Bitch Magazine Removes Books From ‘100 Feminist Books for the YA Reader’ List

This is really disappointing. Bitch Magazine made what was an awesome list of feminist YA books. But after a couple of people complained in the comments, they swiftly removed and replaced three books: Tender Morsels, Sisters Red, and Living Dead Girl. Why? One because it was deemed to be too triggering (despite that you could say the same for nearly all the other books on the list) and the other two because of scenes regarding rape.

The only one of these books that I’ve read is Sisters Red, which I think is an excellent feminist novel. (You can read my review here.) Yes, there is a scene in which one of the characters is victim-blaming. But is it wrong to include that in a novel that’s partly about sexuality and rape? Because the scene in question is from Scarlett’s point of view, I don’t think we’re meant to agree with her. Scarlett is a survivor, and if we look at Fenris attacks as symbolic of rapes, I think she’s struggling to prove that she didn’t “deserve” it. Scarlett is angry and irrational and blames herself for everything. I don’t think it’s un-feminist to include a scene where, as part of her struggle, she tries to blame other women. I think it’s something we should discuss, but I don’t think it makes this book un-feminist.

Oh, and you can bet your ass I’m going to go read the other two books now.

You can read wonderful comments on this topic from Holly Black, Maureen Johnson, Diana Peterfreund, and Scott Westerfeld, all of whom have books featured on the list, all of which could be considered triggering or which have been challenged from a feminist viewpoint. I love that these authors are so willing to stand behind their work and their colleagues’ work, and I suggest you go read what they have to say.

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Sisters Red

You know those books that you don’t expect much from, but you think, “Oh, this will be a fun, quick read” and then you’re totally sucked in and blown away? This was one of those books. Sisters Red was published a few months ago and I can’t believe I haven’t heard more buzz about it, because I loved it! What I thought was going to be just another werewolf story turned out to be a surprisingly layered and touching story about two sisters and their love for each other. Pearce has a unique take on werewolves, which are called Fenris in her book, and the monsters lust after young, frivolous women. It’s not just a new spin on werewolves, but also a play on the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and THAT is my absolute favorite thing on this book. Because while Scarlett and Rosie March must rely on their curvy bodies and act like giggly, weak, helpless girls in order to lure the Fenris, they’re actually totally badass Hunters who don’t need to be rescued by anybody. It’s a great twist on the old trope of the young woman being preyed on by a man/monster who disguises himself as someone friendly. In this book, the March sisters disguise themselves as easy prey, and then turn on the Fenris, who are the real prey.

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