Of course, it went out on the airwaves as 'Book Reviewer Quits Over 'Increasing Sexist Violence',' because I'm sure that raked in way more site hits than her more moderate actual stance would have.
After the Telegraph article came out (before Mann's clarification), I participated in a couple of on-line discussions about the issues it raised, most of which petered out into a kind of 'so what?' resolution. The overwhelming opinion seemed to be 'it's crime fiction, what does she expect?'
Oddly enough, I haven't been much bothered by sexist violence in current crime fiction, but this may be simply because I put a book down at the first sign of misogyny. What I have noticed is that I'm putting more and more books down. While I'm glad that I'm doing so before I get to the 'torture porn' sections, I find it troublesome that even good writers are still leaning on tired old sexist tropes, to wit:
- Female characters past puberty -- even those with names -- are still constantly referred to, even by female writers, as 'the girl.'
- Heroic male characters are routinely fat, badly dressed, dirty and/or ill-tempered; women of that description are almost always comical objects of derision, or, worse, victims-in-waiting.
- Said male characters often have romantic/sexual relationships with standardized 'beautiful' women, but fat, badly dressed, dirty and/or ill-tempered women are either single or paired with fatter, more badly dressed, dirtier and/or more ill-tempered partners.
- Too many female characters are rape victims, survivors of childhood sexual abuse, former (or current) sex workers, have slept with the male lead in the past or are sleeping with him now, or have otherwise sexually-referenced history or roles in the story.
- Female characters described as five-nine and 110 pounds are able to drop six-foot-two, 225-pound assailants with a single shot to the jaw. Pick one: supermodel or ass-kicking dame. She can't be both.
- Female characters frequently scream when cornered or frightened. If this is a natural human response, why don't male characters do it?
- Male characters always pursue female characters in sexual/romantic relationships, unless the relationship is comical or the female character malevolent.
- Adult female characters seem completely unaware of something that every adult real-life female knows: a single kick to the jewels can disable most male attackers. Male characters, surprisingly, appear similarly unenlightened.
- The continued use of the (obligatory, apparently) Dress Up Scene, where a formerly 'plain' female character puts on a sexy outfit and the hunky male character realizes he's in 'love' with her.
- Female characters who 'use sex to get what they want.' Why don't male characters ever do this? That's a book I'd read.
- All women are obsessed with having babies. All of them.
- Non-ironic use of the phrase, "Most women..."
- (Add your own here -- I know you can)