Hi there everyone and welcome to another installment of RetroPop, the guest blog in which I provide mashups of thematically similar female-performed Billboard charting radio tunes and great feminist works from the past and say, "WOW, you're both making some nifty and sorta related social commentaries! How about that?!"
Today I’d like to spread my arms in a big bear-hug embrace for two of my favorite artist ladies hot on the manhunt (different kinds) and ask another question: “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!”
I'm not saying that violence should never be shown or described. We need our movies and TV shows and games and books to address issues of the violence in our culture, and violence against women is included in that. But some of these examples just play into the same old misogyny—without asking anything more of the audience—which is a shame and a missed opportunity.
We love feminist mystery novels. We love them so much that we decided to devote three months of book clubs to them. In November we read Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayer's 1935 book that has been called the first feminist mystery novel. In January we're reading Everything You Have is Mine by Sandra Scoppettone. And in February we'll be reading Laura Lippman's To The Power of Three. (Are you in Portland? Come to our book clubs. Not in Portland? Read along and we'll keep discussing these books on the blog.)
If you're like me, you've been staying up all night to read these novels and you just can't get enough. After finishing our book club books, I started scouring library shelves for mystery novels with feminist detectives. Mystery novels with complex female characters that analyze and protest sexist culture. I've been pleased to find that feminist mystery novels aren't as hard to find as one might think, and that some independent bookstores have huge Gay and Lesbian Mystery sections. If you finish the book club books and want to keep knocking back the mystery novels, here are a few more that feature kick-ass girl gumshoes...
On Tuesday night, the Bitch Book Club got together to discuss Gaudy Night, a mystery novel by Dorothy Sayers that was first published in 1935. While snacking on cinnamon rolls and apple rosemary scones donated by Dovetail Bakery, we talked about this smart and witty book that has gained a reputation as the first feminist novel of its genre.