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Discussion Starter #1
This probably applies to the women in the forum more (although not necessarily), but have you read a book you really like, but the sexist descriptions make you cringe? I'm currently reading Plum Island (John Corey) by Nelson DeMille. Great detective novel, but could the author really not think of better ways to describe the physical characteristics of the women than "looked like she was smuggling balloons under her bra" and "Nordic-track ass"? I'm no prude--I'm all for sexy dialogue, but gross. That'd be like a female author describing a man as "smuggling a cucumber in his pants." There must be better ways to create sexual tension than this. I appreciate the author trying to create a strong female character, but descriptions like that seem contradictory to his attempt. I suppose the same could be said for romance books that give every man six-pack abs, but I wouldn't know. I don't read those. :)

This is kind of a tongue-in-cheek comment, because I do really like the book. But I wish every woman wasn't described by the sum of her parts in it.
 

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I think he was going for the 'hard boiled detective/noir' style. . . . . . . which is not a style I care for.  I never analyzed why, but that could be part of it.
 

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Ann in Arlington said:
I think he was going for the 'hard boiled detective/noir' style. . . . . . . which is not a style I care for. I never analyzed why, but that could be part of it.
Good point, although the theme and style is pretty contemporary. But maybe I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. ;)
 

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No, I don't think so. I read a book by a KB author that I was really looking forward to, but the sexist language by one of the characters, who I don't think was really supposed to be that kind of character just got to me. I finished the book (I have a hard time not finishing books), but I haven't read any more by that author; even though I have another one of his books.

That being said, I've read books by Nelson DeMille and don't recall it being a problem. And if I thought it was just a character writen as sexist, I think I would be okay with that.

Betsy

Sent from Killashandra,
my Kindle Fire 4G
 

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I don't usually notice sexist language in books unless it's pretty derogatory. Then, if the book is interesting enough, I may keep reading but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Betsy the Quilter said:
And if I thought it was just a character writen as sexist, I think I would be okay with that.

Betsy
That's my hope. The detective has a good-sized ego and is a major smart aleck, so I'm hoping the author will have him 'grow' a bit in his attitude towards his female partner. If not, and that's just the way this author writes (though I think it was one of his earlier works), I'm not sure I'll read more of him. Too much other good stuff out there that doesn't make me roll my eyes.
 

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history_lover said:
Doesn't sound so much sexist to me as just poorly written.
Haha--that may very well be the case!
 

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Carrie Rubin said:
That's my hope. The detective has a good-sized ego and is a major smart aleck, so I'm hoping the author will have him 'grow' a bit in his attitude towards his female partner. If not, and that's just the way this author writes (though I think it was one of his earlier works), I'm not sure I'll read more of him. Too much other good stuff out there that doesn't make me roll my eyes.
In the book I read, also with a sexist detective, it seemed that was just going to be the character's personality, and ultimately I decided I didn't like the character enough to continue with the series. But perhaps I wasn't the author's target audience. ;)

Betsy
 

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It will sometimes look crossing all limits..I agree
 

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I think there is a vast difference between sexist language used in a narrative style by the author to describe female characters and sexism pertaining to a character's viewpoint. A sexist character may be necessary to drive home a point or fulfill a role in the story. Sexism exists and can make a character fit the necessary mold. If a writer simply is sexist in their portrayal of women overall, I can see why that would be a hindrance to a reader and would understand many people not wanting to finish the book.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thedavebright said:
I think there is a vast difference between sexist language used in a narrative style by the author to describe female characters and sexism pertaining to a character's viewpoint. A sexist character may be necessary to drive home a point or fulfill a role in the story. Sexism exists and can make a character fit the necessary mold. If a writer simply is sexist in their portrayal of women overall, I can see why that would be a hindrance to a reader and would understand many people not wanting to finish the book.
Agreed. Well said. I'll have to come back when I've finished the book to report which case this happens to be. :)
 

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thedavebright said:
I think there is a vast difference between sexist language used in a narrative style by the author to describe female characters and sexism pertaining to a character's viewpoint. A sexist character may be necessary to drive home a point or fulfill a role in the story. Sexism exists and can make a character fit the necessary mold. If a writer simply is sexist in their portrayal of women overall, I can see why that would be a hindrance to a reader and would understand many people not wanting to finish the book.
I agree completely. But if a main character in a series is habitually sexist (or any other kind of "ist"), while it might be true to the character, it's not someone I'm going to want to root for consistently and so I likely won't read more in a series. I'll finish the book to see if there is any character growth, but that will probably be it. I typically finish books once I start them. (Except non-fiction; I tend to put them down and pick them up again at some future date and read in chunks.)

Betsy
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
I agree completely. But if a main character in a series is habitually sexist (or any other kind of "ist"), while it might be true to the character, it's not someone I'm going to want to root for consistently and so I likely won't read more in a series. I'll finish the book to see if there is any character growth, but that will probably be it. I typically finish books once I start them. (Except non-fiction; I tend to put them down and pick them up again at some future date and read in chunks.)

Betsy
Agreed - a sexist character doesn't necessarily make the author sexist but if that character is supposed to be a protagonist, I probably won't retain interest unless it's done in a very comical way. Like the TV show "House" - a protagonist can be a jerk and still be likable but it has to be done well (usually with humor) and few writers can pull it off.
 

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history_lover said:
Agreed - a sexist character doesn't necessarily make the author sexist but if that character is supposed to be a protagonist, I probably won't retain interest unless it's done in a very comical way. Like the TV show "House" - a protagonist can be a jerk and still be likable but it has to be done well (usually with humor) and few writers can pull it off.
Exactly. The reason House worked was because his character was very complex and the underlying layers made you realize that there was far more to him than his jerk-ness. Well-written, well-acted.

Betsy
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
Exactly. The reason House worked was because his character was very complex and the underlying layers made you realize that there was far more to him than his jerk-ness. Well-written, well-acted.

Betsy
I think there was also always the hope -- sometimes pretty faint -- that he might eventually get that he was a jerk.
 

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history_lover said:
Doesn't sound so much sexist to me as just poorly written.
I agree. When I read "looked like she was smuggling balloons under her bra" I think "What are you, eight years old?"

With the old hard-boiled detectives, they would use phrases like "She head legs that just wouldn't stop". It works - provided you don't think about it to hard. What, was someone expecting the legs to stop partway up? they have to connect to the torso sooner or later.
 
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