I’m only in chapter two of Storm Front and Harry Dresden has used the word “cheerleader” to describe two different women. Because cheerleaders, evil witch bitches, and women who need doors opened and their chairs pulled out for them are obviously the only two or three types of women Dresden believes exists.
I read Jim Butcher’s 2014 National Novel Writing Month pep talk about two years ago when I participated as I have been for the past couple of years. At the time, I thought Butcher was witty and decided to take the time to read some of his work. I thought the same thing about the character of Harry Dresden…at first.
Unfortunately Storm Front is my first exposure to Butcher’s novels and I can say plainly that, two chapters in, I am not impressed.
Grown men who constantly point out that their sexist attitudes are a product of their upbringing while knowing full well that their views/thought processes and behaviors are wrong and unfair to women (the women who don’t think men are God’s special gift to women) only do it because they have no intention of changing. They enjoy letting everybody know that they think of women a certain way and are secretly confident there’s no reason for them to change and that it makes them “more of a man” instead of a rotten human being. (Mostly because…penis.) Dresden’s attitude is, “I know I’m a bigot. I can’t help it and I’m going to constantly remind you that I simply cannot contain myself”. With a shrug, too. He’s probably the kind of guy who secretly thinks this b.s. is charming and all women love it somewhere deep inside.
I had intended to read the whole book despite Harry Dresden’s (and maybe even Jim Butcher’s) abrasive attitude towards women. But I’m not going to be a “good woman” and stick it out with this schmuck. I deleted Storm Front off my tablet the moment I read–
Classic lady in distress. For one of those liberated, professional women, she knew exactly how to jerk my old-fashioned chains around.
–Jim Butcher, Storm Front
Deal breaker. Last straw. With every annoying little dig that proceeded it, that is the end of the entire story for me. I could vomit.
My tablet is reading the page number I’m on as 307 out of 3712. I. Will. Fucking. Not. Do. This. To. Myself. I can only predict from experience with first person narratives and, you know, observing men for most of my life that this crud isn’t going to change, no matter how much of the Dresden files I try to read.
“Because you can’t do something like this without a whole lot of hate,” I said. “Women are better at hating than men. They can focus it better, let it go better. Hell, witches are just plain meaner than wizards. This looks like feminine vengeance of some kind to me.”
–Jim Butcher, Storm Front
I can almost ignore that Dresden/Butcher has the same prejudice against fat characters/people that J.K. Rowling has or that he described “Monica” as having a “hoarse cheerleader” voice over the phone. But Dresden’s ingrained idiocy against women is not acceptable.
Why would I want to spend time and energy reading a book about a fictional guy who’s admittedly sexist? There are plenty of real ones to deal with.
Some books, even if they potentially have redeeming qualities…somewhere in there…a lady’s just gotta put it down and walk away.