Male Authors Ranked By How Awful They Were To Women

#10: David Foster Wallace – We forgive you.

Nobody wants to hate on him because he expressed the ennui of a generation and he’s dead. But hey. How about treatin’ the ladies a little better. No, not the ones in his books. His wife. The one who returned from an appointment and found him hanging in the garage with his dogs staring up at him. Now she’s making art from his MRI brain scans, was legally required to read all of his unfinished work to assess its estate value, and still feels guilty for leaving him alone in the house that day.

#9: T.S. Eliot – Mostly just a pussy.

Remember when his wife went insane and was institutionalized and then he never spoke to her again? Sure sure, Virginia Woolf called his wife Viv a “bag of ferrets,” and when Virginia Woolf calls somebody crazy… But to me she sounds like a Lucille Ball: “Tom, can I be in your poem?” Her portrait as a goodhearted lunatic extends right down to the 5am police call reporting her wandering around the city asking if T.S. Eliot has been beheaded yet. In any case, Eliot was kind of a misogynist and tended to describe women as oversexed and smelly.

#8: Jane Austen – Dude, no thanks.

Oh, Jane Austen is female? Really? My bad. It’s hard to assign a gender to those bulbous baggy eyes and sloping shoulders. Here’s how “she” was crappy to women: She glorifies uptight chicks. Have you ever noticed her fangirls tend to be on the highstrung “virtuous” side? Do you like Fanny from Mansfield Park? No? She was Austen’s favorite character. Yeah. And who really wants to be like Elizabeth Bennett? I would rather be drinking with the officers with Lydia or plotting who’s going to get married off, with Mrs. Bennett.

#7: William Shakespeare – Whatever.

Not mean to Anne Hathaway (not the vapid actress from Love & Other Drugs, everyone’s mean to her) and I’m still willing to forgive The Taming of the Shrew as his attempt at “feminism in sympathy.” But Christ, why do his women always have to be so crazy as to warrant intervention from Sassy Gay Friend?

#6: Ernest Hemingway – Probably just bitter.

There was a woman. Not in many stories, but some. She was somehow always inadequate.

#5: Leo Tolstoy – I’m glad you’re dead.

His wife Sofia copied War & Peace by hand eight times, had 13 of his kids, and helped him publish books about women that he screwed while married to her (Resurrection). And yes, she was pissed when he wanted to leave the entirety of his estate to his weird cult instead of support her and their children (and sure she may have killed him but we don’t really know that for sure.)

#4: Jack Kerouac – Should’ve been a model and then I wouldn’t care.

In addition to being kind of a no-talent hack, he disregards women for everything except the satisfaction of physical needs (food and sex). Although he really was handsome, damn it.

#3: Somerset Maugham – A negative nancy (did I say that?)

It would have sucked to be a gay guy in the early 20th century in England, since it was illegal and stuff. Sorry about that, Maughy. But here’s the thing, it’s totes OK to say: “women do have sexual appetites and I’m not attracted to them, in fact I consider them my rivals in gettin’ with attractive men.” But you didn’t. You called all your ladies ugly and set them below men in terms of controlling their sexual appetites. And let’s be honest, that doesn’t happen often enough to realistically happen in every short story, novel and play you wrote.

#2: John Updike – A talented cad.

God damn it. I like him. I like him a lot. How many wives has he had? Only two? Then why does it seem like more? Because he’s always talking about cheating on his wife and getting divorced. That’s why.
He also makes me feel all insecure and judged as a woman when I read him. Probably because he compared women to empty museums filled with men’s art.

#1: Norman Mailer – Scum.

There’s nothing wrong with writing about rough sex. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with rough sex in general. But there is something wrong with this guy’s subpar work when the attitudes of his characters parallel the crap that’s gone down in his real life. Like stabbing his wife with a penknife at a party and almost killing her (who the hell does that?) and punching his 6 months pregnant wife. How many wives have there been? There have been six. And when his last one had cancer he wouldn’t even sleep in the same wing of the house with her because the disease disgusted him that much. My professor’s crazy friend grabbed him by the cajones in the 1980s for good reason. She should have pulled harder and done us all a favor. TC mark

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  • Chriss

    MASSIVE FAIL

  • Thtsmyrugbystik

    I feel like you really missed the mark by not including Bukowski.  

    • http://twitter.com/galette_rois Julian Galette

      I was going to post this exact same thing.

      Also: Dr. Seuss. 

  • thejessness

    you totally missed Roald Dahl. wow, just wow: http://bit.ly/iYV1NK

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      I don’t think he ranks on this list simply because it’s taken until the last few years for people to say anything about him aside from “really great children’s author”.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      I don’t think he ranks on this list simply because it’s taken until the last few years for people to say anything about him aside from “really great children’s author”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000494213255 Kelsey Dixon

    where is bret easton ellis on this list??

  • http://www.facebook.com/TomSmizzle Tom Smith

    I thought “What? Hemingway’s only 5?” but I haven’t actually read anything by the guys above him so whatever I guess.
    People were assholes back in the past. Not like today.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      NOT AT ALL! (See following comment.)

  • lkitz

    Did you seriously just call Kerouac a “no-talent hack”? Seriously? Just because you don’t like someone’s work doesn’t mean they’re not talented. Maybe you just don’t have the intellectual capacity, or simply haven’t dedicated enough time, to understand Kerouac’s work and the monumental impact it had, and still has, on literature and culture. I could write a whole book with support on how wrong you are, but I prefer to spend my time on better things, like reading Kerouac.

    • sm

      …and posting douchey, condscending comments on random internet articles.

