Books That Remove Readers From The Male Gaze
Oh, patriarchy — the word of the century, a topic that has become at most banal by now. Yet sexism still exists, and readers around the world are still looking for books to educate their peers and family about gender, sexuality and identity. Literature serves as a tool for discussion — and so, while there's no perfect book and certain messages are bound to frustrate us, books of such themes help bridge the difference in ideologies and misconstructions (whether in the process of agreeing or disapproving with the author).
In Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner tells of an ageing spinster’s struggle to break way from her controlling family — a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while adding a dimension of the supernatural and strange.
Warner is one of the outstanding and indispensable mavericks of twentieth-century literature, a writer to set beside Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, with a subversive genius that anticipates the fantastic flights of such contemporaries as Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson.
Wetlands by Charlotte Roche, however, has received mixed reviews since its debut — a common trend for books that are labelled 'profoundly unsettling' and 'controversial'. What drives the reader away from the male gaze is Roche's honest recount of one's experience living with a female body — the good, the bad and the ugly of it.