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Saints in Art
Thomas Michael Hartmann, Stefano Zuffi, Rosa Giorgi
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Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe
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Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Cynthia Griffin Wolff
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James W. Loewen
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Margaret Mitchell

Death Masks

Death Masks  - James Marsters, Jim Butcher Dear Mr. Dresden,

What a confusing creature you are.

By rights, you ought to drive me out of my screaming redhead feminist mind. Not an adventure of yours goes by that you don't make some pompous reference to your own chivalrous feelings toward the fairer sex.

And what, you will argue, is wrong with chivalry? Surely wanting to protect women is the most feminist impulse possible!

Actually, no.

In this particular story, you muse that maybe it makes you a caveman, but you always find the death of a woman sadder than the death of a man. A noble sentiment, you'll insist.

But when it comes to untimely death, what group is the most tragic of all? Children, of course. It's especially awful when a child dies, because children are the most helpless and vulnerable members of humanity and we feel a visceral urge to protect them from harm. When we can't, we feel extra horrible. We're suffering from the double gut-punch of their loss and our helplessness.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Do you understand that your "chivalry" has to add up to categorizing women as overgrown honorary children? Not a compliment.

Mr. Dresden (I know you hate it when strangers call you "Harry"), even if you can't understand how cringe-inducing your attitude is, do you think you could try to think of women as people just to save your own arse? Your continued insistence on regarding us as helpless creatures in need of rescuing is going to get you killed one of these days.

I was delighted to see that what Susan rightly described as your being an idiot when it comes to women cost you a few of your most favorite possessions in the course of this particular adventure. If even the mild-mannered neighborhood priest thinks you were a moron for leaving that female merc alone, you really blew it. You know very well you wouldn't have treated a male criminal in such a gormless fashion no matter how good-looking he was. If you'd been that wise with a woman, maybe you'd still have all your stuff.

So how on earth is it possible that a screaming redhead feminist just gave yet another of your books yet another four-star rating?

I'm not going to tell you you're awesome. Your ego's too big already. Your adventures, however, are extremely awesome to read about, and you narrate them well. (As does your vocal amanuensis James Marsters. Mmm. But I digress.)

Most bafflingly wonderful of all, however, is the fact that your creator consistently follows the rule I wish more genre writers would adopt: When at all possible, fill a given role with a female character. It makes life so much more interesting.

It's technically impossible for a first-person story whose narrator is a guy to pass the Bechdel test, but I'm giving this story an honorary Bechdel anyway. You were surrounded by all manner of female characters, most of whom had plenty to do other than braid one another's hair and talk about boys. You may not appreciate their general indifference to your good looks and dazzling dusters, but I do.

Please continue to kick ass. And if you get your own ass kicked by a woman who isn't as stupid about guys as you are about dames, don't say I didn't warn you.

Tough To Please (But In The End, Impressed)