My best-friend, writer Lydia Netzer, weighs in on the latest literary feud: "The 'Best Books Of 2009' Controversy: Maybe Female Writers Just Aren't as Relevant as Men." So provocative that one.
Her post was inspired by this WaPo babble in which some chick-lit author named Julianna Baggott whines, and bellyaches, and tears down the drapes because there weren't enough women on some literary year-end list or the other. Basically, Baggott's point was that we only give credit to books written about manly themes. Like war. And something else that I can't remember. Probably violence. And if you're a lady writer who wants to get ahead, you have to not write about, like, vaginas, and pacifism, and how to bake bread. You have to write like a man. For a while, Baggott did that. Then she gave up and wrote chick lit or something. I am unclear. Whatever Baggott's life choices, they led her to bellyaching about book lists in the WaPo. Good one that.
Anyway, Netzer responds by pointing out with her characteristic endearing bluntness something along the lines of: "Tough titties, honey." Netzer tackles Chick Lit Author's attack of the lady-less list by wondering why the list features not-a-lot-of-women.
"The third possibility is more alarming than the others, because it is the simplest explanation, and therefore the most viable:Ha-ha! That is why I love her. She is never afraid to be an asshole.
3. The list is right. The things that women write about are neither culturally nor historically significant, and the books that women write are not the best books."
"Maybe it's not about writing about 'man themes' but about human themes. Maybe it's not about pandering to the list, but evolving, as a gender, into people who address the important stuff, the big stuff: death, war, sex, adventure, as it pertains to women and men."I, myself, am writing what Baggott would probably deem a "phallocratic" novel. It is nothing if not phallocentric. It is omniphallic, really. It's about a pornographer, it takes place inside of his head, and it is so inherently, relentless, obscenely misogynist that when Netzer read the first page of it, she opened her mouth and said one thing, and it was: "They are going to flay you alive." And by "they" she meant "feminists." Or, you know, "women." Or "people who like women."
Personally, I'd rather write like a man. After all, who would want to write like a woman? Then you'd never end up on a list.