)

I have no artistic skills at all, lol. All I was granted was the ability to make dirty haikus 🙂

[–] margerydaw 22 points (+22|-0)

Yes, absolutely! I noticed the trend in my goodreads history, that I was reading almost exclusively female authors. It wasn’t intentional; I think women are just better at writing fully-realized, emotionally deep characters and that’s what I love to read.

[–] kalina 22 points (+22|-0)

You know, I HATE reading books where the male protagonist meets a female character and we immediately get a description of her attractiveness, breast size etc. I really love knowing that whenever I meet a new man in whatever context there's a high chance he immediately rates my fuckability. Like, sure, if I meet a man and he happens to be attractive I might think 'dang he cute' or something but I don't scan his fucking body and rate his abs or whatever like a whole weirdo.

[–] Whatshername 21 points (+21|-0)

Male authors really give us an insight into the male psyche that we'd almost be better of not having

[–] yikesforever 21 points (+22|-1)

Yup. I now mostly read only female written fiction unless I'm really interested in the book or I know the author writes women well and respects them (non-fiction I mostly don't care though, unless the subject is dependent on it).

Like I tried to read 1984 by Orwell since it seemed so good and relevent, but when I got to the part with the old prostitute I felt so ill I had to put it down.

When I try to power through books that make me feel ill I usually regret it, so now if I get that feeling near the start I just set it down and move on.

[–] applaudissementsonique 11 points (+12|-1) Edited

Like I tried to read 1984 by Orwell since it seemed so good and relevent, but when I got to the part with the old prostitute I felt so ill I had to put it down.

But, that is the point of the scene. It's supposed to make you feel uncomfortable, and it's there to represent the damage from the insanely repressive sexuality induced by the party. The prostitution is absolutely not being portrayed as a good or even neutral thing.

Tacitly the Party was even inclined to encourage prostitution, as an outlet for instincts which could not be altogether suppressed. Mere debauchery did not matter very much, so long as it was furtive and joyless and only involved the women of a submerged and despised class. The unforgivable crime was promiscuity between Party members.

The only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema. This again was never put into plain words, but in an indirect way it was rubbed into every Party member from childhood onwards.

It's also meant to contrast with scenes later featuring arguably the most interesting character in the book, where it's pretty much outright told that subverting and destroying the concept of healthy sexual interaction is central to the Party:

She began to enlarge upon the subject. With Julia, everything came back to her own sexuality. As soon as this was touched upon in any way she was capable of great acuteness. Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party's sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party's control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she put it was:

'When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?'

It is an incredibly relevant book and should be required reading, but it is also a deeply uncomfortable book, which is part of why it's so important.

[–] Verdandi 3 points (+5|-2)

I don't need a male author to teach me a lesson about prostitution and misogyny. I've lived it.

The scene in question has little to do with prostitution or misogyny, both of which being bad are an assumed given by the book (in addition to pornography), and is more about setting the stage for discussion of one of the broader-scope central themes, the harms of societally-mandated sexual repression which is used to fuel facism. If you think this scene is here simply to "teach me a lesson about prostitution and misogyny", it's safe to assume you've either not read or understood the book.

[–] Whatshername 9 points (+9|-0) Edited

Like I tried to read 1984 by Orwell since it seemed so good and relevent, but when I got to the part with the old prostitute I felt so ill I had to put it down.

I legit wanted to throw up reading that part. I had to put the book down and read that part in bits over a few days before I could get on with the rest of the book.

[–] Verdandi 0 points (+1|-1)

I love how people keep maintaining it has actual intellectual value, as if women are so fucking stupid and lacking self awareness we need a man to teach us how horrifying prostitution and sexual exploitation is.

[–] feduplesbian 19 points (+19|-0)

I have given up on fiction books by men for a while. Men have had control of like all media for thousands of years, maybe they can shut up for a few hundred years (at least).

[–] Carthimundia 18 points (+18|-0)

Phillip Pullman, who wrote 'his dark materials' trilogy, has a new series out about Lyra as an adult and it's been really disappointing. It's like now that Lyra has reached adult hood its an excuse to let loose and have nasty shit happen to her.

