The moment you declare something fanboys like bad, they will scream for “objectivity” (incidentally, the case in question is about Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon and @ChaosTheThird openly admits that Saladin Ahmed is his “buddy,” which surely does endless credit for @ChaosTheThird’s objectivity) and howl that you’re stating your opinions as fact and that’s just not done. You need to read the whole book before you can make judgment! You need to read the whole fucking series or else! Then they’ll turn around and declare Fifty Shades of Gray shit. Sometimes, as in the case of Mr Serial Mansplainer here, without having read it–despite “you haven’t read it/all of it/the whole series” being the axe they’ll grind when they’ve run out of intelligent arguments (and since they are not, on average, intelligent this happens very quickly). To be sure, I don’t believe that just because something is read by a lot of women it is automatically feminist; Jim Butcher, let me remind you, has a significant female fanbase. So does Doctor Who and, I don’t know, shit like Supernatural. Oh, and Joss Whedon of course. I also don’t think either EL James or Stephenie Meyer is feminist; I also don’t need to read Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer to know it’s appropriative bullshit. But the question of what’s feminist (and whether you can judge a book without having read it in its entirety) is not really the point. Just look at this.
[Fifty Shades] is demeaning to women.
As fantasy and science fiction have long been the champions of feminist fiction, I couldn’t be more delighted that we’ve raised this particular flag. For one thing, Fifty Shades of Grey is about sex between consenting adults. Were it set in a secondary world with an under-aged protagonist being repeatedly raped… well, that’s a different story – and one that’s on HBO. As Patrick Rothfuss proved so eloquently in The Wise Man’s Fear, feminism isn’t about equality: it is about treating women like the precious jewels they are, and trying to fuck as many of them as possible.
It is badly written.
Well, obviously that’s not anything we do.
When a bunch of neckbeards turn their noses up at Fifty Shades it’s a little like people who eat shit all day turning up their noses at slightly differently colored shit. They will pretend, of course, that it’s because it–and Twilight say, or romance novels–is sexist, “demeaning to women.” Then they chow down everything spewing forth from the anuses of Jim Butcher, Patrick Rothfuss, Mark Lawrence and Joss Whedon. If you start saying any of those writers might be suffering from the genital disease known as I Can’t With Women, the neckbeards will shrilly cry, “You’re just looking to be offended, feminazi. Also, this is why X and Y and Z are not sexist, and as men we know best what’s sexist and what is not, because we are objective. What do you know? Women like this weepy male-gazey teenage girl exist in real life.”
My mouth dropped a little at the sight of Raphael. His outfit was, um, freaking hot. He looked at me and said, “I’m waiting for you to say something.” It took me a moment to reconnect my mouth to my brain. “You look amazing,” I said. His smile was slow and hot. Raphael was gorgeous. I don’t mean “most popular guy at school” gorgeous, I mean he looked like a literal Olympian. The details almost didn’t matter. Tall. Dark hair. Skin like milk, like polished ivory. Eyes as blue as the twilight sky.
Sounds like a YA novel, doesn’t it, complete with the cliches? Doesn’t it sound so teenage? Wouldn’t you just vomit on it? I know I would. The average neckbeard will probably even agree with me. “Ugh, teenage girls,” one might say. “They read such dumb, shallow crap. ‘Um, freaking hot, a literal Olympian’–that’s the shittiest writing I’ve ever seen! What is this, a Twilight rip-off? I’m so glad I don’t read this rubbish, my brain might rot.” This same neckbeard devours Jim Butcher and froths at the mouth if you tell him that Jim Butcher is worthless and should choke on his keyboard pronto. I guarantee that. They also believe this is the height of literary accomplishment:
She reeled back at the vehemence of my words, some of the anger draining out of her. “what is it you mean?” she trailed off, confused. “This!” I gestured awkwardly at myself, at her, at the cushions and the pavilion around us, as if that explained everything. The last of the anger left her as I saw realization begin to dawn, “you…” “No,” I looked down, my face growing hot. “I have never been with a woman.” Then I straightened and looked her in the eye as if challenging her to make an issue of it. Felurian was still for a moment, then let her mouth turn up into a wry smile. “you tell me a faerie story, my kvothe.” I felt my face go grim. I don’t mind being called a liar. I am. I am a marvellous liar. But I hate being called a liar when I’m telling the perfect truth. Regardless of my motivation, my expression seemed to convince her. “but you were like a gentle summer storm.” She made a fluttering gesture with a hand. “you were a dancer fresh upon the field.” Her eyes glittered wickedly.
