I have to say, this blog is making me happy already. I’m pleased so many of you out there are as interested in exploring this as I am! I’m glad to have a place to throw some ideas around. Also, selfishly, I’m really looking forward to some of the posts people have said they’d write for the site. (Trust me, when you see them, you will too.)
I set a bunch of ground rules for myself for this blog, but I realized I haven’t stated them explicitly, and I should have done that. So here goes:
- I’m using these posts partially to start discussion and partially as a way to work things through in my own head. None of my opinions here are unchangeable. You may have a hard time persuading me that I’m wrong on some of them, but nothing here is immutable, except for the fact that these societal biases do exist and they do have a negative impact on members of the greater community, which I feel is the fundamental foundation of this discussion.
- I’m planning to update this three times a week, give or take, with book responses from myself or others. I’m not setting a strict schedule, because that will make this sound like work and I want to enjoy all the books I’m reading. But I’ve been plowing through books (many of which are AWESOME and I’d never gotten around to, so thanks, Bitch Magazine, for prompting me!), and I just need to write up my reactions. I don’t want to do them within 24 hours of reading the books for the first time, though, and I don’t want to do them thoughtlessly, so the scheduling isn’t set in stone. (Of course, you can also subscribe via your feed reader, and I also know that LiveJournal and DreamWidth both have feeds for new posts on this site, if you are so inclined.)
- I have a set format for myself for now, but review style can- and probably will- vary greatly. The two things every book will have are a brief (or lengthy!) analysis of how it deals with feminism and a list of triggers. The goal here is to supplement the Bitch post, and those are the two main things people felt were missing.
- I will be critical about something in every book and positive about something in every book. No matter how I personally feel about it, there is no such thing as a meritless book or a perfect book. Where the book is on the continuum will vary from person to person, and therein lies the joy of discussion.
- These reviews will be critical of aspects of these books. This is never meant to imply that the book isn’t good, or the author isn’t good, or even that the author was being offensive. Once the text is published, it’s out of the author’s hands, and because I shy away from authorial intent, I don’t care what the goal was in writing these particular stories in this manner (although I am intrigued by it). Every post here begins with the good-faith assumption that the author wrote the best book s/he could, and that the criticisms stem from one particular reader’s interpretation of the text. Moreover, a book not being a feminist book is not the same as an author not being a feminist. A book not being an explicitly feminist book is not the same as being a misogynistic text. The same applies when dealing with racism, homophobia, ablism, or any other bias.
- Criticisms of characters’ choices are not the same as criticisms of these choices in real life. Characters operate both as people (albeit fictional people) and as symbols. When dealing with people, feminism is all about the individual’s choice to make the best decisions for themselves regardless of gender. Symbols, on the other hand, alter the way we perceive the world, and I think critiquing that is fair game.
- I will frequently be wrong here- or at least, you may disagree with what I say. I’m trying to approach this thoughtfully and sensitively, but I assume my privilege will be blinding me on some things, and my personal life experiences to others. If I miss anything, please say something. And if you miss something, please don’t be offended if someone calls you out on it.
Questions? Comments? Condemnation? Feel free to leave me one. And if there’s anything I’m missing in the above, please, by all means, let me know.