Monday, January 14, 2013

Harry Dresden

Book cover
Last night I finished reading Dresden Files: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'll leave my discussion of the book(s) themselves to another time. Right now, I want to address something I read in a couple of reviews about the book. Actually, the only two reviews I read before I got tired and stopped reading them. Just my luck, the two reviews I read were bad.

Both of the reviews accuse Harry Dresden of being a chauvinist pig, and claim that he doesn't trust women to be table to take care of themselves.

Before explaining why this is absolutely completely and totally wrong, I would first like to acknowledge that I get where they're coming from. When I read Butcher's graphic novel Welcome to the Jungle (basically an intro to the series) I got ticked off about a weak female character at first, until I realized that she wasn't so weak after all. I don't want to go into that now though, since I already wrote about that here.

So I do get where these two reviewers are coming from. But they aren't looking past their initial indignation to see the whole picture. Because while it is true that Harry doesn't treat women like they can handle what they're going up against, he doesn't treat any regular mortal like they can handle it, in the first two books.

I'm sure that if Harry met a woman who is his equal in magical skill and knowledge that he would stop trying to shield her. But so far there don't seem to be many characters (and none of them are main characters) who are anywhere near his equal in those areas.

This being the case, those who are screaming about Butcher's treatment of women can just hush up until they've read more of the series. I'm not sure what the other books contain, but I doubt there will be anything for me to complain about.

4 comments:

Magaly Guerrero said...

I read those reviews before and I was so disgusted that I didn't even addressed them. I don't get people. It seems like you can't be a gentleman these days. For instance, I'm a quite capable woman--I've support myself since I was a teenager, I can shoot a man's head off from 500 yards, I can take care of myself, I can certainly open my door and take out the trash... but Jacob always does the latter two for me.

The other day, I was pushing this huge trunk, he got mad at me. "What am I here for?" he said, "I won't have you lifting and pushing things." Some might see this behavior as sexist, but that's not it. Some guys (and I'm glad my guy belongs to the group) like to take care of their women in ways that make them feel protective. The same can be said about the behavior or some women (and by some, I mean me) I show my love with food, and with domestic things; it's just the way I was raised, but that doesn't mean that I don't think that Jacob can cook or that men have no place in the kitchen.

I'm a better shot than Jacob, but I assure you that if we were in a very dangerous situation together, instinct would make him try to take charge. And that would probably get us in trouble for a bit (like it always happen with poor Harry) but eventually we'll make things work, and he'll remember that even if he weights twice as much as me, I'm the one who will be able to put that bullet where it counts.

Roles are choices, and people should stop generalizing. It's sickening.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Oops! sorry, didn't mean to comment-jack ;-(

Sarita Rucker said...

Actually it looks like you're right on topic! Changed the man we're talking about, but it's still the same thing: men acting like gentlemen.

My boyfriend likes to hold the door for me, and it took a bit before I convinced him to occasionally let me pay when we eat out. He has also apologized repeatedly for being unable to help me stay in my own apartment, even though I never asked him to support me financially.

Some men (actually, make that some people) like to do these things. There's nothing wrong with it, so long as they don't handicap those they're taking care of.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Indeed!

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