Sound and Vision

"Often in literary criticism, writers are told that a character isn’t likable, as if a character’s likability is directly proportional to the quality of a novel’s writing. This is particularly true for women in fiction. In literature, as in life, the rules are all too often different for girls. There are many instances in which an unlikable man is billed as an antihero, earning a special term to explain those ways in which he deviates from the norm, the traditionally likable. The list, beginning with Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, is long. An unlikable man is inscrutably interesting, dark, or tormented, but ultimately compelling, even when he might behave in distasteful ways. This is the only explanation I can come up with for the popularity of, say, the novels of Philip Roth, who is one hell of a writer but who also practically revels in the unlikability of his men, with their neuroses and self-loathing (and, of course, humanity) boldly on display from one page to the next.

When women are unlikable, it becomes a point of obsession in critical conversations by professional and amateur critics alike. Why are these women daring to flaunt convention? Why aren’t they making themselves likable (and therefore acceptable) to polite society? In a Publishers Weekly interview with Claire Messud about her novel The Woman Upstairs, which features a rather ‘unlikable’ protagonist, Nora, who is better, bereft, and downright angry about what her life has become, the interviewer said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.’ And there we have it. A reader was here to make friends with the characters in a book and she didn’t like what she found.

Messud, for her part, had a sharp response to her interviewer.

For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscao Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t ‘Is this a potential friend for me?’ but ‘Is this character alive?’

Perhaps, then, unlikable characters, the ones who are the most human, are also the ones who are the most alive. Perhaps this intimacy makes us uncomfortable because we don’t dare be so alive."

- Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist (via brutereason)

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detailsdetales:

Judith II (1909)

Gustav Klimt

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vrixie:

irisannwest:

do you ever

do you ever just have

that one class

that one freaking class

that just depresses you when you think about it because

oh god you hate it so much

The bourgeoisie

(via networkconnectivityproblems)

"

As women, when we’re children we’re taught to enter the world with big hearts. Blooming hearts. Hearts bigger than our damn fists. We are taught to forgive - constantly - as opposed to what young boys are taught: Revenge, to get ‘even.’ Our empathy is constantly made appeals to, often demanded for. If we refuse to show kindness, we are reprimanded. We are not good women if we do not crush our bones to make more space for the world, if we do not spread our entire skin over rocks for others to tread on, if we do not kill ourselves in every meaning of the word in the process of making it cozy for everyone else. It is the heat generated by the burning of our bodies with which the world keeps warm. We are taught to sacrifice so much for so little. This is the general principle all over the world.

By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.

Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.

Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.

There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.

On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes.

"

- A Woman of War by Mehreen Kasana (via pbnpineapples)

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http://elizabitchtaylor.tumblr.com/post/98115395782/wesley-crusher-touchofgrey37-dickgrayzon

wesley-crusher:

touchofgrey37:

dickgrayzon:

How to spot a fake geek guy:

  • says robin is useless
  • says aquaman is useless
  • worships batman bc batman is invincible
  • doesn’t “understand” superman because he’s not relatable or interesting
  • makes “hero vs hero” posts
  • probably…

kdo:

The Shangri-Las - Heaven Only Knows (Stereo) (1965)
Written by Jeff Barry / Ellie Greenwich
from: ”Shangri-Las-65!” LP
         ”Myrmidons of Melodrama” (1994 Compilation Album)
Produced by George ”Shadow” Morton

(via goldist)


18th century calico designs by Irish artist William Kilburn (1745-1818)

(Source: mademoisellelapiquante, via aliensalsa)