There’s only one thing worse than being interrupted in the middle of a good book.
That thing is being interrupted in the middle of a poor book that you’re being forced to read because you promised a fellow book nerd you would. I found myself in this situation several months ago. Throughout the novel, I had one thought in mind.
“Read faster, Tasha. Get it over with.”
The concept was good but the execution was horrible. Character development and realistic dialogues were like Easter eggs in this novel. You had to look really hard to find them. You know what I mean?
However, as things tend to happen, the book only got worse. And then, the author did the unforgivable.
If you will, allow me to set the scene.
Three of the main characters are going after the villain who’s just made his escape. They’re debating about which route is best. The two males are really going at it and they can’t seem to agree. Then, the female lead who is also the main character steps in and says…
“If you two ladies are done arguing, we have a bad guy to catch.”
I froze and re-read the passage. Sure enough, I had read it correctly.
The main character, a female, who was always taking crap because she was a female was now using her gender as an insult.
Because, you know, we women are just so emotional we can’t do anything but argue. It makes total sense to refer to someone as “ladies” or “females” (cringe) when they’re having a disagreement.
But it was only one time, right? I should just let it roll off, yeah?
Well, then, I got this good, old classic.
Again, from the main character.
“Is that all you got? Tsk, you hit like a girl!”
Perhaps, the MC was unaware but she is a girl!!!
Oh, and there was this gem.
“You girls ready yet because we’ve got to go!”
Once again, this is a line from the MC. What made it worse is the author is a woman, as well.
Now, perhaps you’re thinking I’m overreacting, I’m putting too much into a few lines of dialogue.
The truth is you’re totally entitled to your opinion. Also, I can see how small sayings like these get passed over. People say them and take them in without a second thought. However, the reason such language isn’t analyzed is that it’s common. We use it often, without really thinking about what we’re saying.
Let’s break one down, shall we?
“You hit like a girl.”
Okay, we’ve all heard it but what does it mean exactly?
The saying is often used as an insult especially toward men. What’s being said here is that hitting like a girl is bad, it’s negative and somehow inferior to hitting like a male. Of course, most little girls (unless they’re mutants) aren’t going to hit harder than a grown man. But “girl” doesn’t always mean “girl.”
I can’t speak for other cultures but here in the U.S. “girl” is used to refer to female children, young ladies, and grown women. If you’re a guy, maybe you think I’m making this up but, I promise you, the overuse of “girl” to describe anyone of the female gender is rampant.
What’s wrong with calling a woman a girl, you ask? They’re both females, you say?
Simple, girl, at its base, refers to a child. Children are juvenile, naïve, not fully aware of the world which is why they need adults to guide them. It’s partially what we’re here for. Similar to how the eldest siblings are charged with watching the younger siblings, parents are like the eldest of the eldest siblings. It’s an age ranking that determines who is most competent and who takes care of who.
Coming through a little clearer now?
Of course, these are only a few examples from one single novel. Sometimes the discrimination isn’t as blatant though it can rear its head in other ways.
Examples of this would include the female lead falling in love with the guy who treated her horribly for a portion of the novel. It’s okay though because she fixed his bruised soul and now he’s all better.
Uh, I ain’t your mama or your punching bag for you to take out your issues on. Also, women are not fixers. Fixing others is not our primary goal in life and it shouldn’t be. Maybe we have our own things going on.
Then, there’s the overly protective boyfriend who treats the female lead like she’s not capable of handling simple tasks without hurting herself. Nothing’s wrong with a guy caring for his partner or wanting to take care of her but she’s a person, not a toy.
What really gets to me is that in all these examples I mentioned, the author has been a woman.
So, yeah, sometimes guys can be misogynistic, patriarchal, sexist butt faces. But, sometimes we do it to ourselves.