Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Not to be a b*tch, but...

I recently talked a little about the Top 100 YA Novels for Feminist Readers from Bitch Media, which was published on January 28. I’ve been meaning to expound on the topic a bit more, but haven’t made the time until now.

Looking over the list – both the original and the revised versions – I have heard of many of the books, but have only read about 25-30 of them.

My issues with the list:

Firstly, my biggest issue is this little line that the deviser posted in a reply on the comments:

“While I read most of the books on this list, there were a few that I just researched”

Why would you recommend books on such a list without actually reading all of the titles? If I heard great things about a book but had yet to read it, I might still recommend it to someone on a person to person basis. I would also say, “I haven’t read this yet, but have heard wonderful reviews on it!” I wouldn’t feel comfortable publishing a list of book recommendations, such as Bitch Media’s list, without actually reading each book on the list or being sure to mention first I hadn’t read them all.

Now on to my second issue with the list: If you are recommending a list of books, I feel you should be 100% ready to back up those titles. Obviously the list’s creator and the organization that published the list didn’t feel that way. After a few comments complaining about two novels and a quick weekend of actually reading those and one other book, all three were replaced. By not backing up the decision to include those titles in the first place, the list loses whatever power it may have held.

Issue number three…how can you publish a list of books on an ideal without describing what qualities make up that ideal or what features of each novel make it one that should be read? No where in the original publication of the list does Bitch Media explain just why it is that “every feminist should add to the stack of books on their bedside table.” Of the percentage I have read, I can’t quite understand what makes them all top notch feminist novels, especially in the eyes of an organization whose mission “is to provide and encourage an empowered, feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.”

The third issue kind of goes into my other issues with the list: Why are some of those titles even on there? As I’ve said, I have read about 20-30 titles, and can’t for the life of me understand why some are considered to be the epitome of stellar feminist teen literature. I’m not saying that they aren’t decent novels, just that I don’t see why some are on the list.


wonderlandchick said...

Have you read the response on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books? Here is a link if not
For your reading pleasure
My favorite bit is when they point out adolescence itself is one big trigger of misery. Lots to think about.

Ama said...

I haven't! Off to read. Thanks for the link.