Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pet Peeve: Femmephobia

I've recognized this for a while, but I'm going to hereby codify it: if a book starts in the first few pages with a young woman moaning about how annoying it is that she has to hang around with other vapid young women, I'm out. This is especially bad in historical fiction or fantasy, where you have a princess (or other noble woman) who wants to be outside being a tomboy, or in the lab studying, but instead has to talk to people who are only concerned with clothes and gossip.

I'm sorry to say that this why I'm not planning to read Meagan Spooner's Hunted. I've never ready anything else by her, and I've heard her widely praised, and I'm not going to pretend that this is a review of the book.  It's not--I'm pretty confident, actually, that it's a good book.

But I really, really hate the shortcut to letting us know how great our heroine is by comparing her to all those other girls who are so shallow.  Most people have trivial interests and passions that can look like trivial interests to outsiders.  The heroine here, Yeva, would rather be hunting than sewing with the other ladies; in some books, the problem is a young man who would rather be reading than hunting.  It's not the specific pursuit; it's the dismissal of it as shallow, unworthy, and trivial.

It's especially bad, though, when it's girls being called vapid for acting like girls.  Our excepto-girl is a tomboy, so that's okay then.  I don't mind at all if she doesn't want to embroider. But I am surrounded by brilliant people who will tell you; an interest in needlework does not make you vapid.

Peace out.

1 comment:

Lianna Williamson said...

Tell it on the mountain!

I call this the "I'm not like other girls-- and thus I am better than them" trope.