Does Estrogen Cancel Out Your Critical Faculties?

Talking movies with a guy friend the other day and I mentioned my dislike of the movie 300.

He sighed and said, “Testosterone. You just don’t have enough of it. 300 was awesome.”


Never mind that I have a deep and abiding hard-on for any number of superbutch movies. I even wrote a blog post about them. (This list could have gone on for. ev. er.)

Apparently, even though I can point out non-gender-related reasons 300 was not awesome,** my estrogen levels cancel them out. I’m not sure what my friend makes of Roger Ebert’s critical drumming of the film. Maybe Ebert’s testosterone levels are low?

(**#1 Reason 300 was not awesome:
Zack Snyder uses the Brian De Palma school of “Look at me, I’m directing!” directing. The stylized cutting, art direction, acting–“Hey! Over here! Can’t you see I’m directing RIGHT NOW!”–only made the extremely cool story of the Battle of Thermopylae look ridiculous. The History Channel’s Battles BC version was better. “See how I’m creating tension with these quick cuts mixed with freeze frames? Just like MTV! Aren’t I arty? Hello? I’M DIRECTING OVER HERE!”)

Sometimes, guys in my writing group have similar reactions to women’s critiques. If a woman doesn’t like their sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal story, they shrug and say, “It’s a guy thing.”

  • Even though, in our group, women are as likely if not more likely to read in the fantastical realms.
  • Even though some of the females are more experienced writers and better critiquers than some of the males.
  • Even though their critiques have nothing whatsoever to do with any gender-related aspects of the story.

Male writer: “It was a dark and stormy night on the nuclear reactor.”
Female critiquer: “That’s a really trite opening–”
Male writer: “TOO MUCH ESTROGEN!”

Sigmund “Biology is destiny” Freud would back you up. Then again, he said this about women: “Women oppose change, receive passively, and add nothing of their own.” Can you say “reductive?” How about “marginalizing?”

How about “bullshit?” It rhymes with “penis envy.”

Among the many unfortunate results of stereotyping by any trait that people have in common: You’re going to be wrong a certain amount of the time. Yes, many women (pick a random percentage) don’t like bloody action films. Yet many women (another random number) do. It’s a percentages game any way you look at it. And I’ve heard that all people with the right amount of testosterone (i.e. men) hate more than anything to be wrong.

So, before you dismiss a woman’s negative review because she doesn’t have the right naughty bits and the right amount of the more legitimate hormone, consider you might be suffering from vagina envy and try to listen beyond your fear to the validity of her words.

When I say I don’t like 300 or Sin City or Fight Club, consider first that those movies might have sucked.

And while we’re at it: Laura Klein in a recent blog post: STFU about what women want.

Posted in Commentary, Critiques, Movies, Pop Culture, Reviews, Writing Craft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Weekly Writer’s Round-Up: Week of 12/10/11

Amazon’s Business Model
Richard Russo, writing in the New York Times, on other writer’s reactions to Amazon’s cutthroat business tactics. (via Jackie Blem on Facebook.)

Jarek Steele, owner of Left Bank Books, on Slate’s recent article bashing bookstores. (I didn’t realize Slate was an Amazon affiliate.)

Writer Dan O’Shea on Amazon and taxes.

Writing Craft
Writer John Scalzi on the stuff in sci/fi fantasy that interrupts our suspension of disbelief: The Flying Snowman.

Social Media
Some thoughts on twitter apps, which I’m still fuzzy on, but this guy seems clear: Neal Schaffer on the Buffer app.

Do Facebook ads sell books? Author Caleb J Ross says ‘no.’

Publishing and Marketing
Writer C. Leigh Purtill tells how she e-published after the rights to her traditionally published novel reverted back to her on eBookNewser.

Writer Terry Odell on the Crime Fiction Collective blog: Indie publishing doesn’t mean you’re alone.

Writer Chuck Sambuchino on book promotion, on agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog.

Have a great week!

Posted in Commentary, E-Publishing, Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments