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It's a Man's World, We Just Die In It

Speaking of Los Angeles Magazine, my article on the fetishization of beautiful female victims is finally online.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 23rd, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
Female heroes
Excellent and thought provoking article; thanks for sharing.

I haven't read much crime fiction by women or with female protagonists. It's picked up a little more as I become aware of more of it, but still a small percentage. Articles such as this, as well as Crimespace discussions and Bouchercon panels, have made me wonder why.

You've hit upon most of what holds me back. Most stories with female leads--even by female authors--portray the woman as either a man with breasts, or set the story up so she's too cute by half and gets what she wants either by batting her eyes, or through divine intervention. Sara Paretzky's V.I. Warshawski is a notable exception.

What I liked about Angel Dare was, she's a tough broad. (I grew up in a time and location where calling a woman a broad was not an automatic insult, and was often a compliment, depending on the context.) She'll be accepted on her own terms, or not at all, and has the backbone not to make threats; she takes action. She's a great character and I'm glad to hear there will be a sequel.

Would people buy a story about a female detective who becomes obsessed with the idea of a dead man? They might, depending on how well the rest of the story held together, and how true the detective's motivations seemed to the reader. I suspect, if well done, such a book might well become a cult classic that could spawn a new sub-genre (which will, unfortunately not be as good as the original; bandwagon jumpers rarely are), or, if timed right, be a huge seller.

Good luck. I'll look forward to it.

--Dana King
Dec. 23rd, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this article, thanks for the link.

Several months ago a friend of mine, a woman, asked me what woman writers I've read. I realized there weren't that many. I felt guilty. Money Shot was already on my radar, and I immediately picked it up and read it and loved it. That book also totally knocked off its hinges the door into the crime fiction world that Darwyn Cooke's take on The Hunter had already opened. Since then I've picked up several more crime books by women, though I haven't gotten them all read yet. Honestly, though, when I'm reading I generally don't even care what gender the writer is -- it's either good or bad storytelling. Quite often, when reading books written in the 60s or earlier -- I am surprised by the levels of racism and misogyny I encounter, and file away under, "Well, that's a sign of the times it was written in!" It doesn't tend to make me angry, though, but maybe it should.

As for your question, hell yeah, I'd read it! Especially if you wrote it. Some of the questions you raise about gender roles and how we look at a lot of this stuff I don't know if I would have even thought about unless you raised them. So it's good that you are. Now I have to think about my reaction to the book idea you suggest: would I still like the idea if a man wrote the story as much as I would if a woman did? Am I projecting my answer based on how I would like to think about it, or because of how I really feel? It's good to have perceptions challenged like that.

Can't wait for Angel Dare #2. Are you still on deck for a Gabriel Hunt story in April, by chance?
Stephen Blackmoore [blogspot.com]
Dec. 24th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Excellent article. Hadn't realized you were writing for LA Mag. I've been under a rock.

And I know I'd read that book.
Dec. 25th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Great Article
"But would anybody buy that book? Would you?"

You're got-damn right I would.

-JD Rhoades
Jan. 3rd, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
Women fetishing dead men?
My first thought on the question of whether women would fetish dead men was: does the whole vampire thing count?

As to your second question, I'd read anything you wrote.

Jan. 10th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
Great essay, and it pushed me to order (and love and devour in one day) Money Shot. You have a new (smart, strong woman) fan!

PS - the essay resolved a lot for me about my own problems writing noir. I don't want to write a man - I want to try to write a strong woman - so I end up running into the sexualization problem or just writing a lesbian character. #2 is no problem to me aside from the fact that I'm straight and don't want to stereotype "too" much.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )