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Male YA author apologizes for his book’s lack of women–so female YA author calls him “sexist”

March 13, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Do not cross this woman even inadvertently–or you’ll be denounced as “shameful”

Ryan interviewed Smith:

“On the flip side, it sometimes seems like there isn’t much of a way into your books for female readers. Where are all the women in your work?”
“I was raised in a family with four boys, and I absolutely did not know anything about girls at all. I have a daughter now; she’s 17. When she was born, that was the first girl I ever had in my life. I consider myself completely ignorant to all things woman and female. I’m trying to be better though.”

Uh-oh!

Self-proclaimed “feminist” YA fantasy-novelist Tessa Gratton flew into high denunciation mode.

“Disregarding the obvious logical problems with such an answer – that I hope was meant facetiously – the broader context of, well everything, but especially literature and YA literature puts this answer so firmly in the category of outrageously sexist it’s hard for me to see how anybody could interpret it differently.

“The interpretation is that women are less than human, or at the very least, inherently different from men. That is one of the oldest sexist arguments in the entire world. 

“The fact that he thought it was an ok answer regardless of humor proves the culture of overt sexism that pervades YA and broader literature. Andrew Smith is an acclaimed author. He is held up as a great writer, and represents us – our community. It is unacceptable that he be allowed to say this kind of thing without consequences.

I”’m not asking for boycotts or apologies, I’m asking that we keep talking about this, keep pointing it out, keep making it shameful and at least annoying to say things like this.”

Memo to men: Don’t even try to please a feminist. They don’t like you.

Posted by Charlotte Allen
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2 Comments
  1. I thought this answer was the best: http://booksandbellies.tumblr.com/post/113411405180/andrew-smith-and-sexism You can write an alien any way you want, but writing people is different. If you write someone from a group you don’t know that well, you might get it wrong and they’ll call it “mansplaining”.

  2. Days of Broken Arrows permalink

    Why do men need to be “inclusive” with their books, anyway? Why can’t they just say “This is a book by a guy for guys. If you want a woman’s book, write one.” Art ceases to exist when you have politics calling the shots about what it can say.

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