Bad Writing About Women
April 3, 2012 by Jessi
The Chase by Clive Cussler; page count 404
This is the second, and most likely last time I’ll read a Clive Cussler novel.
This novel, The Chase, much like the other Cussler novel I read, Spartan Gold, was entertaining. It was an action-filled, fast-paced book. Reminiscent of a Dan Brown novel. (Although, in fairness Cussler came first; I just happened to get around to Brown before.) This novel, and the previous one, insofar as I am aware, are both fairly historically accurate. Yes, some license is given, but generally, accurate. True, this stuff is not going to win any literary awards for grand writing, but then, the main point seems to be for entertainment. I like being entertained. In fact, many books I pick I do so to be entertained.
So why, with all of my points on the “pro” list, do I say this shall probably be the last time I read Cussler? The way he writes women.
I cannot stand how Cussler writes the women of his novels. He goes to lengths in prose to talk about how intelligent the women are, how they are no-nonsense, and how they are not ones to be trifled with, thank you very much. Then, BAM! first time they encounter the hero, they’re all mush and loving-at-first-sight and suddenly “oh giggle giggle!” On top of which, no matter how intelligent Cussler has tried to convince us his chicks are with back story (a PhD in history, a JD, knowledge of several languages, etc, etc) the only characters who can sort out the mess, discover the truth, and solve problems are the male characters. No matter how much bravado Cussler has given readers in backstory (she moved across country against parents’ wishes all on her own) the minute a disaster strikes she’s all “You take over hunky man.”
No! Frankly, this is worse than writing dumb, pansy women. At least I’ve met dumb, pansy women. They exist. But I have never met an intelligent, adventurous, no-nonsense lady who when presented with a Hero, turns to putty in his hands. It doesn’t happen. There’s discussion, there’s “Hunky man, that’s a decent idea, but how about this more logical choice,” at least every once and a while. There are usually fights. Testosterone attempting to belittle a strong female will not go far without a fight occurring. (Hint: That’s what makes the chick “strong” in the first place, Mr. Cussler.) And if these women are so intelligent, why not give them a good plot-changing idea every once and a while?
Have you ever encountered a book with horrible writing about women for one reason or another?