Thursday, February 28, 2013

RRT: The Hatred of Ellie Watt (of The Artists Trilogy)

Hey Guys!!! This will be a regular old post for now. I havent decided if I'll be doing a video for my YouTube page but we'll see. If I do, I'll post a link here.
I just got finished reading this post over on The Experiment in Terror Official Site page talking about the backlash from women about the character of Ellie Watt; liar, thief, con-artist, and 100% bad-ass from the Artists trilogy. (See My review for the first book, Sins & Needles, here.) It seems women pretty much hate everything about her, all of her decisions they hate. Even the one bug huge decision at the end they hate; the one that shows that maybe, perhaps, Ellie Watt is attempting to be a better person. To some women readers, her decision is selfish, and in some ways maybe it is. Regardless, the decision is made.

I really dont understand the backlash. As Karina Halle, Author of the Sins & Needles book, said, we love our male characters to be bad boys. They can lie, cheat, steal, kill, rape, abuse, and do pretty much anything else and as long as they have rippling abs and sexy dark eyes and decide not to kill the one damsel in distress, they're officially swoon worthy. Excuse my language, but What the Hell? Seriously. How is Ellie this horrible person because she's made bad decisions whereas the guys are completely sexy and gorgeous? Double Standard anyone?

It's my belief that there are little bits of Ellie in all of us women. Maybe that's why it's so hard for some women to accept her. We all put on these innocent fronts for everyone around us of being good little girls who always do the right thing and only want to fall in love and blah-de-blah-de blah. We act like we would never do anything wrong, like we never lie, or cheat. We spend our time pretending we dont think badly of ourselves as Ellie does, that we dont always deserve the perfect life for our mistakes, and we therefore make even more mistakes. We act like there hasn't been a time when we hear our conscience screaming at us to just do the right thing. That this time you probably shouldn't do that one bad thing you always do, because this time you may just get caught, but you do it anyway, and stupidly you get caught. Sure our actual events may not be as serious as Ellie's or as dangerous and damaging, but still, I think we're more like her than we know. We just grew up in a different situation.

We all have skeletons that not even our closest friends know about. Yet we prefer books where the guy is the bad-boy and women are the good girls because it ensures that no one knows our secret. It ensures that no one knows that women can sometimes be just as bad, if not worse, than all those sexy men we love in the books.

I love Ellie Watt because she shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. She shows our weaknesses, not just as women but as humans in general. She shows our strengths and our ability to go on despite all odds. She show's our innate ability to survive no matter what. Her final decision in book 1 shows the sacrifice we as women make time and time again to protect those we love from getting hurt. No, it may not have been the best decision, but it was the one she could deal with.

I love Ellie Watt, I love Sins and Needles. It's my hope that we as women can see the good in her the same way we can see the good in our male book heros and stop puting her down.

What do you all think about this topic? Do you agree that this may be the reason people put down the character of Ellie Watt or do you think I'm wrong? Could it be that we hold our fellow women to a higher standard than we do men? If so, do you think that's fair?

Message to the Author: (if by some miracle you're actually reading this) Thanks so much for making all your characters as flawed as we as humans really are. It makes your books so much more real and it keeps me hooked!


Sue Bursztynski said...

I absolutely agree on this. I haven't read the book and probably won't, because the storyline doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but really, there's too much, in the YA area these days, of horrible male love interests ( like stalkers and abusers) and weak wimpy girls and the bloggers and their followers sigh,"OMG, oh, WOW, he is just so gorgeous! I am definitely Team Whoever!" But there are also some strange girls out there. Take Justine Larbalestier's novel Liar. Her heroine, who speaks in first person, lies to everybody, including the reader. She has been suspected of murdering her boyfriend. In every chapter she tells her readers a story and then next chapter she says, "Actually, that wasn't true, this is what really happened" and the following chapter she says,"We'll, actually, that wasn't true either, here's what really happened..." And then that isn't true either. By the end of the novel, you don't know what's the real story, but you've been hooked into finishing it. I don't know, but I suspect that one was not her most popular book.

I suspect the bad-boy hero who gets fan girls started with Emily Brinte's Heathcliff, but then Cathy was not likeable either. Yet I have read blog comments that go,"OMG, I am so Team Heathcliff!" (The other member of the love triangle was Edgar, whose crime is that he's middle class and treats Cathy decently).

Lan said...

I went and bought this as soon as I read that Ellie is a con artist who lies to people. I am personally so sick of all these goodie two shoe heroines who have suffered so much at the hands of everybody and yet they are still all sunshine and flowers. That to me smacks of bad characterisation. I read the post by Karina Hale and think she is 100% right. It's the reason I had to DNF books like Touch of Frost and Born at Midnight. All the male characters were such jerks and yet they were thought of as hot and yet the females did was kiss a few boys and they were made to feel like outcasts. I can't stand that kind of disgusting gender self hatred. I can totally understand disliking Ellie because of her personality, because I don't imagine she'd be easy to like, but hating her because you can't understand her motivation is a bit silly if you know the kind of past she's had. I can't wait to read Sins and Needles now.

LaMar Nelson said...

Hmmm, there is a lot that I could say, and would say if we were having a sit down conversation, but seeing as we are not I'll try not to get too deep or address too much at once.

You make some interesting points here, women in the literature of today, especially in specific genres are definitely mostly a cookie cutter kind of characterization, and it is good to see some woman portrayed differently. I think you do things and make mistakes, and it is what it is (or what you want to make it out to be)...a lot of people put up these masks and try and act all perfect and innocent and holy, but they not, and for real as a whole no one is, for the most part. I really do want to read this book just to see what all the fuss is about. The flip side i think to that coin is this typical male characterizations that you kind of describe...I myself being a kind of good guy, get sick and tired of that characterization...

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