RARA-AVIS: A feminist reading Goines et al.

Regina Ebner (g.ebner@online.edvg.co.at)
Sun, 24 Jan 1999 14:06:10 +0100 Dave said that he knows very few women who read or even appreciate Goines. I
can certainly understand the sentiment. What *I* can't stand is when the abuse
/ debasement of women is glorified. I have more problems with James Bond than
with Dopefiend's Porky.
There are basically two criteria that make a hard-boiled book work for me from
a feminist point of view: 1. the male protagonist(s) are as damaged
(psychologically, socially, etc.) as the female ones. Most of the classics
fall in this category. (In some cases - femme fatale - it could be argued that
the women are stronger. Bad, but tough. And completely unsentimental.) 2. The
novel / film provides an unapologetic and analytic look at masculine behavior
(mostly at its worst) and how it works within society. Ellroy comes to mind,
quite a few of Scorsese's films. The second category I can read / watch with a
detachment that borders on the sociological / ethnological.
What I don't know is how men read the same books. Someone mentioned the
'gangsta' ideal. Also: Most of Ellroy's protagonists I find so repulsive that
I wonder if someone does identify / sympathize with them. Anyone?

Gina Ebner
Vienna, Austria

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