Saturday, August 28, 2010

Franzenfreude, gender and I perchance get booted from teamvagina...

Alrighty then. I've been following this "Franzenfreude" craze that seems to be hitting Twitter lately, and I have to say that after some time of silent observation, article reading and reflection, I have now formed an opinion. That being said, it's probably not going to be a popular one among my own sex. But I really don't care about being on #teamvagina just because I have one. I care about going with my gut. And so: here I go.

Jonathan Franzen, author of the upcoming novel, Freedom, got reviewed in the New York Times, and for some reason (and the only I can pinpoint right now is 1.) a seeming lack of equal coverage for female authors in the Times and 2.) plain old green eyed monster) Jennifer Weiner decided to start telling the Twitterverse and NPR about how women authors don't get adequate coverage in the Times, and also insulted Franzen on a personal level in her tweets.

*notices strange bitter taste in mouth, frowns*

In all fairness Jennifer's works have had nods in the Times. She's published eight books and had one made into a major motion picture. Franzen is now publishing number 4, his last one being 8 years ago. So who gets more attention to their works? Well as a newb to the arena, I've heard a lot more about her works than his. (Let it be said here, that I've read neither author. My wandering mind takes me all over the place as far as my book choices, and I haven't stumbled upon either of them yet. But typically I don't go for stories purely about modern relationships and dynamics and so on. I'm more of a fantasy/mystery/thriller/historical fiction/MG/YA/classics kind of reader. The so called "chick lit" category doesn't tickle my fancy.)

Neither does Oprah. Despite popular stereotypes, not all women like to watch Oprah, or any talk show or soap opera for that matter, and so we don't. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I'd much rather watch reruns of Star Trek and the Science Channel before I watch outlandish drama or talky talkerton shows. It's just not my thing. Maybe I'm a tomboy, but I could care less what category others would put me in because I am who I am, and I like me. For example, I think high heels suck and avoid them as much as possible. I hate girly catfight drama, especially when it involves women I know. Why? Because I always get stuck in the middle pulling their claws out of each other; and the only one to use the logical part of my brain to repair said feline damage. I also don't enjoy bon bons, and I can't stand going to the mall. I do however hate beer, and the seemingly innate ability all men have to listen selectively. The point is, not all women are the same or necessarily like girly stuff.

And so Jennifer, and also Jodi Picoult, make a case for "chick lit" not being taken seriously, and fiction written by men on the other hand, is, simply because of their own plumbing. Doesn't it all come down to your fans and who your agent/publicist knows? And what genre of books people like to read? If they like stories about modern relationships and drama and such with a strong female lead, then they shall read those so called "chick lit" books. And that's cool. If they like dystopian thrillers or horror, then they shall seek out books by authors who write such stories. I mean do we need to create a sub-genre of fiction for books written by men about relationships and call it "dick lit"? I think not, although that's pretty funny. The term chick lit is pretty apathetic as well and I'm not too sure why it's used so frequently.

What I'm saying, and my perspective on this, is why does it matter?? Write to write, and get your stories out there. Share with the world what you've got inside you, and if we likey, we readey. No likey, no readey. Simple as that, and I frankly am tired of the ultra feminist stand against men, who get bashed into the corner cowering, wondering what the hell they did and if it requires the purchase of flowers to correct. C'mon, can we show a little love to our guys? Can we stop taking every opportunity to scold them into the naughty chair for simply having a penis? Because really it goes both ways, if you claim sexism for a dude's work getting more attention than yours because you're a chick, then you are in effect, playing the "sexist" card as well. So put that in your pipe and smoke on it for a minute. Once reflectively stoned on the thought, think about how each other, regardless of gender, is a fellow author and human, and each deserves his or her chance at publication if they've written their hineys off. I call that "buttless lit".

My point, dear readers, is that what the heck does it matter what gender one is when publishing their book? Why come down on another author because their book got more attention pre-release than yours? Shouldn't that equate to your agent/publicist getting you in the press, or not, more than what's between your legs? It is after all, all about who you know. Trust me, the #greatjobhunt2010 has taught me a lot about that. Network, people, network. And you know if you've written something great, your work will speak for itself. Enough said.

And thus I am done and have now been disqualified from #teamvagina.

*takes birthing trophies, storms out the door*

C'est la vie, #teamhumanFTW

Peace!

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