Time Magazine's October 14 issue proclaimed that women have more power but are unhappy. Maybe because we're being raped and decapitated in record numbers in film and fiction.
Sarah Weinman, one of the most thoughtful writers in the blogosphere, has an interesting post on this called "Getting Re-Sensitized to Violence."
Weinman starts the post with a quote from Jessica Mann:
When a female corpse appeared on the jacket of a crime-writing colleague's new book, she pointed out to her publisher that the victim in the story was actually a man. Never mind that, came the reply, dead, brutalised women sell books, dead men don't. Nor do dead children or geriatrics. Which explains why an increasing proportion of the crime fiction I am sent to review features male perpetrators and almost invariably female victims — series of them. Each psychopath is more sadistic than the last and his victims' sufferings are described in detail that becomes ever more explicit, as young women are imprisoned, bound, gagged, strung up or tied down, raped, sliced, burned, blinded, beaten, eaten, starved, suffocated, stabbed, boiled or buried alive.
Side-by-side with this comes PW's list of the 10 best books of 2009. It's not just that all ten were written by men, but many of them were tired old paeans to male sexual fantasies. Jeff in Venice, for instance, takes place in two sections. In the first, set at among academics at the Venice Biennale, we get pages and pages of the hero doing lines (under a Tintoretto ceiling, among other places), while having sex with a predatory American art historian. David Lodge did a better job of sending up the academy decades ago, and, well, Portnoy's Complaint isn't exactly news these days.
What gives with this? Why, when women's wages have reached the heady historic high of 77 cents on the dollar paid to men, when three of the last four Secretaries of State have been women, and even one or two Fortune 500 companies have women chairs, why are women being raped and beaten into oblivion?