No Country for Young Women

August 23rd, 2015

I didn’t set out to stop reading fiction written by men, or to stop watching movies and TV with male protagonists, I just got tired.

Sufficiently tired of women as props—as raped and beaten and tortured and murdered bodies meant to motivate the real, male people at the center of the world—that I stopped reading/watching fiction not previously vetted. Then I had a baby, and even less energy for anger or time for nonsense. At the first hint of the poisonous defaults that make women disposable, I dropped novels and movies and series.

But the defaults remain difficult to avoid, particularly on screen, and especially because I prefer tech-and-adrenaline to romantic comedies and srs ppl dramas about srs ppl problems. So as I write this I’m reeling from another startling viciousness, another promising tech series that declined midseason to butchering women as a way of giving its male characters depth. (Defaults.)

It’s not even that my politics quail at something I otherwise enjoy. I’m just stung and sad, and ashamed that I keep falling for the same trick. If a piece of fiction is made by and emotionally centered on men, chances are, it defaults to the belief that women are nothing but fuel. Doesn’t matter if I’m catching every reference and gleefully staying ahead of every jump. It will eventually declare that it’s not meant for me. Usually via a bloody body that looks like mine. Read more ⇒