      • lkitz

        I don’t consider standing up for my favorite author, who was quite talented and respected, to be “douchey.” Also, check your spelling and grammar before you comment.

  • Hex

    Fun list!! Also reasonable ranking. Let’s not forget William Burroughs and his failed William Tell trick with his wife. Or the French philosopher Althusser who strangled his, in a rather literal act of  interpellation.  Bukowski is just all-around awful. The swinishness where women are concerned is really just symptomatic.

    • SisterRay73

      I really don’t think you can lump William Burroughs in with classically misogynist writers. The William Tell thing was an accident that he grieved over for the rest of his life – he wasn’t like “oh, here’s this disposable bitch, I’m gonna shoot at her, whatever.” Which is how some of these other writers in this list may have approached it…

  • mashka

    what da fuq

  • Wendy

    Amazing list! As I scrolled down I was thinking “where’s Mailer, where’s Mailer — bingo!” Definitely Bret Easton Ellis would have been a good edition, but how the heck do you narrow it down? Also, Kerouac WAS a hack. Truman Capote said of him, “That’s not writing, it’s typing.”

    • lkitz

      …because Capote is the know-all expert on what is and isn’t literature?

      • Anonymous

        Seriously. Capote was an incredible writer, and one whose works I enjoy very much. But Kerouac and Capote were from two entirely different worlds: it’s completely natural that a Southern Gothic writer would find nothing of value in Beat. Especially one as catty as Capote.

      • Anonymous

        Seriously. Capote was an incredible writer, and one whose works I enjoy very much. But Kerouac and Capote were from two entirely different worlds: it’s completely natural that a Southern Gothic writer would find nothing of value in Beat. Especially one as catty as Capote.

  • Katgeorge

    Thank-you re: Kerouac, although I disagree re: Austen. And I’d like to add D.H Lawrence to the list. In fact, make him #1. This was a really good read, thanks! xx

  • http://twitter.com/caaalebbb Caleb Reidy

    the thing about Tolstoy and Resurrection is way off.

  • http://twitter.com/caaalebbb Caleb Reidy

    the thing about Tolstoy and Resurrection is way off.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    Pilar from For Whom the Bell Tolls is one of the strongest female characters in American literature, why does no one remember that?

  • Guest

    Missed Sartre. But yes, this is funny, you should do a part 2. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    Aside from everyone suggesting better people to add to the list, I liked this whole thing. I’m sure there are tons of other douchey, misogynistic writers, but it’s not like all of them can be in one list.

    Either way, this was cool.

  • Jbenson

    this is great

  • OliverJazz

    Any half decent literature student could do better than this. When you are writing about / criticizing writers you should write well and with style, anything else makes you look stupid. You should’ve been a bit more witty and do some more research on the subject to make this funny  – now you strike as a blathering dilletante. There’s nothing wrong in the subject, this article just needs to be re-written by someone else – someone who actually knows literature and how to write. 

    • Hex

      I’m a professor of literature, tenured and published even, and I thought it was hilarious. So there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

        ZING!

      • OliverJazz

        Is Abby one of your pupils?

  • Brennon

    Also, VS Naipaul, who claimed that there is no woman writer, living or dead, whom he considers his equal.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/02/vs-naipaul-jane-austen-women-writers

  • Jesse Small

    You know, there was that Burroughs fella who shot his wife in the head because he drunkenly thought he was William Tell…

  • Anonymous

    Interesting concept. But VS Naipaul needs to be on any misogynistic list both for his legendary verbal and physical abuse of his wife and mistress but also for his most recent remarks about how women can never be as good writers as men. Also, don’t see necessity of David Foster Wallace listing – think it’s a bit cruel.

  • Youramericanlover

    Totes obvious list on a totes obvious topic – but this article’s greatest crime is that it’s not funny. And why write like this? ‘Totes’? ‘Yeah’? ‘Just a pussy’? I guess you think it passes because maybe you’ve written on internet dating sites, or vintage tumblr porn etc in the past, but when you write prose discussing these authors…well, I admire your courage. But it’s awful.

    Now can I try?

    “Arundhati Roy is totes a cunt becuz of her annoying activism. It’s like, darling, let the Indian revolutionary class speak for themselves, girl!”

    “Janette Winterson needs to like relax and just lezz out in her books. All this Foucoult/post-sexualism Christian repression is booooooorrrrinnggggg!”

    See how awful it is?

  • Ginger

    You should probably stick to Eat Pray Love ..

  • http://twitter.com/BenoitLelievre Benoît Lelièvre

    Wallace was depressed. I think you never read his stories if you think he should’ve stayed alive by empathy. On top of that, I don’t think of his suicide as a sexism act. He left Karen Green good money. I feel worse for his dogs.

    • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

      Yeah, I am really, really struggling to figure out how DFW’s depression == his being awful to women. Fuck that.

    • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

      Yeah, I am really, really struggling to figure out how DFW’s depression == his being awful to women. Fuck that.

    • Janga

      Agreed, the opinion on Wallace is really ignorant.

  • http://twitter.com/HipsterFriend HipsterFriend

    I stopped reading after you called Kerouac a hack. I should’ve stopped reading after your misogynist description of Austen (whose work I deplore, but respect) as a physical entity first before actually talking about her writing.

    I used to be too cool to respect work I didn’t like. Then I turned 16.

    • http://twitter.com/tashny Tashny Sukumaran

      i love you

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    Loved it, except that your analysis of Hemingway is off. He didn’t find women inadequate, he found men (and himself) inadequate.

    • Vvv

      nice save!

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