Boss….

Oh I am sure you have already seen and ranted on this ad. It is actually so bad ( one who got what product is being advertised will get a gift of Manchurian Masala), that it is surprising for it to have hit so many nerves.

Perhaps its pseudo-realstic- pretentious progressivism-gone-horribly- wrong is the reason for the mass rants against it. And perhaps the fact that we are smarter in spotting sexism these days.

This is why I am going to link it and proceed to rant about it myself:):)

After years of ‘woman is the CEO/boss of the house’ useless-pat-on-the back trope, we get a ridiculously sexist ad that shows a female boss telling her subordinate-at-workplace husband to stay back to do extra work at office, and then proceeding to go home and cook him a delicious meal and seductively asking him to come back to enjoy the said food.

Lest you think this lady is somewhat cuckoo in her head- because didn’t she ask him to stay back herself? Short term memory a. la. Aamir Khan in Ghajini? Or someone with a split personality like Aparichit? ( Hey, these popular Indian movies are totally accurate in depiction of any mental disorder, OK? Don’t be so snooty).

Noo… you realise she is a good Indian wife, who makes it up to her subordinate-at -work husband by cooking for him. After all, aren’t we all Indian women supposed to do that? Get good grades, earn well, look pretty in short hair and go on to cook perfect meals for our husbands?

Note ladies, that she softly says ‘sorry guys, you will have to just do it’ when her team complains about the timelines. Those of you whose boss said sorry to you, before asking you to stay back after-hours, please stop reading the post now.

OK, now for the rest of the 99% of the mortals who have continued reading this post- note that she looks slightly abashed- especially when she sees the disappointment on her team’s face and even asks her teammate ‘how is it going’, with a kind and considerate tone( we don’t know he is her husband yet.) Because if you want people to like a woman, especially a woman in power, you have to show her ‘soft’ side,lest people call her a bitch.

She looks tranquil in the car. Soft. Pondering. Soft. Sensitive. Soft.

And then she launches into WIFE MODE by asking her husband ‘Rohit’ ( the 21st century default Indian male name that replaced the erstwhile ‘Rahul’ of the 1990s) about what would he like to eat tonight. Because the moment a woman gets a free moment after a gruelling day at work, she likes to think about her husband’s dinner. It is totally natural. All of you, who after a long workday DON’T sprawl on sofa watching your favourite TV show over food cooked by someone else, or at least fantasize about it, please stop reading this post now.

OK, I see 99% of my readers are still reading.

Voila, she twists her hair in a pony at home, ponders about the contents of the fridge philosophically and rustles up a decidedly Udupi looking Chinese meal.

Then Rohit – the same team mate forced to stay back for work gets a call from ‘Wife.’ He sardonically replies ‘ Aaj late hoga. Boss ne bahut jam diya hai.’ ( Biiiiitch!!!)

Wife, who turns out to the said boss( Creative minds!! fantastic idea!!! whatta genius conceptualisation), sends him the video of the meal she lovingly prepared for him.

NOW, NOW, NOW WE GET THE PRODUCT which paid for this ad.

Those who DIDN’T think that the ad was for electrical kitchen appliance or a new brand of Indo-Chinese sauce, please stop reading this post.

OK, now for the rest of the 99% mortals still reading this post. The wife whispers seductively on the phone, ‘Boss ko bolo wife ne ghar bulaya hai’.

Then, the airtel tune starts and you realise that this piece of shit was actually an ad for 3 G connection. You sit quietly contemplating thousands of years of human evolution and how you always hated that Airtel tune and how right you were to pick up Vodafone. (Because how can this brain-dead ‘modern couple’ even compete with a cute pug?)

For all of you who DIDN’T think this woman is quite scary with her short-term memory loss and split personality and Udupi meal, a round of applause. Maybe you haven’t been watching instructive movies like Ghajini and Aparichit.

And a moral of the story for the remaining 99% of mere mortals. Here goes. Quite unintentionally , the ad makers have hit on the exact disorder that our society suffers from. That women are expected to have two distinct personalities: Modern professional woman outside and traditional wife/ mother/ daughter at home. They need to have a short term memory. Wipe out the BOSS identity as soon as you leave office and slip into WIFE identity.

You can be a boss with a corner office, have short hair, wear Sonia Gandhiesque sarees, ride in a chauffeur driven car, earn more money than your husband. But you have to slip into the ideal Indian wife mode as soon as you are in private sphere.