So in the first book, 'the book of dust', there's a female character who is brutally raped by the main antagonist. As far as I can see the only purpose of this scene is so the young male hero can rescue her. But it is really gratuitous and over the top. And then the female character just...magically gets over it and is fine. Yay. !< In the second book, which stars Lyra, Lyra goes on a trip to the Middle East by her self and is warned that it's dangerous, that she's over-confident etc. >! She ends up being sexually assaulted or raped by a group of soldiers on a train. And the entire depiction is insanely graphic - things like blood running down her legs. It's so nasty I can't even think about it too much. But it's ok because she fights them off and doesn't let them totally have their way with her - that's the main takeaway, that she resists. Pullman also very helpfully has a detailed description of her getting her period later, I presume to signal to us that she hasn't got pregnant. Thanks for letting us know!

Men really should just stop writing these kinds of scenes. I don't know what compelled Pullman to put TWO of these scenes in his books. Does it generate sympathy for female characters? Makes them seem deeper? Well, to my mind it makes Pullman seem like he is a pervert.

[–] lucrecia 8 points (+8|-0)

I read the first one and it was SO disappointing. I was bored stiff. Was amused to see that most reviewers agreed.

[–] mathwitch 5 points (+5|-0)

Yep. The original trilogy was so important to me growing up. I ran around in the afternoons pretending to be Lyra. But I will not subject myself to his more recent books, and everything I hear about them just makes me feel better about this decision. I hadn't heard about the spoiler you pointed out here. Major yikes.

[–] Verdandi 1 points (+1|-0)

Oh, very much the same for me. The books were downright mesmerizing! I had never read anything like that before and it gave me so much to think about. It was quite poetic at times.

Instead of the new books, I suggest watching the BBC show to anyone who loves HDM, or even people who've never heard of it!

[–] terfenclaw 8 points (+8|-0)

What the fuck. I had no idea about this new series. That's so fucked up.

When book 2 of His Dark Materials switched from Lyra being an active protagonist to playing passive second fiddle to the new boy protagonist, it was downhill for me. The whole series ended up being overly preachy and hit-you-with-a-brick unsubtle, and I'm an atheist so I should've been sympathetic. I knew I wouldn't pick up any of his other books after finishing that first trilogy. Reading this, I'm glad I didn't.

[–] GenderHeretic 4 points (+4|-0) Edited

Totally agree with all of this. Who the hell cares about the new boy protagonist when we have an established female protagonist? I'm also an atheist, and I was rolling my eyes at a lot of the preachiness of the last book. I guess I was supposed to think it was edgy or enlightening or relatable.

And while I wasn't going to read the book of dust, I'm very glad to be warned away from it. I had no idea it would be that bad.

[–] Verdandi 1 points (+1|-0)

True, but the third book introduces a third protagonist, Mary the former nun.

[–] Verdandi 2 points (+2|-0)

Noooo! I literally just said he was the only good one!!

Why, Philip, WHY?!?!?!

[–] RisingUp 16 points (+16|-0)

Holy shit, I noped out of your POST after the "semen-greased lips", I cannot imagine trying to persist with a novel after it sprung that on me.

Why are you reading it? There are so many beautiful and amazing books in the world - why give that one a second chance?

I do sometimes struggle to read books by male authors when they're tediously male centric, which is nearly all the time, but the only times I've felt like trying to push through it was when there was a lot of other interesting stuff going on (Infinite Jest. But I didn't finish in the end, I started to feel like I was trapped in a labyrinth built out of one man's ego.)

But sometimes a book by a man offers enough cheesy pleasure that I'll read it despite terrible female characters (The Name of the Wind is the first example that springs to mind. And some trashy crime writers that I can't remember the names of.) But I feel okay about saying men are generally shit writers. They can't write women and I'm not really interested in reading about worlds without women in them. Nearly all the actually good fiction I have read recently was by women.

To counteract the man-trashing I will name Terry Pratchett and Christopher Brookmyre as writers I enjoy who write great female characters. I can't think of any male writers of "literary fiction" that I could say the same about.

[–] GenderHeretic 6 points (+6|-0)

I can't think of any male writers of "literary fiction" that I could say the same about.

I think I just realised why I hate "literary fiction".

[–] terfenclaw 4 points (+4|-0)

Also, in Terry Pratchett's words:

“Susan hated Literature. She'd much prefer to read a good book.”

