Why I’m not writing feminist novels

So, this girl wrote a blogpost about how to write a feminist young adult novel that sparked some controversy. I’m going to stir the pot a bit with my own personal oar.

I pretty much didn’t mind the first 3/4ths of her article. She was wrestling with some characters in her book, trying to make them strong women and such. Since I don’t actually know any weak women, I don’t have a problem with strong women.

It was when she got to the sexual revolution that my Disagreement Light started flashing. This is just about the only part of the section that didn’t have dirty language in it.

Everybody hopes their “first time” will be meaningful and special and, like, doing it on a cloud without getting pregnant or herpes, but if it isn’t like that-barring major trauma or violation—it doesn’t matter. You aren’t tainted. You aren’t cheap. It hasn’t spoiled everything. And if he doesn’t respect you in the morning, that’s his problem. When it comes to sex, the only thing—literally, the only thing—that matters is that you respect yourself.

But we already know this. What we have to do is somehow pass this not-so-secret knowledge onto the girls who may not realize it yet (although I sometimes worry it will take forty years of wandering in the desert, until there arises a generation who hath not known Twilight).

That kind of “pat ’em on the back, free love is all right” kind of attitude sets my teeth on edge. Fortunately, Dave Farland already said it far better than I can, talking about Robert Heinlein:

Robert Heinlein was a fine entertainer. He sounded a clear call. Yet in his books, Heinlein preached “free love” long before the idea took hold nationally in the 1960s. In fact, I suspect that his works helped spur the sexual revolution. He spoke of pedophilia in a somewhat encouraging tone, and professed that if a child happened to be born from a casual union, it should be left to the care of those who could be bothered to nurture children.

Now, there are excellent reasons why cultural norms across every society in the world have long countered Heinlein’s reasoning.

Heinlein didn’t take into account the dangers of what he promoted. He doesn’t discuss the risks of catching STDs such as AIDS. It’s a terrible disease. I have one old friend who is ill with it now. If dying from the disease wasn’t bad enough, he once confided that he spread it to several lovers, who have all since passed away. I can’t imagine bearing that kind of guilt. I’ve noticed over and over again how men who give into promiscuity become distant with their spouses, families, and friends. They seem unable to bond—as if by making love with many, they become unable to love anyone deeply. Heaven help any children that are born from such unions. They may lose a parent before they were ever born.

If you can’t tell, I don’t think much of writers who champion hedonism. Heinlein was a moral idiot. He was a fine entertainer. He sounded a clear call. But his reasoning was faulty.

When moral idiots write books containing moral idiocy, we wind up with fine books like the one Kat Heckenbach reviewed here. It’s about a teen who drinks, smokes, does drugs, and sleeps around, and never experiences any consequences. At the end of the book, the reader is left with the idea that doing all these things is a viable way of having fun and none of it will hurt you.

That’s sheer fantasy on the author’s part. Wishful thinking, pie-in-the-sky, castle-in-the-clouds moral idiocy.

So my books are not feminist. I have strong female characters, because like I said, I don’t actually know any weak women. But sex is not free and my characters are smart enough to know it. Love is hard work.

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9 thoughts on “Why I’m not writing feminist novels

  1. This, like so many of your critically written blog posts as of late, is brilliantly written.

    Feminists have, unfortunately, a terrible reputation, especially among writers, academics and scholars, mainly because of extremists like this. Extreme feminists are the ones that come to the forefront with their wild, usually anti-men theories and ideals. These are the kinds of feminists who are lesbians simply because they do not like men. They are just as sexist as the men who made them feminist in the first place.

    These extreme feminists do have… interesting views on sex. But sex is not for the woman alone. It’s for BOTH partners, and ideally, partners that start out and remain mutually exclusive. Your first time should be wonderful and without the threat of AIDS, pregnancy or herpes SIMPLY BECAUSE the person you’re with is your partner for life and, like you, is also a virgin. If you don’t have these factors, it’s never going to be right.

    It’s a shame that we, who like strong women, can’t be considered feminist because of the negative connotations that come with it. But then again, we as Christians face the same issues. But that’s another blog post.

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  2. You know, I have a lot of reasons to hate Twilight, but the fact that it encourages girls to wait when it comes to having sex is NOT one of them. True, IF they take that step too soon and it’s not all swoony and “doing it on a cloud” they shouldn’t spend the rest of their lives riddled with guilt over it. BUT, how about show them that the reason it’s not all swoony and cloudy is that it’s RISKY. That there is danger there, and they need to take responsibility for their actions and their bodies. That’s a true feminist. Not someone who thinks it’s okay for her to sleep around, but someone who believes that as a woman she has the right and responsibility to take care of herself, and a right to say NO.

    (And thanks for the shout-out!)

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  3. *cheers* No matter how you feel about it, I think moving has been good for you because your brain seems to have turned back on. Excellent post! I think there is a big difference between “strong woman” and just plain slut. Using the excuse of “I am a strong and independent woman” as a means to justify sleeping around is just another piece of what’s wrong with society, and why we are going downhill fast. It also drives me up the wall when I see women walking around like they should be getting paid for their bodies, but then get mad at the men who treat them like prostitutes. Really?

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  4. I’m a female that’s not a feminist. I wonder what that makes me >>

    How about I become a masculinist (apparently there are male feminists) and champion men’s rights to not be downtrodden and disrespected? Forced to bury their true thoughts/emotions under oppressive machismo? Be honorable fathers and leaders and not be feminized by society or belittled by wives who think they’re their moms?

    Save the males! *waves flag*

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  5. Yeah, basically she tries to say your “sexual status” doesn’t define you, then turns right back around and uses it as something women should be proud of. Frankly, if you don’t think it matters, it doesn’t matter to you.

    Baz- Ha!

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  6. *cackle*

    Feel free to join of course. Get enough heads and we’ll make it *official*

    I’ll never forget those insipid feminist articles I read in college saying the same messed up garbage Kessie described. Act like a prostitute and feel powerful then turn around and yell about being objectified, …seriously WTH. No wonder some of my male friends don’t want American/Western women (no offense to you lovely exceptions).

    I remember in my sociology of gender class, they said we have 5 genders. I stopped listening after that. I don’t know why I didn’t get my money back.

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  7. Both the hedonist’s and the traditional Evangelical’s views on sex are both patently absurd and unrealistic. Neither live in the real world.

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