Otherwise, the balance of power just might tilt and patriarchy will shake. SCARY THOUGHT!!!

The ad stupidly celebrates the schizophrenia of our patriarchal society and I won’t even link the garden variety dumb excuses of ‘ WOMEN LIKE TO COOK FOR THEIR HUSBANDS SO WHAT IS WRONG IN SHOWING THE REALITY WHAAAAAA WHAAAA’ thrown by the ad makers and supporters of this ad alike.

But the good news is, that the ad has ruffled many feathers. And people are debating the ad, which has opened up a dialogue about the double shift many Indian women are ‘forced to do’ ( unlike ‘choose to do’ according to defenders of this ad). This is good news that ads like these don’t get a free pass for being covertly sexist. A debate on this ad is especially welcome because,

Because it pretends to be realistic unlike hundreds of ads that show sparkling women talking about detergent or their kids schoolbag as if it was some life-or-death issue.

Because it pretends to be progressive by showing a lady boss and goes on to justify the prevalent sexism in the society by perpetuating the worst and most dangerous stereotypes about women.

Because showing short-haired-lady-boss doesn’t make you a progressive.

Because it refuses to show a powerful woman who doesn’t look guilty in front of her subordinates for doing her job.

Because it reflects the pseudo-equal modern Indian marriage that women are calling out for what it is- a pseudo equal relationship built on age old stereotypes.

Because it champions the ultimate status of modern Indian man as ‘ boss in marriage’ and brushes his insecurities about the rising power of women.

And ALSO because it comes across as advertising CHINGS UDUPI SCHEZWAN CHAUPATI SAUCE and not a 3G CONNECTION.

There.

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Bridge ( Bron/ Broen) season 2..

(I was looking in my archive and was shocked to see that I hadn’t published this post!! Especially since it deals with my 2 obsessions neatly wrapped in 10 episodes of pure bliss. Scandinavian Crime and Lady Detectives!)

bron
Bridge 2. Or Bron/ Broen 2 as it is called in original Danish/ Swedish. Speechlessly great, astounding tv. You know why you should watch this show even if you don’t watch anything else ( other than the equally brilliant first season)?

Outstanding Female characters.
So so non-cliched. It is a pleasure to see shows where women are shown as people. From heroic to bad ass villains to ordinary people caught in life’s complexities. The sheer range of women characters in Bridge- from cops to activists to lovers to tycoons to bitter troublemakers is huge. And there are no thin, young, suspiciously smooth-faced actors there. These women look and feel real and purposeful. Their individuality, intelligence, sexuality is so human, that watching something like Bridge painfully makes you aware of the sexism in virtually every other show.

Saga Noren.
The emotionally distant and inhumanly brilliant Saga gets a painful back story in this season, but the writers do not try to lazily explain Saga away. Saga epitomizes everything about the show. The morality, value system, detached honesty, cool rationality and a sweetly dark humour that makes you happy to be imperfect. The sheer range of this character makes me speechless. She is Lisbeth Salander’s nemesis – with a law rulebook in her hand. Saga tries hard to follow social norms in this season, mostly with hilarious outcome. She is trying hard to be in a relationship too and has memorised all the popular wisdom about modern relationships. Her desperate and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to be part of the normal society actually end up exposing the inherent hypocrisy of the world. Saga, ultimately, is so pure and adorable that you want to protect her from humanity. Not that she would let anyone do that.

Martin.
The intensely huggable and possessing merriest sparkly eyes with the best smile on TV papa bear, Martin is battling his demons from season 1. He is self-destructive in such a relatable way that you want to extend your hand towards the screen and stop him from treading the path that you know will harm him and his dear ones. Saga is perhaps the only one he relates to and is genuinely fond of without any complications. Martin is like you and me- weak, vulnerable, susceptible to temptations but ultimately a nice guy who desperately wants to do the right things.

