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anonymous asked:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how fiction can best be feminist/your favourite feminist (or just not sexist) fiction (especially bc it's national novel writing month)

When it comes to how fiction can be “feminist”, it’s honestly not as difficult as people make it out to be. The only reason why we seem to have such trouble with it is because people are conditioned to view women as plot devices, not people. Once they’ve served their purpose, they’re cast aside until they’re useful again. So I guess I would say that some of the easiest ways to make sure that your fiction is “feminist” (or at the very least, not problematic) is to

  • Include diverse characters, which is honestly waaaay easier than people think. Instead of making everyone white/straight, bring in people of different ethnicities/races/genders/sexualities, etc. and just treat them as people. If you’re not sure how to write people with different identities as you, consult people who are of the identities that you plan to write about and allow them to help guide you to a non offensive portrayal (some easy ways to do that are to ask what parts of their identities shape them the most, their speaking mannerisms, how they view the world as opposed to how you view it, etc).
  • Think about the implications/repercussions of certain storylines. For example, do you REALLY have to kill the protagonist’s mother/girlfriend/daughter/female mentor? Fridging women is a cheap tactic to elicit emotion from your reader and I encourage you to explore other ways to evoke sympathy or sadness. In the end, it’ll make your writing stronger since you’re not relying on shock value to pack an emotional punch. 
  • Be careful who you’re vilifying. Is your villain a marginalized identity, or coded that way? Why is that? Is there a real reason for your villain to be coded as a PoC or as a gay person? Or is it just because in your quest to include more diversity, you accidentally gave all the negative traits to the character with the flamboyant style and effeminate voice? Obviously, this isn’t to say that marginalized people can’t ever be cast as villains, but if you only have one PoC in your story and they happen to be the villain, maybe reconsider. 
  • This goes hand in hand with the last point, but stop overly punishing your marginalized characters. With this one, I’m no longer referring to villains, but your protagonists or characters on your protagonist’s side. For example, is your one Black character currently dealing with the death of her brother, a severe injury, emotional trauma from an abusive relationship, recent homelessness, and a sudden deadly disease? If she is, definitely dial it back because you’re unintentionally dumping every negative event on your character of color because you either view her as “strong enough” to handle it (which in itself has racist connotations) or because you don’t see a problem with making her life hell despite no one else having to deal with what she deals with. 

So this is what I have off the top of my head and, of course, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of ways someone could make their work more feminist, but it’s a good place to start, I think.


As for book recs, any I make are probably gonna be for older books since I don’t do a ton of reading anymore (Shame on me, I know). Fair warning, I used to exclusively read (straight) YA romances because I really only had access to mainstream books so if that’s not your cup of tea, then I’m sorry! Alright, here goes:

  • Anything by Sarah Dessen is a win for me because I always like seeing teenage girls be portrayed as real people with real flaws. Because they’re meant to be from the perspective of actual teenagers, they do have their problems: they can be slut shamey, they’re all very white, they’re very hetero, but I really enjoy them. Of her books, though, I’d have to say my favorite is “Just Listen”, which was the first of hers that I ever read. It’s told from the perspective of a rape victim as she tries to navigate her life after her rape and I think it’s a really good portrayal (disclaimer: I am not a rape victim, so if any actual victims who have read it have any other input, I’m glad to hear it!)
  • The D.U.F.F. pretty much carried me through my sophomore year of high school because I had NEVER read a book with a fat protagonist, much less one who we’re made to sympathize with and relate to. Warning, it is SUPER slut shamey (it gets better toward the end, but it spends a lot of time on it) and kinda white feministy but again I will always have a soft spot for it because it was the first time I ever saw a fat girl be portrayed as actually fat but still desirable (by multiple people, too) and that was something that I really needed. Plus it portrays teen sex as a normal, healthy thing but it also touches on using sex as a self harm device. 
  • This has a really different tone from the last two recs but I really liked The Lovely Bones growing up and I think it fits here. It’s about a girl who gets murdered and the story takes place after her death as she watches the people she knew in life try to move on from her murder and deal with it in their own ways. I really appreciate that it’s told from the victim, Susie’s, perspective because any time you have a book covering that subject, you never actually get to know the victim (who is of course usually a woman) and they just become a plot device rather than an actual person. It really turns the fridging women trope on its head because, yes a female character died and we view everyone else’s pain because of it, but we view it from the female character’s eyes so it’s about her pain/struggle more than anything. 
  • There’s also a short story by Toni Morrison that I might have mentioned on this blog a while back called Recitatif that I LOVE. I’ve waxed poetic about my 10/11 grade English teacher here before, but she totally changed my life and the first way she did it was by making me read that story. It’s about two girls growing up in the 20th century. One is black, one is white. But you’re never explicitly told which is which. The whole point is supposed to be that race/race roles are a social construct (which you can imagine blew our 16 year old minds), but yeah definitely check that out. And her other stuff, Toni Morrison is seriously amazing.

