I was describing one of my books over a pint at my neighborhood pub when this guy says to me, "Wait. You're not like one of those feminists, are you?" Husband, being the brilliant man that he is, chugged the rest of his beer and backed away slowly. Veeeery slowly.
It didn't get ugly, per se. But I'm an opinionated person and I have no problem voicing my thoughts to anyone. I must admit that I was only nursing my first beer and this dude had already had at least three....in the last hour. Who knows what he'd been doing before that. So I may have had the upper hand, at least in coherency.
Anyway, he "jokingly" called me a few silly names meant to, I don't know, make me feel bad about being a woman (Baby, I was born this way)? But the long and the short of it is that it got me thinking about themes in literature and specifically, whether the mere presence of female characters (and the things/themes that interest them) inherently makes a novel a "feminist" one.
It's a bit ridiculous, isn't it? Especially when you consider that HALF of the human race is women. So we're bound to show up in a few books now and again.
Further, I'd like to argue that if the presence of female characters makes a book a feminist book, then in the interest of the equality we feminists are so keen on, the presence of male characters must make a book a "masculinist" one.
Therefore, using the associative property of binary equations (yeah, I realize this is English and not Math but just go with me here), approximately 99% of books (save for Lord of the Flies and perhaps a handful of others) are both Feminist and Masculinist books.
Yin and Yang. Blahda blahda blah.
At the end of the day, does a book resonate with you? Do you identify with the characters (even if you loathe some of them or disagree with their choices)? Does it entertain you? Does it make you think? is the plot compelling? Do you, I dunno, like it?
Then. Read. It.
Seriously. Who gives a crap if it's "about" men or women?