Positive Female Role Models


Now that I have dissed on one of the feminist book of 2016  here, what are the alternative? What are the positive (female) role models I would recommend? These recommendations are not for females alone, it is for all genders.

Note – To be honest, I am unable to offer resources for people of all genders (like trans) or all sexualities because I have limited time and can only consume a certain amount of media (in terms of books, movies, blogs, and TV) and I will look for relevant resources should the need arise in my life.

Books

  1. Zita the Spacegirl series
  2. Delilah Dirk Series
  3. Giant Days series
  4. D.I Kim by Angela Marsons – Well, women have their demons too but smart, strong women for the go.
  5. Amy Stewart’s Kopp Sisters series –  I loved this one.

TV Series

Many of the shows I watch have excellent strong female role models (I am surprised as I thought of it for this article because I wasn’t analyzing it when I was watching them that way).

The Arrow – Felicity, Thea, Sarah & Laurel Lance, the villains – all smart, intelligent, funny, amazing women and some are lesbians/bisexual.

DC Legends of Tomorrow – Sarah Lance is a lesbian leader of the group. She is smart, strong and an excellent warrior.

SuperGirl – The main characters are strong women. There are coming out scenes and same gender relationships.

The Flash – Again, no shortage of strong, intelligent women with healthy relationships. There are 2 interracial relationships at the moment now. The women are strong, decisive, intelligent and give great advice.

Ash Vs. Evil Dead – Strong women. They are smarter than men actually.

Lucifer – Again, the women are strong with a better moral compass and all of this without hating.

Now that I think of it, there are so many healthy role models around. We don’t really need a book spewing hatred to teach feminism.

One Hundred Nights of Hate


I read this book – The One Hundred Nights of Hero (Early Earth) which has been highly acclaimed and suggested as the perfect gift for daughters for introducing feminism – One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenburg. This has been hailed as one of the best graphic novels in 2016 and has a 4.5 stars rating on Goodreads. To me, this is not feminism. This is more like a book written from the viewpoint of a man-hating lesbian.

The art work was okay. The stories were not that engaging. I was not dying to finish the book but I read them only because of Uncle’s critique of the book and he wanted me to judge for myself. Honestly, the book did not touch me.  The book is more of a reimagination of the creation story and Arabian nights.

My Critique of the Book

  1. The blurb on the back says that this is a book about love but the overall theme in the book was pure hate. I was surprised at the amount of hate emanating from this book.
  2. The entire book was about men vs. women. No cooperation. No kindness. I am not sure how we can spread feminism if we make an entire section of the society unwanted and unwilling to support feminism.
  3. The book perpetuates stereotypes of  women as dumb, naive, petty and mean falling for the first man who is nice to them. How is this even empowering?
  4. The book goes on and on about sisterhood. From my life experience, sisterhood exists but we cannot make an assumption that all women look out for each other. They are equally capable of betrayal and leave you in the lurch as much as any other gender.
  5. Open agenda against one gender.One hundred nights go hero
  6. The author’s attitude. When people critique her book as man hating, she uses it as an example and an extension of the men in her book on how they control women and lock them up and don’t let them read books.Isabel Greenberg Response to critique
  7. According to this book, the only true love is lesbian love.
  8. No healthy heterosexual relationships in this book.
  9. All the men in our lives are vile creatures according to this book

Do I really want my daughter to see the world this way? I will not prevent my kid from reading this book but I will not be gifting it to anyone. Instead I would love to discuss with my kid on how this is not okay. If an entire book were written stereotyping women and showcasing them as an evil gender today, it would not be acceptable (though there are several examples in history). Similarly, a hateful book about any other gender is also not acceptable. This is 2017 not 1373. If an agenda against homosexuals/bisexuals is not okay, then an agenda against heterosexuals is also not okay.

Sadly, books in favour of traditionally oppressed groups putting down and blaming the dominant group have been bestsellers and really popular. The popularity of this book reminded me of Susan Cain’s book – Quiet which blames extroverts for everything from the recession to wars and how superior introverts are. Something like this book.

Feminism does not mean hating other genders or blaming them for all the world’s problems. Instead, I would call this ‘placing women on a pedestal‘ syndrome wherein we start believing that the root of all evil is men and that women are incapable of any wrong. The truth is the world would not necessarily have been a better place had women been in charge because we are all humans and there are good, bad, ugly, mean, selfish, nasty, wicked people irrespective of gender.

