I have a question: if Joanne Rowling had published a book with a young witch name Hermione Granger as her protagonist, would it have been the massive global success J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was?
I’m going to take a guess and say NO.
The reason I got to thinking about this recently was because of Diana Gabaldon’s book, Outlander. Now a popular television adaptation exists of course more people are hearing about the story and picking up the book.
Now, I’m not the series’ biggest fan, nor do I think much of Herself (as the obsessive fans refer to the author). In fact, the reason I was reading Outlander reviews was because I was interested to see what new readers thought of the spousal abuse – which will be coming up in the television version right after the mid-year break.
Fans will defend the abuse in this book to the death, and – yes – it infuriates me.
However, there’s a difference between picking at the major flaws in Gabaldon’s work, and being a misogynist because you think it makes you look smarter than those silly women.
I’m not sure why so many men (and some women) think it’s okay to pick up something written by a woman and/or with a female protagonist with the intention of insulting it. You can dislike Outlander all you want, but to review the book by saying, “This is the most stupid thing I’ve ever read! I think I lost IQ points reading it! It’s the kind of thing women will like!”…
…You see my problem?
Just before the television version started, I read an article that essentially said men are conditioned to expect to see themselves as the star and hero of every story. They’re conditioned to think something isn’t interesting unless a man is at the star of it, and they’re conditioned to immediately dislike something if a woman wrote it (unless they’re tricked into it a la Harry Potter).
And you know what? I’m so, so tired of it. I’m so tired of anything a woman does being, “It’s just chick lit! Why didn’t anybody tell me this was a woman’s thing! It’s so stupid!”
I’m sorry guys, but misogyny doesn’t cut it in the 21st century. Or at least it shouldn’t.