Partnership.
Saga and Martin is one of the best detective partners in recent times. They are poles apart but are bound by their obsession with work and mutual respect/ affection for each other. Their friendship is priceless for both of them and is the only steady anchor in their rocky lives. In this season also Saga saves Martin’s family. Martin continues mentoring Saga in social niceties and being protective about her, albeit to disastrous results. When these two characters come together in one frame, it crackles with chemistry and camaraderie. Non romantic partnership between an eccentric woman and a more conventional and caring man seems to be the latest Scandinavian gender-bending formula, see Girl with Dragon Tattoo Series, The Killing. Saga and Martin seem like a classic detective pair- a cool, uber-rational, slightly superhuman genius ( Sherlock Holmes) is paired with a warm, genial partner ( a pumped up version of Watson) and the two form lasting friendship. But life is more complex than simple formulas and The Bridge shows us just how so. Towards the end of the show my stomach was twisted in knots with fear that our beloved pair might break off their friendship. The climax, was not unexpected but gut-wrenching nonetheless.

Lack of clichés:
Anything clichéd is going to be demolished in this show. If you, like I, try to be smart and predict the outcome- you will fall flat on your face. Because Bridge 2 is on a mission to give you characters, motives, clues and turn of events that twist the genre and your norms till they are unrecognisable. Seriously. Anything can happen in this show. So make sure not to form too many attachments and cling to any Sherlockian theories here- you will be deeply humiliated.

Emotional pitch:

I was watching the last episodes literally with bated breath, i.e., when you hold your breath for too long and your throat and jaw aches from too much emotion. The show peels away the characters and lays them bare. There is cruelty and honesty in the way we see the battle of conflicting emotions. Every lined face, every leafless tree, the dreary weather, race against time, disappointments, surprises crackle with muted tension. If it was not for Saga’s ‘I want to be normal’ humour, the show would have been unbearable in its sheer intensity.

Storytelling:

Even with a slightly sloppy and disappointing final answer to the mystery , the overall unrevealing of the suspense of the show is pitch-perfect, edge-of-the-seat. Which is not surprising knowing it is the Bridge we are talking about. There is very little one can talk without spoilers, so let me just say that your nerves will be fried in delicious anticipation when you watch the show.

Acting:

See it. Can’t be lauded enough. Can’t be reviewed. Just see it. Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia are gods. And while Saga is a more challenging character, I think Bodnia’s Martin is my most favourite performance in the show.

Humanity:

Finally, the real success of the show is the deep, very relatable and very very moving humanity that envelops every character, every event, every motive. Be it extreme ideologies or misguided people or dysfunctional relationships- this show champions the imperfect humanity in all of us in a manner that is brutal and still filled with love. Does this make sense? After watching Bridge, I am unable to watch anything else because it just feels so fake and shallow and wannabe.

In nutshell, see the show. And be happy that such TV is being made and we are being able to watch it.

(I was looking in my archive and was shocked to see that I hadn’t published this post!! Especially since it deals with my 2 obsessions neatly wrapped in 10 episodes of pure bliss. Scandinavian Crime and Lady Detectives!)

Borgen Season 3

borgen 3

I managed to finish Borgen Season 3. It is not only better than season 1 and season 2 ( which were outstanding) it is simply the best TV I have seen in ages.

Birgitte has quit active politics after two successful terms as prime-minister. She is in private industry now and travels across the globe for work. A particularly alarming law being passed in Denmark forces her back in politics. What follows is a heady cocktail of political shenanigans, ideological conflicts, moral dilemmas, new loves, health scares and following your ideals while still winning the game.

birgitte
Nyborg is simple the best character I have seen on TV in many many years. Heroic, inspirational, grounded in reality and morally complex. Sidse Knudsen’s performance is so nuanced and dazzling that she is my most favourite actor right now.

This season in particular is epitome of what the world loves about Scandinavian shows and fiction. A pitch perfect story telling flawlessly combining moral positioning, gravitas, unpredictability, broken stereotypes, pacy storytelling, identifiable situations, array of realistic characters put in difficult situations and a whole lot of edge-of-seat twists.

As a feminist- what a huuuuuggggee relief to see no cookie-cutter stereotypical female characters. Women are shown to be normal human beings- phew!! Neither their motherhood or loverhood overshadows the key focus of the show- What constitutes a great leader in today’s complex world.

I also loved the secondary track of life in Newsroom. Again- morally complex and a step ahead of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/ hangover that every show about news media suffers from.

More well-known political shows like House of Cards or Newsroom don’t hold a candle to this masterpiece.

I am simply spellbound. I want to shift to Scandinavia like right now.

