What ho? A feminist bitchfight?

3 Feb

My friend M brought to my attention a round of interesting issues and books going on in both the YA world and feminist circles. Seeing as this blog is a teensy bit of both, I thought I’d bring it to your attention for both the discussion factor and the booklist 🙂

So, the infamous feminist magazine Bitch recently posted a list of 100 YA books every feminist should read (see the article here). While any sort of ultimate list like that is bound to stir a lot of controversy over inclusion or exclusion, several books incited so much debate that Bitch revised their list and removed Tender Morsels, Sisters Red, and Living Dead Girl – replacing them with the more innocuous but no less awesome Howl’s Moving Castle, The Blue Sword, and Tomorrow, When the War Began (see post here). Now whether or not you think those books should have been taken off the list – though I have not read any of the three offenders (be sure they will appear on the blog soon) I have read the protesting comments and I think the reasoning is not enough to remove them, but more on that later – actually doing it is going to spark even more controversy.

However, back to earlier, my friend M pointed me to this succinct riposte by YA author Karen Healy, here. This distills a lot of the issues inimical to the debate, and is worth a read. I’ll post my thoughts on removing books from a feminist list tomorrow perhaps, when it isn’t my bedtime 🙂

Whichever way you fall on the debate, both Bitch and Karen Healy offer up long and great lists of YA books with awesome chicks in the driver’s seat. Check ’em out, or just check Pickychick out in a couple weeks because we’re on the trail!

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7 Responses to “What ho? A feminist bitchfight?”

  1. Rebecca Wells February 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Having read all three of those, I can see strong arguments being made for both sides. (Although I haven’t read any of the arguments for/against yet, so I don’t know whether the arguments made ARE the strongest…)

    • pickychick books February 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      What sways me towards the side of the removed books is that this is Bitch’s list, and of course some readers are going to disagree with some of the choices. That doesn’t mean Bitch should change the list to appease the dissidents – I mean, the magazine is called BITCH after all 🙂 I think that capitulating weakens Bitch’s stance, particularly since their list doesn’t say anything about the books being any sort of primer for feminism, just that they feature strong female characters.
      In addition, feminism isn’t exactly an easily or universally defined theory – re: Reading Women – and it sounds to me like the troublesome books address the topic in a different way. YA books aren’t always about making the right choices.
      Of course I don’t have much to stand on, since I haven’t actually read any of them, so I could just be blowing hot air 🙂
      MORE TO THE POINT: are those books good/worth reading? Let’s be real, that’s what I really care about, haha.

      • Kelsey T February 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

        Agreed. Simple and true.

  2. M February 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    What I find really interesting/slightly scary about the whole thing (without having read the controversial books) is all the internet people who are accusing Bitch of censorship. Which is taking things a little far. I mean, a blogger should probably stand by their list of 100 feminist ya reads and not cave to reader demands to remove things because obviously the list is their OPINION, but Bitch just wanted to do what they saw as the right thing and remove some books from their list that were freaking people out. Discussion would’ve been better, but that’s okay. It’s not censorship to say “we are removing books from our opinion article because we don’t want to offend our readers.” This in no way prevents people from gaining access to those books, or changes the contents of those books. Oh internets, you are so silly sometimes.

    • pickychick books February 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Slash when did Bitch become so concerned with popular opinion? I’m pretty sure it was a magazine particularly aimed at pissing the status quo off…
      But you’re right, the bloggers are getting a wee bit out of control. Censorship? Karen Healy made a valid point when she said that Bitch isn’t prohibiting or preventing anyone from reading/having access to the books in question. Calm down, people.

  3. Kelsey T February 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Haven’t read every comment or even the list of titles yet, but I really like and agree w/ what Karen Healy says on her blog: ?As John Scalzi points out, there’s almost nothing more likely to get YA authors angry than something that, as Maureen Johnson says ‘mirrors EXACTLY the process by which book banners remove books from schools and libraries–namely, one person makes a comment, no one actually checks, book gets yanked…'” AH! Thank you!

    • Kelsey T February 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

      I guess I’m just saying that I think it’s stupid that Bitch took down certain books and replaced them w/ others b/c of chatter. Really? Stand up for your list.

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