[–] [Deleted] 6 points (+6|-0)

I know, right? It's fucking gross. I don't know why I'm reading it. I guess because the prose is pretty decent, and it has that quirky, magical realism, Orlando-type feel that I love (except Orlando is a thousand times better and more readable). But I'm also reading Catherynne M. Valente's In the Cities of Coin and Spice (she's a TRA unfortunately, but oh well) which has a similar feel to it, except the male protagonist(s) are actually sympathetic and endearing.

The only male writer I can think of who writes characters really well, both male and female, is Guy Gavriel Kay. He writes fantasy based on real historical events from around the world. His book Under Heaven, based on the An Lushan Rebellion, had a character based on Yang Guifei who I absolutely adored.

[–] DogEyebrows 4 points (+4|-0)

Women are much better at writing male characters than the other way around.

But I'm also reading Catherynne M. Valente's In the Cities of Coin and Spice (she's a TRA unfortunately, but oh well) which has a similar feel to it, except the male protagonist(s) are actually sympathetic and endearing.

I've read other unsavoury stuff about her behaviour (from LJ), but do enjoy her work - some books more than others. The Orphan's Tales books are definitely my favourite works - poignant storytelling, beautifully complex characters with distinct voices and gorgeous language (though it took me a while to get into it). And the illustrations are stunning.

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

Oh I know! I end up falling in love with almost everything she writes. Deathless. A Dirge for Prester John. I even managed to make it through Palimpsest, her erotic novel about a sexually-transmitted city, and even for all the gratuitous sex scenes, I loved the story. I just ignore her politics and admire her skills.

[–] scriptcrone 15 points (+15|-0) Edited

In one of the notebooks I kept in my teens, there's a lovely rant in response to a writer talking about Emma Bovary and Anna Karenin being "women for all time", because even at fifteen-sixteen I resented transgressive love and death being upheld as "the" only tragic plot for a woman. (Like the Marriage Plot gone bad.) That's another thing to thank second wave feminism for, all the scholarship that recovered work by those men's female contemporaries that portrayed women and women's lives with knowledge from within, and for starting the publishers that published and republished books by women. Also Joanna Russ' "What Can a Heroine Do?"

Growing up with not much on offer for a girl who was intellectually very curious and interested in science, I became used early to readerly-cross-dressing, reading books written by men largely for boys, identifying with male characters, and reading from the male viewpoint. I've enjoyed some really sexist books, by writers I would not admit to reading in feminist company, and yet I've quickly reached the chuck against the wall stage with others. I remember having a vehement reaction against a very well reviewed mystery with serial killer of prostitutes, although I've read any number of those, but there was just an added foul stink of misogyny, ghastly murders and no compassion from the viewpoint characteris, that I yukked out five chapters in. I think I break when when I sense the misogyny is coming from the author himself. In particular, when he targets women with specific characteristics (prostitutes, older, not white, lesbian, Green, liberal, pacifist) as "shreddies", or repeatedly fails to appreciate the implications of plot choices for female characters (e.g., getting pregnant during an zombie apocalypse. If the zombies don't get you, cephalopelvic disproportion will).

Mind you, I've got issues with sexism from female authors as well (mainly incompetence and unprofessional behaviour glossed over because of ~womanly emotions~), though those are more irritating than vile, and a topic for a different thread.

[–] Carthimundia 18 points (+18|-0)

OMG on the topic of Anna Karenina, I once had to read a journal article by this old fart from Cambridge about that book and he said that Tolstoy was the best author at writing women and Anna was the most perfectly written woman of all time. He then went on to say that Tolstoy just deeply understood the nature of women, and he demonstrated this by making Anna take contraception. He said something like "Tolstoy knows that contraception is evil because it denies women's inner womanly essence, their drive to reproduce and nurture a baby." Honestly, half of English literature is men writing women badly and male critics nodding saying this confirms their views about women!

[–] Alecto 6 points (+6|-0)

Honestly, half of English literature is men writing women badly and male critics nodding saying this confirms their views about women!

Sounds about right.

[–] RegularFeminist 5 points (+5|-0)

Tolstoy was a horrible man and he didn't get women at all. I am not sure if his wife's diaries are translated into English, but if they are - recommend them to anyone who say that Tolstoy is good at writing women

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