here is my to-read pile. The books on the far left are books I'm currently reading off and on; the books in the stack next to it are books I've read (that for whatever reason I've not yet found a permanent home for; actually I might be giving most of them away here in the future); and the books on the right two stacks are books I've still to-read.
But I need to say this, for myself. And I say it with as much belief and force and vehemence as I have ever said anything in my life.
Watchman is the most appallingly misogynist book I have ever read.
( A fuckload of spoilers and anger and hurt and pain follow behind the cut.Collapse )
I did have a reaction, a very strong, still-abiding, and gutwrenching reaction of horror, to Watchmen. But it wasn't a reaction to the thing you wanted me to react to.
And right now, I feel, very strongly, that the glorification of this story hurts women. And I'm not saying that everyone should agree with me; but I would ask, very earnestly, as someone who is still hurting, that when you talk about Watchmen, you also acknowledge the misogyny. That it's there, and that it's a mine field, and it's potentially hurtful, potentially regressive - because it is. (And let's not get into the fact that this is a book written by men for men, and who picks and chooses what is considered excellent among the comic genre? certainly not women.) I realize that there's probably been 20 years of critical analysis of the misogyny in Watchmen that I've missed before this, and this may be old news to most people. But that doesn't mean that the importance of talking about it, given what is essentially an entirely new audience for the book, goes away: and I know that I'm not the only one who has read this novel and felt this level of deep repulsion and hurt.
So please, please, while we're talking about how great it is, can we also talk about the women?
I welcome discussion about this; I welcome everyone, especially women, to respond and tell me why they love Watchmen. But I retain the right to disagree, because this one, for me, was not about disagreeing with the technical brilliance or the structure or the coolness or the multi-media aspect or the wry humor or the badassness of Rorschach (loved and rooted for him the way I was supposed to, pretty much, and somewhere inside me there's a whole essay comparing him to L and comparing Watchmen to Death Note), the three-dimensional characterization (although, actually, there's a whole other watchmen rant somewhere inside me about how "three-dimensional characterization" necessarily equates to "this character is unexpectedly violent and willing to kill people," because isn't that just such a cheap male-dominated way of pasting characterization onto a plot in the name of building a dystopia, at the expense of allowing other alternative narratives, maybe female-proposed alternatives, to live in their place).
But please don't tell me that I'm wrong. You are free to tell me that there's more to Watchmen than this, that I'm missing other extenuating pieces of the narrative, and I will listen. But there are a hundred ways Alan Moore could have told this story without enacting this much violence and loss of status upon every female character in sight. I am not okay with that, and I shouldn't have to be.