5 Reasons I DNFd Books in 2017

Dear Authors,

These things you did sucked:

  1. You gave an ‘other woman’ character big boobs and had your heroine automatically assume she is a ‘bimbo’. You know what? I have big boobs and I have been shamed in this way for having them ALL MY LIFE. Being shamed by women for the attention you get from men is almost as bad as the attention you get from men in the first place (which trust me is UN-FUCKING-WANTED). A larger chest does not equal a smaller brain and if you write secondary characters this way you will PISS PEOPLE OFF and continue perpetuating stereotypes about women (aka, you’re part of the problem so self examine a little and DO BETTER FFS). Same goes, FYI, for blonde hair and long fingernails, fashion conscious women who wear make up, women who know how to flirt, etc. These attributes on their own do not make that character a slut/bimbo/bitch. Don’t SHORTCUT by using stereotypes. DNF.

    To the garbage with you!

  2. You used specific weight measurements in a book that is not about weight loss. It was a comedy, supposedly, about a woman  who is complaining about how FAT she is and comparing herself to zoo animals like ELEPHANTS and feeling self-disgust at her grotesque reflection in the mirror. Hey, we’ve all been there at different times, so while it was way harsh I thought, ok I guess. But then you went and had the character lament that 5KG SHE HAD TO LOSE. Yep, 5kg over standard weight was so monstrous that you thought it acceptable to have the heroine self-berate in this way. Anyone who has more than 5kg to lose and is doing their best to still love themselves and their body will, I think, be with me when I say FUCK YOU. DNF.
  3. You were boring. I’m sorry. I could just tell by page 30 you weren’t going to take me anywhere new or draw me in with your prose. I don’t know how you’d fix that other than, maybe, just pick up the pace. But anyhow. I’ve had reviewers say they thought my book was boring too, so…sympathies. Nobody’s perfect. But life’s short, so DNF.
  4. Your stuff was dated. No fault of yours, but so much has happened since 2014, when you apparently thought we were on the cusp of a revolution where a woman would be in the Whitehouse and men would have to take stock of themselves and give up some of their ill-gotten power. And then DT was elected and it all just went to shit for women, and the movement you were talking about starting wasn’t happening yet and your 2014 optimism just made me so sad. For all of us (but I think the movement is finally starting now, it’s a backlash of epic proportions, bigger than the one you thought was coming in 2016. Hold that thought). DNF, holdover for the real revolution.
  5. Get outta my book, internalized misogyny!

    Oh, dear, dear author. You were perhaps my least favourite author of the year, sort of like Blake Shelton is my least favourite sexiest man of the year, ever. You, misguided one, had your hero call the heroine a whore. Also a little slut, and a bitch. All this because she slept with him without telling him exactly who she was, and later when he found out who she was he realised she was someone he would rather not have slept with (because her father will kill him or some paternalistic BS like that). The correct response to this is ‘Oh my God, why didn’t you tell me?’, or ‘I can’t believe women’s faces are so invisible to me that I didn’t recognise you!’ (yes they had met before but not for a decade. I’m sorry, but a woman just doesn’t become unrecognisable between her teens and her twenties, unless she’s had major reconstructive surgery or is wearing a mardi gras mask). Also ‘I really have to stop sleeping with women I just met this is at least 50% my fault!’, would have been welcome. But alas. Poor heroine bears not some but ALL of the responsibility for the hero’s mistake, which is classic victim blaming. You then had this ‘hero’ physically manhandle the heroine by PUSHING HER OUT OF HIS APARTMENT, where they had just had sex, and yell at her as she stood on the street trying not to cry, because for some reason this poor woman was IN LOVE WITH THIS MONSTER, and your hero’s inability to see what was so obvious made him stupid, and his cruelty in the face of her pain made him an abusive jerk, and there is NOT ENOUGH GROVELING IN THE WORLD that would make me forgive this prick for these transgressions. D-N-FUCKING-F because your book HATES WOMEN. Your book is misogynistic tripe and I would like to burn it with fire.

    So. That’s it. My 2c, for what it’s worth. My pet peeves, the things that I used to roll my eyes at or kinda-sorta accept that will now have me RAGING INTO THE INTERWEBS like a wild banshee, for which I will not apologise. Why? because, other than one example, these were all romance novels. A genre I still consider mine. A genre, when it does things right, has the power to heal our collective wounds. A genre that still, sadly, gets things so very, frustratingly wrong a LOT OF THE TIME (let’s not deny that these kinds of issues are prevalent: these kinds of books are not weird outliers, they lay well within the bell curve of books released by both established and new authors, by older and younger authors). We as a genre of (mostly) WOMEN writing stories ABOUT WOMEN have surely got to do better than this. Let’s get the internalised misogyny, body shaming and self-loathing based on superficial things like looks, out of our books.

Because we must be the revolution, you see. No body else will revolt for us.


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