Review of “Gentlemen prefer blondes” by Anita Loos

Gentlemen Prefer BlondesSuch a wonderful little novel about a good-natured gold-digger from Little Rock, Arkansas who’s on a quest to find herself a husband and gather as many diamonds she can get her hands on.

If you’ve seen the film with the fantastic Marilyn Monroe, you’re sure to enjoy this book, written as a diary of the main character Lorelai Lee, who’s a blonde but who is far from dumb. She went away from home after shooting a man and landed in New York to find her fortune. Blessed with amazing good looks, she charms every man to hand in his wallet and to do her bidding.

Lorelai Lee travels Europe with her friend and roommate Dorothy (who is mostly there for comic relief) where she meets many gentlemen, including the Prince of Wales and doctor Freud, in order to get more educated and do a little bit of shopping as well.

It’s too much to say that Anita Loos wrote this novel just for fun and laughs, especially since it was written in the middle of the roaring 20’s when women in the US started to rebel against the traditions, encouraged by the then-recent right to vote and financial independence that was brought by filling in job positions of men who were fighting in the WWI. Still, this novel left a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

That’s mainly a misfortune of my own, as it has nothing to do with the novel itself but with my personal distaste for the gold-digger trope.

What I really did like about the novel was how the author misspelt a lot of words and used a lot of grammatical errors to show the educational level of the main character. The writing style is especially shallow and sometimes painful to read, but it serves the purpose of being the vessel of the story. It’s pretty clever and funny at times, but it often becomes unbearable too.

That being said, I think I should lay off the fiction for a while and read something else for a change. I gave myself a headache.

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Review of “Men Explain Things to Me” by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to MeA while ago I was commuting home from work. I always sit next to the window because I get off really late in the line when there’s nobody else on the bus anyway. I was reading a book I found at work and listening to one of my favourite albums, “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Space” by Explosions In The Sky. A book in hand and earphones in are the universal sign that screams Don’t talk to me. Halfway home, someone sat next to me. This man was in his late forties and severely overweight, easily three times my size.

After a little while, he decided that it was appropriate to take out the earbud out of my left ear and ask what was it that I was reading and where I went to school. When I cut him off, putting the earbud back in and choosing to ignore whatever he continued to say. We passed a few stops and I focused back on my book and then I felt his hand slowly creeping to my chest and proceed to feel me up. I panicked and got up, being the non-confrontational type (and frankly I was a little afraid he’ll attempt to eat me or something). I left five stations too early and walked all the way home.

What made this experience more appalling to me was the fact that I in my day-to-day life easily pass for a girl in her mid-teens, due to my petite frame and oversized clothes I prefer to wear most of the time. This man thought it was okay to grope a very young, strange girl on a bus.

This wasn’t even remotely the worst experience I had.

In this collection of essays, Rebecca Solnit talks about gender-focused violence that resonates with every woman who has ever dared to walk outside of her home. There’s nothing even remotely humorous about it, as the title might suggest. It’s awfully depressing, disgusting, and real, and if someone doesn’t recognize it, then they are either awfully sheltered or lying.

Violence against women happens every day and it’s mostly done by men. The streets, offices, at home, universities, and even fucking online gaming communities.

The author is being objective and presents us the statistics that we all can easily check (One in five women will get raped in their lifetime, and one in seventy-one men too). She is simply stating that the overwhelming majority of crime is committed by men. Of course, not all men are like that.

“Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.”

As someone who is going to school for something that’s vastly male-dominated and who gets a bunch of men really eager to explain things to me, I am enraged. And rightfully so.

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