although i love this story and have been following it forever, i have finally had to succumb to a slight nagging sensation that has cropped up more and more insistently with each chapter i read.
when i embarked on etc., etc., i was so pleasantly surprised. clemence, to me, seemed like a really strong female character. take charge, independent, no-nonsense. but as i continued to read, i couldn't help but feel like this story has, in an increasingly aggressive manner, been perpetuating an over-whelmingly anti-feminist tone.
so much of this plot is about pitting girls against each other. why? it hurts to read, especially since i enjoy literally every other aspect of this story. yet i find it problematic how flawed you hae made all your female characters. i know that the males are flawed too (every character in this fic is, which makes it so realistic and good of a read), but with the males you don't find the same sweeping, caricatural generalizations that have seized hold of the girls.
almost all the girls in this story are portrayed as stupid, desperate, vapid and starving for love. none of them can think independently, none of them can function socially - is this really the type of stereotype you want to put forth? it feels as though instead of having clemence shine on her own like the badass she is, you included appy and all the other quirkers - in increasingly farcical renditions of mental instability - in order to juxtapose the two 'kinds' of girls against each other. clemence vs. appy, ice queen vs. quirker.
the quirkers are depicted in scathing tones that, at this point, make me feel kind of uncomfortable. there is no shred of sympathy granted to them. they're almost nonhuman in their description. yikes.
why do you have to put the rest of the girls down in order to lift clemence up? and why oh why does there have to be so much catfighting, and why oh why does so much of the catfighting have to center around boys? if this fic was a movie, i'm not sure it would pass the bechdel test. clemence, at this point, seems like the only sane female character worthy of sympathy. and even she is still boy-crazy.
maybe i've been analyzing this from a weird angle and just need a shift of perspective, but this has been my impression so far. i'd really appreciate your opinion.
Author's Response: I couldn't fit the response in 4000 characters (I wanted to essay and out came 1500 words), so I posted the response on my oddhour blog! I do appreciate your concerns, so hopefully it clears things up.