On Goodreads


I was facing a reading drought in 2014. I was reading more non-fiction than before but was at a loss on what to read in fiction. Every time we were at the library, I would go through the fiction section and did not know what to borrow and ended up choosing the same old authors – Nicholas Sparks and Janet Evanovich or pick nothing. I was getting tired of them and wanted to expand my reading repertoire. Choosing non-fiction was relatively easier: just go to a particular section like health and check out whatever looked interesting. But then, I wanted to go beyond certain topics in non-fiction too.

That’s when, I saw ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette‘ by Maria Semple recommended on a blog (A cup of Jo) and picked it up from the library and I loved it! What’s more, I had been to Seattle and knew the places and things the author was referring to. I still remember this because this was when my reading changed dramatically.

After this book,  I decided to look for other recommendations on blogs, Goodreads and started filing books for my future reading.  I tried to have a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. Having this ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads really made my life easier and organized. I knew what books to look for in the library and I started borrowing more because I did not have to spend time in indecision every time we were in the library. I just went through my list and checked what was available. Later on, I started noting down the catalogue number of the library of the books and availability even before I visited the library to be more efficient.

This one change increased the number of books I read dramatically. In 2014, I read 15 books of which 6 were fiction and I didn’t like some of them. In contrast, I read 6 times more in 2015, 50% of which were fiction. All because I had a list and was more organized. Of course, one does not need Goodreads to organize their books but I like it.

Some people may see list making as a chore but I love it and feel it contributes to my life significantly and I am so glad to have my lists.

*This is not a sponsored post and is my personal experience. 

On Gone Girl – 2


Contains spoilers.

From the time I was freaked out by the movie ‘Gone Girl‘ and decided against reading the book, I read 2 other novels by Gillian Flynn. As I liked her work, I decided to read Gone Girl but I couldn’t find a good edition in the library. I mostly came across those tiny print books and not the larger hardcover edition for the last few months. The moment I saw the hardcover edition, I picked it up.

So, have my opinions changed since I last wrote about it?

Not really.

For starters, I have become fairly familiar (and not too shocked) with psychopathic characters and their behaviour as I read other novels with similar characters and read other books by Gillian Flynn.

I found the book a bit slow in the first 120 pages and then it was terse and great. I do wish I had read the book before the movie and it is quite rare that I have watched a movie before the book. I have to admit that I would not have seen it coming the way I could in the movie.

I felt the book overall, had an undercurrent of hatred running through it.

  • Nick and his dad – Seem to hate women
  • Amy – Seems to hate her parents and Nick and men and has contempt for everyone.

I liked how the book explored additional things like how Nick felt when Amy came back, thoughts running through their minds and the additional people Amy had harmed. One thing I could not get, was how 2 psychologists could not see the psychopathic tendencies of their own daughter. Also, I felt Nick should have walked away citing (publicly) that he was not good enough for Amazing Amy, the moment, he found and destroyed her vomit jar and not have informed her that he threw it away. His reasons for staying pre-baby seem unsatisfactory to me.

This book paints a very depressing and creepy picture of Missouri.

Did I feel it was a portrait of a marriage after reading the book?

Not at all.

The section that seemed like a commentary on marriage was the first part with Amy’s diary entries but clearly it was engineered and written by a psychopath after studying people and other media (books, movies etc.). Psychopaths are great at studying others and make it seem like they get it but they really don’t and they can be highly intelligent and never get caught for all their lives. These mundane things like normal relationships bore them. They love playing and challenging people, both of which Amy did. I think it is pointless to try to understand the mentality of a psychopath because we never can. They are great at manipulating by mixing what triggers us at the raw emotional level with what they want. At the time of the book, Amy wanted a perfect marriage.

  • Amy pretends to be a ‘cool girl.’
  • Then, some guy (Nick) likes her.
  • Nick with a huge need for approval from everyone was also pretending to be this likeable guy .
  • All seems normal till now because many people are pretending while dating.
  • However, she is a perfectionist and has contempt for every human fallibility (another psychopathic tendency).
  • Everyone and everything has to be perfect.
  • They stop pretending after marriage.
  • She fills with hate when she realises that he doesn’t like her the way she is and when he is not perfect either.
  • Of course, the guy is a total douche bag and deserves to be dumped.
  • She plans for an entire year and works hard to frame him for murder.
  • He plays her and makes her come back.
  • He is shit scared of her.
  • He stays because he can’t settle for the normal girl anymore.
  • She gets pregnant by her own scheming.
  • He stays to protect the baby.

