What Happens Next: A Gallimaufry

Foz Meadows is a bipedal cismammal with delusions of immortality. Also, she writes fantasy novels. (And fanfic on AO3 as Sysrae, because fanfic is awesome.)

Joel Stein Is A Sexist Ass

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. 

  1. oreohmygosh reblogged this from fozmeadows
  2. tabethawallace reblogged this from carnivaloftherandom and added:
    This dude is a super wanker. carnivaloftherandom:
  3. goodbyeomelas reblogged this from carnivaloftherandom and added:
    Adults People should read adult books. Fixed.
  4. eruditechick reblogged this from carnivaloftherandom and added:
    This asshole’s article LITERALLY boils down to Grown Men are Paragons of Intelligence and Little Girls are Useless....
  5. carnivaloftherandom reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
    I’m going to add the following: if you think the argument Joel Stein makes is in any way reasonable, especially if...
  6. scottfogg reblogged this from pawnee--goddess
  7. dragonsinparis reblogged this from peppermintkelly
  8. thisisaboutnotbeinginclass reblogged this from assassinregrets and added:
  9. doriangrayshopsatforever21 reblogged this from fozmeadows
  10. fiercebunny reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
    Frankly, Joel Stein has always been a racist, sexist dick. And that’s on top of being a talentless hack. Didn’t he use...
  11. kickdrumheart reblogged this from killerville and added:
    “games played when hungry” did
  12. ifshehadwings reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces and added:
    Yes, this. I took a moment to read the original article, and all I can say is if that’s what passes for journalism these...
  13. arliss reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces
  14. misserinmarie reblogged this from fozmeadows
  15. jeffreybower reblogged this from fozmeadows
  16. appolsaucy reblogged this from assassinregrets
  17. dacrayzblaze1 reblogged this from fozmeadows
  18. killerville reblogged this from assassinregrets and added:
    Hilariously, his byline includes a book he’s releasing called Man Made: a Stupid Quest for Masculinity.
  19. assassinregrets reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
    I bet his favourite writer is Dan Brown, too.
  20. extemporally reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces
  21. ponyregrets reblogged this from thestrangestofplaces and added:
    I want to find this dude and punch him in the face.
  22. peppermintkelly reblogged this from fozmeadows
  23. thestrangestofplaces reblogged this from fozmeadows and added:
    This is so, so right on.
  24. transgressivegirl reblogged this from annaverity
  25. princessgillybean reblogged this from fozmeadows
  26. speculatef reblogged this from fozmeadows
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