here are some essays about women in fiction


ok, couple weeks back i asked instagram if they remembered this one specific essay about unlikeable female protagonists – sad bad girls who were kinda gross and horrible, but beautiful – so they could get away with being despicable.

i was thinking about otessa moshfegh’s my year of rest and relaxation, but i think this was an essay in a proper highbrow literary magazine (small serif font, earthy tone website background, one image at the top of the article, run on sentences and academic bluster). literary criticism! analysis of fiction in a way that zooooooms all the way out and looks at this kind of thing on a macro scale – like what does this say about The Culture.

i was asking with an ulterior motive, with sunday’s text (a review of Sheena Patel’s I’m A Fan) and the unreliable and disagreeable and potentially toxic femininity narrator in mind. i was wondering if this fictional imaginary essay had something to say that would be a handy lil add on background research to that review. in the end, i don’t think i found it and i don’t think it was relevant anyway – more going on in i’m a fan than just Bad Vibes Girly.

But !! i asked and instagram fuckin answered – i got soooo many replies, a lot of them sending over the same few articles. but i got the MOST replies asking if i could share the link once i found it. i am obvs v sad to report that i don’t think i ever found the article. think i dreamed it or misremembered it sooo severely i’m now thinking of something else entirely. i think actually that i’m partially getting it all mixed up with that merve emre feature? totally different thing. i’ve imagined it. but i’ll share the links to texts that i did find – and also some Thoughts!

ok, the end of the list !! whew.

so my thoughts are: i think it’s absolutely objectively bonkers that so many articles have been published about the Types of Woman in literature, reducing these many different books down into trends, tropes or trajectories. i think it’s mad bc almost all these things were written by women and it makes me feel itchy, culturally speaking, that these things are not just read as THINGS but as THINGS THAT SIGNIFY THINGS, FOR THE CULTURE. i mean, it’s also true that they’re not wrong. there is definitely a trend or a commonality to this kind of fiction.

i mean, yeah. some of these articles are interested in the wider trend itself. but some are hyper focused on female writer and what their writing very tightly means. n i just think it’s weird that so many articles have been written about what sally rooney MEANS! not just what her books say about society, what her work says in relation to the canon, but what SALLY ROONEY signifies SPECIFICALLY. if i was sally rooney i’d crawl into a hole and never write, speak, or even think a word ever again. not to shame anyone for thinking about all this or consuming this kinda content, this is all fair game. but it’s just.

it’s j telling that we’re living in an era where i think more women are being published and publishing like bigggg bestselling culture defining books. like, the Lady-Writer is for sure On Top. books are just girly things now. but still there’s this cultural or societal macro chronic backdrop of misogyny just leering there under the surface of literary thought. EVEN THO THESE ARTICLES ARE MOSTLY WRITTEN BY WOMEN. i don’t think the journos themselves are guilty of misogyny, i j wonder what all these thinkpieces en mass actually do, like their affect.

as a writer who is also kinda a woman, mostly a woman, more a woman that anything else – ish. idk! it just makes me feel itchy about the way our book is going to be read bc honestly the mere fact of being perceived as WOMAN makes me wana leap out my skin. i don’t wana be a type, even tho i know type is something that is designated to you – you don’t get to opt in or out of that, you don’t control it, it’s j kind assigned as a result of wider movements. i know nothing original exists ever, these works all speak about the wider world and culture and the economy and society adn everything – and that' what this analysis is doing – figuring all that out.

i j think – did anyone say this when men were writing about fucking jack reacher novels? has anyone writeen about the dan-brownification of literary tastes, drawing a wide circle around him and like,… james patterson, those jack reacher novels, read it all up against historical fiction. i know there’s that article about dad-non-fiction-hardbacks or like waterstones dads.. , . i’m just a girl! and i feel weird about people telling me about the things i like and what they mean! i also think there’s a density to this kinda analysis that feels overwhelming. that’s all!!!!

ok, there are ur links! i’ll leave u with this video esay by my favourite cultural thinker, mina le, about the hot-girlification of reading