Yet another Parents vs. Childfree mediocrity that I shouldn’t pay attention to, but did anyway, so read on

This article , elegantly titled ‘Once We Become Parents We Don’t Want to Hang Out With You Anymore (But Not for the Reasons You Think)’ , has been forwarded to me by so many people, that it is beginning to look like ‘hint.. hint’, though most of the people who have done so, are childfree themselves. So I don’t get why they would send me an op-ed by a parent, explaining ( or parent-splaining, according to STFU, Parents) to her child-free friends why she can’t socialize with them any more.

Because the fact that the new parents have to care for a baby is not obvious enough reason for them not burning the midnight Margaritas?

I don’t get this really. I mean I get it that publications want controversially titled articles like these to keep those clicks coming and parenting seems to be hot potato when it comes to controversy. Or that people ( like moi) want to participate in an ongoing dialogue about shifts in culture. Whooo- that sounds soooo cerebral. Nope, we just want to read these and take out our comment-swords to prove-once and for all- that our choice is DA BEST OF ALL BITCHES.

Of course one knows that caring for children is exhausting. One knows that young parents would like to bond with their kid. My husband stops talking to me the minute some new game is launched- because he wants to bond with it. I will not socialize if my mother comes to visit because I want to spend maximum time with her.

IT IS COMMON SENSE.

Here we are talking about a kid who is completely dependent on you for survival. Plus because HE/SHE is the new entry in the family, not to mention this world, the parents are trying to figure out like a billion things. Plus they want to bond with the baby and spend all available time with her. Where is the rocket science and medieval poetry here?

If the parent wants to socialize – he or she will. They will need to figure out a schedule for themselves and if they really want to- they will. If they don’t want to because their priorities have changed- accept it and move on. It is not a personal attack on your friendship but simple dynamics of life.

Yes, as many commentators point out- it would be equally dumb for the parents to assume that their child-free friends should drop their life and rush to your side for a sympathetic ear as soon as there is an opening in their busy life. Parents tend to do that, but I am yet to meet a parent who does that out of some evil intention. If you point out that what you are doing is important to you, very few people would trivialize it. At least on your face. And if they do so-you better unfriend them.

I agree with common complaint that many parents can be absolutely smug and martyrly and tad boring especially if they drone about their kids. I also know people who are smug and martyrly and tad boring when they drone about their jobs. Or their home decor. Or their exercise routine. Or diet. So let us accept there is a fair amount of boring and smug and martyrly individuals in human race. And if you choose to spend time with them, you need to accept them.

I have parent friends and my best friend is a very devoted parent. But majority of my circle is composed of child-free or of few parents who actively make an effort to hang out with us ( and we do out best to accommodate their very real needs) and it sort of indicates that people drift apart when life takes a different track. For 99% of the married adults, it is having kids. And they drift towards other parents for obvious reasons. If they wanted to stick around with you, they would have.

It is their choice.

And here is where I have a bit of a problem with this article because it is insincere by pretending to be an honest, in-your-face dialogue. Because it doesn’t address the smugness and the superiority complex many parents/ forums display, rather it perpetuates it by going in details of parental duties, that are hallmark of martyr parenthood discourse. Everyone knows that a dependent human being like a baby increases workload. Really, however tough it might be to accept, one doesn’t need to be a parent to know that babies don’t go to toilet for shitting. Or that they can’t drive themselves to the doctor. Or that they need to be taught a lot of basic skills. Parents , safely assume that the rest of the world knows that baby= additional workload. Now could we lay off the laundry and sleepless nights and all the other details please? At least a bit?

This article conveniently forgets to address the fact that parents not only not socialize, but also feel superior while choosing not to. That in most of the cultures being a parent is elevated as the most important duty of an adult and people who might not choose this calling are somehow deemed inferior by mainstream.

Basically, like most others of its ilk, this article talks down to the child-free by assuming they are dumb idiots who still want to party nude while stoned on an island reachable only by a canoe ALL THE TIME, without caring if your kid is sick.

I am typing this article after emerging from a beach party stoned and nude for example.

A dog is NOT a substitute baby!!

Every now and then trend spotting stories like this article appears in American media trying to stir controversy and generate heated comments.

According to this article published last week, more and more young, educated women in New York are choosing dogs over kids.

Aarrrrrgggghhhh. Or rather, BHOOOWWWW WOWWWW…

As a young ( ahem!) couple who chose not to have kids and love our dog to bits, we routinely clarify that our dog is not a replacement for a child.

