Anita Blake - Hating Women

Reblogged from Crystal Starr Light, Raging Snarky Stormtrooper Pony:

Reprinted from Goodreads:


Anita Blake is often upheld as a great example of a Strong Female Character and her books are sometimes considered Very Feminist to show a strong woman in a male dominated field. I've already discussed why I think Anita is not a SFC; this time I would like to talk about why these books aren't feminist books and about the hatred of women that oozes from the pages.

Ronnie. Cherry. Donna. Meng Dei. Thea. Gretchen. Silvia. Vicki. Catherine. Monica. Tammy. These are just a few of the women that appear in the series. At first glance, they don't seem to have much in common. Catherine and Ronnie were Anita's friends. Cherry is part of the wereleopard pard. Donna is Edward's fiance. Monica marries a vampire. Tammy marries Larry. Gretchen is a woman who flirted with Jean-Claude. Silvia is part of Richard's pack. Vicki forced herself on Jason while she shifted into rotting form and Thea is the wife of a Master of the City.

What is the connection between all these women? What binds them together?

Simple: None of them are as good as Anita Blake.

Anita Blake, our protagonist and the person who shows us the world she lives in through the first person point of view, makes it very clear that none of these women are as good as she is and often makes disparaging comments about them.

Ronnie is a private detective but crumbles under pressure and has trouble firing a gun and defending herself. She devolves into jealous harpy, wanting desperately to have sex with Nathaniel.

Catherine must be saved by Anita in Guilty Pleasures.

Monica works with the vampires to deceive Anita into working for them.

Cherry is a fragile, delicate flower who might dissolve into tears at the slightest touch.

Donna is unable to protect her own children and dissolves into hysterics.

Meng Dei gets upset when one of her men wants to leave her for Anita and/or sleeps around.

Thea, Gretchen, and Vicki use their powers of seduction to get what they want.

Silvia is sexually assaulted/raped and must have Anita enact revenge.

Tammy got pregnant and "coerced" Larry into marrying her. When it comes to her job, she isn't nearly as tough as Anita.

Any woman that is "girly" or "feminine" is shown to be nowhere near as competent as Anita. The only competent woman that gets Anita's respect is Claudia - a woman who is barely distinguishable from a man, with the exception of her physical features.

Anita herself often resembles more of the stereotypical male than female, which makes me wonder occasionally if under different circumstances, she would be a trans-gender male (I think that's how it goes, correct me if I'm wrong). She seems more comfortable with her masculinity than her feminity.

But mostly Anita is sexist. As I said above, anything girly is mocked. Anita critiques a woman for wearing too much makeup, wearing slutty clothes, being "classically feminine" and more.

Anita is also a hypocrite. She demands her men to be monogamous, but when Meng Dei says the same thing, Meng Dei is bad. She has sex with multiple men, but when Ronnie wants that opportunity, Anita insinuates that Ronnie needs therapy, not that maybe Ronnie isn't cut out for a monogamous relationship. If Anita wears makeup and "slutty clothes", it's OK; on another woman, she's a whore.

This thought pattern bugs me. Being a feminist is not making women more like men; it is being who you are, whether you like dresses and makeup or guns and Nikes. Being a feminist is NOT insulting other women for liking different things than you. Being a feminist is NOT being a hypocrite and saying certain things that you do are bad if others do them.

Women can be strong and confident and capable without having to be or act male. Women can wear dresses and wield a gun. Women can wear jeans and sneakers and be fashion designers. Anita Blake's narrow-minded view of acceptable femininity is dangerous and insulting. It's dangerous because once again, we are told the only way to be a "good woman" in a "man's world" is to basically be a man. And it's insulting because people come in way more flavors than Anita's narrow-minded sexism can allow.