Knowing that this book was written over 25 years ago, and being able to put it in that context, still makes me want to throw every copy into a wood chipper. I wouldn't actually do it; somewhere, someone out there might actually be studying misogyny, mascho-ism, and/or homophobia in murder mysteries, and this would be right up their research alley. By the way, that is a study I might be interested in reading, especially given how large the female readership is for murder mysteries. I don't understand it either, someone please tell me why mysteries are "fun" to read.
Anyway, at least in 1984 Wood through his character Reid (written in very telling first person) blatantly tells us that he associates feminism with man-hating. On some level, I have to say he's right. If feminism is about man-hating, it's about hating a very specific kind of man. Mostly men who say things like this,
"I might have guessed. Like all good man-haters, Nancy Carmichael had put on blue jeans."Or this,
"I also guessed that it wouldn't take long to turn her off her man-hating, she seemed too warm a woman for her lifelong separation from us all."Or this,
"It wasn't true [that she was still a virgin after being raped], but it was the best thing to say even though just telling her made me feel dirty and unshaven and uncouth. I felt the old familiar disgust growing within me."That people ever thought these things about women and in such a confident and uncaring manner should piss everyone off. It should make everyone hate the man (or woman!) who thought them, or at least be as disgusted as Reid feels talking to the rape victim. If those passages made you feel a bit like vomiting, or made your blood pressure rise, chances are you are a feminist. It means that you respect women enough to know that wearing blue jeans in a snowstorm does not mean one hates men; that feminism is not a "phase" that women go through just because a man did something completely horrible to them and they'll forget it in a few weeks, months, years; and/or that no one has the right to blame or judge a rape victim for what happened to him or her.
And I get really angry at people who insist that feminism equals man-hating, because in the long run it really doesn't. Feminism is about creating the kind of men (and women) that we can feel good about loving. It is about promoting the idea that women are more than just appliances with vaginas and treating us like the people we are instead of vacuum cleaners that can make a sandwich and perform fellatio. Sure, we can do all those things, but you can also go fuck yourself with a razor blade. Just because you can treat a woman like crap, doesn't mean you should, and a feminist knows that treating a woman like a human being with rights, thoughts, and ideas of her own is a good and desirable thing. For everyone.
*Note, this is the cover for the 1995 version, rather than the 1984 copy I was reading.
My angry, but accurate review can be found on Goodreads.