If marriage with a psychopath and a crazy jerk is the portrait of a marriage, then Gillian Flynn’s other books should equally freak us out about trusting our own parents and siblings. So, should Angela Marsons’s books. Because, everybody is out to kill you by that token.

Was this book feminist or misogynistic (one of the critiques to the author)?

Neither. Nick’s dad was misogynistic. Nick was afraid of turning into him. Amy zooms in on everything that can go wrong in marriages and wants her marriage to be perfect. Additionally, she goes on ‘feminist’ rants when men seem to like the woman she pretends to be and not what she really truly is and how she has to pretend. To me, this comes of as this man-hating anger and full of resentment and not really feminism. Amy has contempt for everything that is not perfect, so there’s nothing surprising there.

It also makes me wonder how when a guy is a psychopath, he is just a psychopath. When a woman is a psychopath, she becomes a representative of all crazy bitches women and cannot be just viewed as a psychopath.

 

What I’m Into – May + June 2016


Books

You can follow me on Goodreads here. Books I really enjoyed reading in the last 2 months are:

  1. Habits of a Happy Brain – Interesting take on modern Neurobiology and helped me connect several of my ideas.
  2. Reclaiming Conversation – I thought this book would be boring but  I liked it a lot! It is about talking in today’s age of emails and avoiding face-to-face conversations
  3. Gut – I really liked this. I miss scientific books put in a fun way. I got so many ideas from reading this.
  4. A man called Ove 
  5. D.I Kim Stone Series – I really loved this and can’t wait to read book #3

TV Series

  1. Game of Thrones – This week’s episode was one of the best this season!
  2. Full House – I love it!

Movies

  1. The Conjuring 2 – Was a good horror movie

It is summer time and I have lots of books to read. So, I have cut down on my movies and TV series!

How To Take Care of Books


Updated on June 8, 2016

Dear Book Readers,

Try as I might, I cannot forget the trauma I endured today, when I was reading a book and feel the urge to say this for the common good of mankind and all library users.

DO NOT pick your nose and stick the boogey with your thick black nose hairs on the pages of the book. Doing it even on a page is not okay but doing that on every page from page 15 to 60 is unacceptable. Makes me wonder, how hairy your nose is!

Pointers on how to take care of a book

  1. Do not pick your nose while reading a book.
  2. If you do, wash your hands.
  3. Stick the hair and boogey in a tissue and wash your hands.
  4. Do not stick the boogey with hairs onto every page you read. A book is not the place to stick your nose hair you plucked with your fingers.
  5. If  you do, clean the shit up! With alcohol. Just don’t do it, please.
  6. If you want, do this with your own books not borrowed library books. Because nobody wants to discover your hair stuck on every page for 2 chapters.

Besides, the book was meant for medical students and people with advanced science degrees, not 3 year old kids. God help me, if you are a doctor.

P.S: I cannot bring myself to read the book now but I diligently cleaned the pages with a sanitizer. Don’t ask me why.

Updates: I went to the library and showed the book to the librarian. I had missed out on cleaning 3 pages which was good because I could show the librarian the condition of the book. I told them to create some educational poster telling people not to do that! Phew!

What I’m into – April 2016


A summary of media I am taking in.

Books

You can follow me on Goodreads here.

Books I really enjoyed in the last 2 months include:

  1. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
  2. Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
  3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein

TV Series

  1. The Night Manager – I really enjoyed this short series and thought the lead actor was great (He played Loki in the Avengers).
  2. Quantico – I wouldn’t really recommend this. It is like they thought of extending the series after a few episodes and came up with a botched up story line with unbelievable twists.
  3. 11.22.63 – Started out great, fizzled out in the middle and the ending was better. Could have done with fewer episodes. Not bad overall.
  4. Game of Thrones – It is back and I am glad because I love it. I want to binge watch all the episodes and all the future seasons at a go now but I can’t bear waiting till all the episodes play.
  5. Fuller House – Full on nostalgia factor here. I felt it was above average.

Movies

  1. Kung Fu Panda 3 – It had its funny moments and I liked it.
  2. Captain America – Civil War –  I felt it was definitely better than the previous Avengers movie-Age of Ultron but slightly less great than the previous Cap movie. It is humor and heart and I cared about the characters. Some scenes were great but there were moments the camera spun too fast.