Skip to main content

Where My Girls At?

Just so you're all aware, moderating comments is not my choice. My blog is not so over-run with companies wishing to force their unwanted advertising on my comment section that I feel the need to do this. It really just creates more work for me ("work" = clicking 'approve' on the comment). But Intense Debate is being wonky, and despite my having written them a stern note apprising them of the situation and wishing for a swift but peaceful resolution, they seem not to have fixed it. Yet. But in the very near future, the moderated comment Walls of Jericho will come tumbling down, and you will instantly be able to see your comment in all its glory without any approval by me necessary. One can only hope.

Are you all aware of the tumblr Better Book Titles? Because you should be:

Which brings me to today's topic. Which I've just now decided will be women in contemporary literature. There're all these strong female characters in literature from the 19th century, and, partially because I don't read a lot of contemporary books that aren't written for 12-year-olds, I'm having a hard time thinking of modern day parallels (and no, Gone With the Wind is too old and doesn't count -- let's go from 1960-now).

Part of the problem seems to lie in the unfortunate fact that most of the latter half of the 20th century has been dominated by dude authors. Like, to a weird degree. I mean, you've got Harper Lee's one book. That's good. The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels list doesn't have a woman until no. 15 (Woolf, obviously, who doesn't fit in the post-1960 group) and another doesn't appear until Wharton at no. 58. The ONLY woman who does fit is Muriel Spark at 76 with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (which I'm not a huge fan of, but this is incidental).

To be fair, others have criticized this list for the same reason, so maybe I'm using the wrong list. But the fact remains that in the decades following what were supposedly huge leaps in cultural feminism, we have few standout female characters. The best one in recent decades is Hermione Granger (I'm equating 'best' here with 'most influential in a positive way'), but she's written for pre-teens/teenagers. Which is excellent!...for the next generation. There has actually been a series of strong female characters in YA in recent years, including Annabeth Chase in the Percy Jackson series and, of course, Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games.

But I've read little of the period of literature I'm currently criticizing, so it's possible I'm full of it. But I don't think I am. My ear is finely attuned to the strains, however distant, of a kickass female character. If you have examples, preferably from non-bad books (if any of you mention The Help...), that would be swell. I'm thinking of characters like Francie Nolan, Hester Prynne, the aforementioned Scarlett O'Hara and yes FINE, insanely cliched Elizabeth Bennet.

To conclude:


Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.

You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:

We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.

INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

A synonym for 'Neanderthal' is 'boorish,' which just isn't very nice

So this article came out, which isn't really groundbreaking at all, but it happens to have been published the day after I watched part of the NOVA special "Becoming Human," so it's been on my brain anyway.

I was checking out a book a while ago called Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans, and it was all "Oh dude, our ancestors probably didn't even LOOK at Neanderthals. No way. 'Cause they would've been like, RIDICULOUSLY ugly."

This book was published in 2010. And what came out this year? DNA Shows Humans Found Non-Humans Irresistible

That's right. Your lady ancestor, at some point, sidled up to a Neanderthal gentleman and said "Hey. How's it goin'?

Because all non-Africans ('cause the Africans stayed put instead of traipsing around becoming the Don Juans of prehistoric Europe) have 1-4% Neanderthal DNA. So the above scenario DEFINITELY happened. Which is disheartening NOT because of my huge Neanderth…