Cards on the table: I had never heard of Joel Stein until five minutes ago. Nonetheless, having just read his oh-so-condescending op-ed for the NY Times on why, in his estimation, adults shouldn’t read YA, I feel qualified to make the above assertion.
Why a sexist ass, you ask, instead of just the regular kind? Because certainly, his regular assishness isn’t in doubt. After all, any adult who’ll personally vouch for the suckiness of an activity he refuses to try on the grounds of having intuited said suckiness from afar - much like a toddler declaring his undying hatred for unfamiliar vegetables - is clearly deserving of intellectual mockery. But where in that is the sexism?
By way of answer, allow me to compare Joel’s opening paragraph -
The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.
with his last:
Let’s have the decency to let tween girls have their own little world of vampires and child wizards and games you play when hungry. Let’s not pump Justin Bieber in our Saabs and get engaged at Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. Because it’s embarrassing. You can’t take an adult seriously when he’s debating you over why Twilight vampires are O.K. with sunlight.
The bolding is mine; take note of it! Because rather than a critique of the content of YA novels, what this piece actually represents is the following assertion: that it’s fundamentally embarrassing for grown men to share any interests whatever with teenage girls. In fact, according to Joel, it is actually more embarrassing for a man to identify with a teen girl via the medium of literature than if he were publicly demeaning and sexualising her via the medium of pornography!
In five paragraphs, the only gender pronouns he uses are in those paragraphs: male to describe the adults who shouldn’t read YA, and female to describe the intended readership of the books to which he’s specifically objecting. Five paragraphs does not a lengthy article make. Certainly, it’s not long enough to enter into a nuanced discussion of why adults read YA (what then, I wonder, does Joel make of the adults who write it? or does he imagine that YA books spring full-fledged from the legs of hipsters, like Athena sprang from Zeus?), the changing face of the genre, or anything approaching an intelligent, reasoned argument.
It is, however, more than long enough to demonstrate his sexist credentials, and the nature of his real fear, which is that men might voluntarily be enjoying stuff written for girls. Oh noes! The horror! What could be worse than adult men identifying with the demographic they’ve historically most oppressed! GENDER EMPATHY IS SCARY AND TERRIBLE AND UNMASCULINE AND PLANES WILL FALL FROM THE SKY.
Those damn tween girls with their Bieber and their Twilights. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting the vote and refusing to act in pornography. The HUSSIES.
- s0vi37ru55i4 likes this
- iamnomes likes this
- oreohmygosh reblogged this from fozmeadows
- tabethawallace reblogged this from carnivaloftherandom and added:
- tabethawallace likes this
- goodbyeomelas reblogged this from carnivaloftherandom and added:
- amyofdoom likes this
- eruditechick reblogged this from carnivaloftherandom and added:
- carnivaloftherandom reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
- natsin likes this
- scottfogg reblogged this from pawnee--goddess
- scottfogg likes this
- dragonsinparis reblogged this from peppermintkelly
- darkmistressoftheuniverse likes this
- thisisaboutnotbeinginclass reblogged this from assassinregrets and added:
- doriangrayshopsatforever21 reblogged this from fozmeadows
- fiercebunny reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
- eucher likes this
- nalazul likes this
- nervous-breakdown-hat likes this
- kickdrumheart reblogged this from killerville and added:
- calystarose likes this
- ifshehadwings reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces and added:
- arliss reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces
- arliss likes this
- misserinmarie reblogged this from fozmeadows
- relovingit likes this
- jeffreybower reblogged this from fozmeadows
- appolsaucy reblogged this from assassinregrets
- chasingdays likes this
- dacrayzblaze1 reblogged this from fozmeadows
- killerville reblogged this from assassinregrets and added:
- assassinregrets reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
- extemporally reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces
- ponyregrets reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces and added:
- peppermintkelly reblogged this from fozmeadows
- thestrangestofplaces reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
- aclikeslater likes this
- anidori-kiladra likes this
- transgressivegirl reblogged this from annaverity
- themorikelife likes this
- princessgillybean reblogged this from fozmeadows
- speculatef reblogged this from fozmeadows
- bainzie reblogged this from fozmeadows
- mundiemoms reblogged this from fozmeadows
- pantherofroughstorms likes this
- canarycreame reblogged this from fozmeadows
- kbmurphy reblogged this from fozmeadows
- anilouise reblogged this from fozmeadows
- anilouise likes this