The article quotes supporting data ( of course!!).

‘Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a big drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with a huge increase in the number of tiny pooches owned by young US women, reports the business-news site Quartz. ‘

A comment on the article succinctly sums up our ( and I suspect many others’) sentiments :

“There’s definitely some replacement happening there.” UGH! Replacement? How about DIFFERENT choice. Everything a woman does – run a business, take care of her parents, travel, get a cute pooch, ANYTHING – it is considered replacement. Cuz you know, a woman ONLY wants to have kids so she’ll replace that need/want/yearning/desire/biological pull with something else.”

We have come across, from well meaning to smug to totally clueless comments on how we might ‘think’ that our dog is a replacement for a child, but he is not, and we are deluded and we will realise it when it is too late and what is wrong with people who think a dog can replace a child, blehh blehh blehh..

My polite answer is always as follows.

“It is VERY simple. We love dogs, since we both were kids. We wanted dog forever and got him when we could. We will have more when we move out of the city. Our dream for future features multiple dogs and cats – it is super high priority. We never wanted kids and thus never had one. These two have nothing, repeat, NOTHING to do with each other. We are knowledgeable enough to understand the difference between two totally different species with totally different life-cycles. Sorry to bust your ignorant presumptions.”

I wonder where this logic of ‘replacement’ comes from. After all,people with kids routinely have dogs. My parents had two kids and dozens of cats and couple of dogs since I remember. So did most of our family friends. Majority of pet videos feature kids. And virtually every ad about a canine product features the lush golden retriever playing with a kid as the loving parents look on. What replacement are they looking for? Some hypothetical kid who died in the condom???

I think the confusion comes from what people see- the affection, the attachment, the innocence, the dependence that pets and their humans have for each other. It ‘sounds’ like a baby-parent relationship.

Why don’t we safely assume that adults know the difference between a homo-sepien and a Canis lupus: two totally different species altogether. Hell, that is an easy difference to spot. It is not like toad and frog, who require you to get in-depth of their characteristics to identify them correctly. A dog has a tail, and walks on four legs after all- HUUUUGE difference from a tiny human with two legs and no tail, no??

Just because people are called pet-parents( definitely a better term than owners, but I prefer just ‘ XYZ’s humans’ ) and cuddle with their pets to death, and love to take care of them, and some even go to ridiculous heights of pampering , doesn’t mean that they are some second-rate substitute for a baby one never wanted in the first place!!

We and many others like us- with or without kids, have made and are ready to make adjustments to our lives to accommodate pets because we love these animals and we enjoy spending time with them and feel fulfilment with them.

It is not rocket science to realise that people for thousands of years have loved their pets and vice versa, because, NEWSFLASH- every goddamn thing on this earth is not only about human beings . We are capable of loving non-humans without comparing them to ourselves. It is a beautiful and liberating expereience to love pet animals and care for them like a member of the family and be loved and cared for by them. One doesn’t have to be an animal activist living with Gorillas for a decade or a sobbing non-parent burying her face in the dog’s fur while dreaming about a cute baby to do that!!

Ask my dog who will promptly tell you that he loves his humans NOT as a replacement-canines, but for what we are. It is quite telling that the smug human beings don’t have that clarity and wisdom!!

Another nonsensical lip service a.k.a MOTHERHOOD IS THE TOUGHEST JOB EVER…

Another ‘pat on your back plus hollow lip service‘ message for mothers.

From President Obama to your neighbourhood Facebook banshees, everyone screams hoarse on how motherhood is the world’s toughest job, like EVER EVER EVER…

Yes ladies, bring forth that Gajar Ka Halwa or its modern childcare equivalent, be garlanded for your holy martyrdom and shut-up about your postpartum depression. You might be a commissioner of the police or a prime-minister, it is NOTHING as compared to the celestial and 24 hr. job of being a mamma. Do not dare to ask for privileges, or equality, because hey, we all know it is also THE MOST REWARDING WORK YOU WOULD EVER DO EVER..

Forget the coal miners or women labourers who break their backs doing construction work for 18 hrs. or finance minister working on annual budget of the country or a social worker working tirelessly with child prostitutes… well, you get the drift.