Again, this is just off the top of my head, but these are the ones that came to mind when I took a moment to think about the books I used to read. Most of them are far from perfect, but this is where I started, so I figured it might help someone else. 

I hope this was a good response to your question, anon!

Mod Ely 

  • Marianne: *walks up to Bog after a long day and buries her face in his chest*
  • Bog: *pats her back* "Sooooooo, how was yer day?"
  • Marianne: *muffled by his shirt* "Mer sherfy erf burf nerfer cerp der merber kerf feeeeeeeeerf! Mernder gerner seeeeeeerck!"
  • Bog: "Aw, I'm sorry, Tough Girl." *kisses her head* "Thank God it's Friday, right?"
  • Marianne: "Mmmm. Verver gerker ter mer serser fer der berfacur?"
  • Bog: "3:00. It's gonna be fun. I'm lookin' forward to it. Yer sister called earlier to say yer Dad's coming too."
  • Marianne: "Er? Cer. Er ver spers ter berg serfer?"
  • Bog: "Sunny wants us to bring the brisket and yer special coleslaw. I figured you'd be tired after work today, so I already picked up the ingrediants for you."
  • Marianne: "Eeeeeeer, yer der bers, berber. Her cerner erver therk yer?"
  • Bog: "My pleasure. Just promise ye'll wear yer purple string bakini tomorrow and we're even."
  • Marianne: "Her her, derl."
  • Bog: "What do ye wanna do tonight? I ordered Chinese so we wouldn't have to cook."
  • Marianne: "Er verner verch ther ner Verkin Derd."
  • Bog: *chuckles* "I told ye, luv, the new season doesn't air 'til October. Ye'll have to wait."
  • Marianne: "Weeeeeeeeeeeer!"
  • Bog: "I know, I know. It sucks. How about we watch Shaun of the Dead instead?"
  • Marianne: "Erker. Her! Er ermers ferger, derd yer ert der lers perce er rersberrer cherskirk?"
  • Bog: "No, I put it in the red tupperware container so ye could eat it later. It's in the fridge behind the milk."
  • Marianne: "Therk Gerd. Er wers gernner ker yer."
  • Bog: "I know, that's why I didn't touch it. By the way, I also picked up the dry-cleaning, the vet said Thang's fine, we just have to give him this special canned food to help his digestion, and I drew ye a bath so ye could relax until the food gets here."
  • Marianne: "Eeeeeeeeeeeeer mer Gerd, Er werner merk er berber wer yer!"
  • Bog: "Well, the bathtub is big enough fer two, but the delivery guy's gonna be here in less than ten minutes."
  • Marianne: "Er dern't cer. Er cermernd yer ter herv berthterb serx wer mer rert ner!"
  • Bog: *picks her up and starts carrying her up the stairs* "I love when ye boss me around, princess, but unfortunately, this is one order I cannot obey. No matter how much I want to."
  • Marianne: "Neeeeeeeer! Yer ferkern ters. Yer sher ferl mer wrerth, ferrish merterl!"
  • Bog: "That's sounds nice. I'll be waitin' for ye on the couch."
  • Marianne: "Yer berter ber nerkerd!"
  • Bog: "And slathered in sweet 'n sour sauce."
  • Marianne: "Yeeeeeeeeerm."
Late Night Snack

Chimney laid sprawled upon his bed, in a deep, restful sleep. It had been an eventful, exhausting day for him and this night was the only night he was finally allowed to rest.

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