Caitlin Moran, the widely-celebrated feminist author and columnist, has called for girls to avoid reading any books with male authors until they are grown women.
Moran, a Times of London columnist behind the best-selling How to Be a Woman, argued that reading great works by males will make young women cripplingly insecure.
She named J. D. Salinger, William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, Ernest Hemingway and Philip Roth as male writers particularly worthy of being ignored.
In an International Women’s Day article written for the publishing house Penguin – who sell an awful lot of books by male authors – she said: “If I had one piece of advice for young girls, and women, it would be this: girls, don’t read any books by men.
“Don’t read them. Stay away from them. Or, at least, don’t read them until you’re older, and fully-formed, and battle-ready, and are able to counter someone being rude to you, in conversation, not with silent embarrassment, or internalised, mute fury, but a calm, ‘Fuck you very much, and goodbye.'”
Moran, who didn’t go to school, said that she was left to her own literary devices growing up and naturally ended up with an all-female reading diet.
She claims this saved her from the preconceptions about femininity that are inherent in great works by men.
Male novels, Moran says, make her feel “unwelcome” and “uncomfortable” and left her with a “broken” heart because of the “cold” way they present female characters.
The fact that she willingly acknowledges all these books as works of genius is, apparently, no reason to engage with them until adulthood.
No. They are not the right books to read, if you are a young girl. They are not the voices you should allow in your head. Until you are grown – until you can argue, with confidence, with a narrator; with a genius; with a world-view – girls, do not read books by old men.
Book stores have become something of a battleground in the run-up to International Women’s Day.
As Heat Street reported over the weekend, Loganberry Books in Ohio has obscured the identities of all its male authors in the hope that customers will buy more works by women.
Effectively putting Moran’s idea into practice, they reversed every book on the shelf written by a man.
This leaves its spine facing the wrong way, so nobody can tell which book is which.
They put up a sign saying “We’ve silenced male authors, leaving the works of women in view”.