Sexism-free literature is “propaganda”.

Sexism-free literature is “propaganda”, by its very nature. Or so Andrew Riemer, Herald book critic, firmly believes, as quoted by the SMH.

According to the ABC, John Hinde has bequeathed a new literary prize, one of Australia’s richest. The prize is to honour his wife, Barbara Jefferis, feminist author, hoyden, and the first female president of the Australian Society of Authors.

The anti-sexist stricture on the bequeathed prize is pretty weak. The ASA executive director describes it thus:

“… female empowerment will not have to be central to the winning novel. It’s not necessary, for example, as part of the way the book should be judged that it necessarily have a main female protagonist. However, it can’t be a book that puts down women.”

This still has people whingeing about how stifling and dull non-sexist literature must be, and how wrong it is to place such stipulations on Art.

How dare someone bequeath their own money for a prize, in memory of a powerful feminist, and then turn around and attach unreasonable strings like not wanting the prize to reward anti-woman hate speech.

How boring, safe, and useless non-sexist fiction must be by its very nature, implies Debra Adelaide, who frets that the award might encourage the tendency of Australian writing to be “safe and constrained”.” Without hate speech, all the fun is gone! All the gritty originality! Help, help, we’re being^&*O#%(* [censored under the BOMP[1]]

Read baroquestar’s take.

I’m looking forward to seeing who wins the award, and reading the candidates.

[1] Yes, I’m having a missing-Madeleine moment.



Categories: Culture, gender & feminism

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2 replies

  1. There’s some discussion of this in comments over at LP’s Saturday Salon, starting [here], and Kerryn Goldsworthy (aka Pavlov’s Cat) discussed the upcoming announcement a few weeks ago on her litblog A Fugitive Phenomenon.

  2. Thanks. I can’t help but think it’s nice to see no LPers reflexively denouncing this bit of feminism.

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