His fans actually honestly believe this is Great Literature, with “such well-crafted, sometimes poignant, often incisive prose”. They insist that “Patrick Rothfuss’ prose is absurdly stunning, the type that makes me cry at its sheer beauty.” None of these reviewers mentions the rampant sexism or the undisguised, puerile teenage-boy wish fulfillment. Again, I think they are all shit–it’s this pretense that neckbeard reading material somehow occupies an intellectual high ground that irritates, for the same reason as the pretense that reading mindlessly is inherently a more ennobling hobby than farming gold in WoW, but with more sexism. There are plenty of things to criticize about the average YA or Meyer or EL James, but when you simultaneously praise some neckbeard–who writes just as shittily and packs in just as much if not more misogyny–to the sky let’s just say your motivations might be more than a little questionable. This isn’t you being a moral guardian for women everywhere; it’s just concern-trolling and it’s instantly obvious. Shitlord. I’d also like to bring attention to comments like this:
I’m happy you brought up the gender flip issue. I’m pleased that there are thousands of fans who call LKH and Anita out on their bullshit, but I think there should be more attention drawn to it and that’s why the gender issue is such a big deal. If Anita was indeed Antonio (lol, nice, I love it), the series would probably be banned from libraries. But since she’s a girl, less attention is paid to the blatantly horrible things she subjects her “sweeties” to on a daily basis because we still live in a male-oriented society.
These people honestly, truly, actually believe Anita Blake would be criticized more harshly if she were a male character. Because we live in a patriarchy. As in, due to living in a sexist culture a female character–they assert–would be the target of less criticism than a female one. (The weeaboo also indulges in racial stereotyping which amounts to “I know some Hispanic women, therefore I am an authority on Hispanic womanhood!” There are problems–many of them–with Hamilton’s handling of race. Anita Blake not being “Hispanic enough” because she doesn’t cook is… not one of those.)
Christian Grey vs Takery KovacsDen
Saajan Patel left a comment and I said–
Excellent point. Jim Butcher–uh, Harry Dresden is the guy every neckbeard wants to be; Christian Gray is the evil “bad boy” who “steals” women from neckbeards, who are eternal Nice Guys in the perpetual friendzone.
I’ve expressed surprise repeatedly that anyone over the mental age of thirteen can enjoy Jim Butcher, let alone say he is a good writer or even an acceptable one in any way whatsoever. But the fact of course is that the people who enjoy him uncritically are not over that mental age–they love the puerile wish fulfillment of imagining themselves in Dresden’s shoes. When hot women kneel naked in front of him begging for sex, it’s them who get to revel in being so awesome and so irresistable that they can turn these women down and humiliate them too. There’s no other reason to read or appreciate this stuff, it’s so devoid of substance or merit. There is no reason Jim Butcher should be writing. Having established that, isn’t it odd when Jim Butcher’s fans will turn on people who read the same grade of stuff they do, for the same reason? In their heads, Kvothe, Harry Dresden, Takeshi Kovacs, and their ilk are elevated to a higher plane than “bullshit puerile wish-fulfillment fantasies” because reasons. For Kvothe it’s because (they believe) the writing is literary and good (no), for Takeshi Kovacs it’s because those books are high-concept (no, are you illiterate?), for Harry Dresden it’s–actually, I’m not sure what their excuse is for that one. Testimonials include “one of the best series I’ve read in a long time but more telling, the illiterate maggots that think Jim Butcher passes for tolerable say–
I dont think Ive ever found anything quite like the Dresden files. Most urban Fantasy Ive picked up tends to…. well suck. I tried a couple of the Sookie Stackhouse books, a few Anita Blake books, a Carrie Vaughn book, a few by Richelle Mead and couldnt get into any of them.
Then there’s this–
My wife and I love The Dresden Files series, but my other forays into Urban Fantasy indicate to me that pretty much everything else in the genre is like Twilight for grown-ups; heavy on the romance, low on excitement.
If one has no problem with Jim Butcher’s rabid misogyny and racism, I doubt they’d have any with Laurell K Hamilton’s or Charlaine Harris’. Likewise if one doesn’t mind Butcher’s vapidity, the low bars of the rest of the genre would be no obstacle either. So the singular difference is that Richelle Mead, Laurell K Hamilton and the rest are women writing female characters, which equals cooties. “Twilight for grown-ups” is an indictment, as though they weren’t reading juvenile manchild fap-fodder of no higher caliber or literary merit than Twilight.
It takes quite the combination of sexism and illiteracy to not recognize that.