I really wonder if mothers buy this kind of nonsense? Going by media coverage, a significant number of them do. And other mothers, thank god, call out the hypocrisy and the saccharine sweet gender stereotyping such messages re-enforce. This is a sophisticated version of the Nirupa Roy syndrome Mothers. No hunky Vijay is going to save you from baddies or take revenge or raise you from poverty kyunki mere paas maaa hai!!

It is one thing to recognise the tremendously valuable work of child raring that (largely) women do, for no money, meaningless titles of CEO of the HOUSEHOLD notwithstanding. And it is another to give this dumbified messages which would raise the hackles of any self-respecting woman or man, mother/parent or not.

Marriage, murder, etc. Part 1

Hitchcock, the maestro of suspense and morbidity, introduced his iconic show ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents succinctly. ‘ Television has brought back murder in home, where it belongs.’ Said the man who loved to wring our nerves to bits by creating the best suspense ever.

Now the hot selling ‘Marriage thrillers’ are taking up the book world by storm and Hitchcock would have loved it to his morbid pits. Marriages turned sour or plain boring, cheating spouses, deadly secrets, subtle mind games and usually a couple of dead bodies, voila, a successful book that is usually marketed with a tagline, ‘if you liked Gone Girl…’

Gone Girl is a book too clever for its own good, and sexist to boot, but addictive nonetheless. I have devoured almost all the recco readalikes from 2012 onwards and some are good, some bad, some excellent. Overall, I love the premise of intimacy of relationship gone putrid, and these books take a special pleasure in ‘twisted’. If you like Gothic genre, which is also fantastic from feminist point of view, (A post on it some other time.), you will see how this new trend heavily borrows from it. This article does a great job listing these classic female noir writers. (I am not a big fan of the classic noir, but it is interesting how these women writers were sidelined completely in a genre that celebrated depression era angst and virulent sexism at its worst.)

Marriage thriller, typically features a couple in troubled relationship, with a few deadly secrets and eventually a nasty meltdown, usually resulting in a dead body or two. Or three. The writing is evocative, full of tiny details that string the relationship, psychologically nuanced and smart/witty. An elegant morbidity a la Hitchcock hangs in the air, poisoning it oh so daintily, till the facades are torn and ugliness wipes out the oaths of ’till death do us part’.

There are several reasons quoted for the success of this trend. I agree with some of the analysis. After all,intimate relationships ( spouses, lovers, friends, parents, colleagues) are always potent with power dynamics. And it is very easy for power to turn abusive, for abuse to turn violent, for violence to turn bloody. The tiny details that make the relationship dynamic simmer, make for a delicious brew that slowly drips venom in the guise of sweet, normal moments of togetherness.

I also think the trend owes its success to crumbling of marriage as an institution. On one hand, the wedding business has gone through the roof ( it is only business that was not hit by recession, according to a close friend who is a successful wedding photographer), but the naiveté that accompanied the premise of marriage is no more sacrosanct. Virtually everywhere in the world women are asking for divorce in higher numbers and the stereotype of a ‘pathetic middle aged divorcee’ is drowned by high earning power of ( many, if not all) women of a certain class.

But think it boils down to a simple truth: women, like men, want to read interesting and thrilling stories featuring women, and men.

So far, majority of your typical interesting stories in crime/ action genre marginalised women’s experiences , and/or only authorised certain experiences seen from a certain perspective as worthy of being told, and/or ignored a woman’s point of view by making female characters objects rather than active subjects. Now, we have women writers topping bestseller lists in crime genre, writing about diversity of experiences that treat women as people capable of an array of choices in life and women are dominating the readership, thus driving trends.

Many, if not all, writers of this genre are women, and if publishers are to be believed, so are the readers.

What do you expect happens then? Hmm… women’s lit!! Or chick-lit!! Or in this case, Chick Noir.

Because women are ‘women’ while men are people. When men write, produce films, paint, shit, fuck, it is people doing all the said things. When women do the same, it is ‘women’s $#%&’.

And that’s what annoys me, this tag- Chick Noir, that accompanies any dark book which is told from female point of view or has a female character that is not a masturbatory fantasy of a male writer. Like that annoying term ‘Chick Lit’, ‘Chick Noir’ dumps all women writers writing about ‘relationships gone sour’ into one condescending bucket.

Because art that is produced for women or by women is almost always looked down upon, in virtually every culture.

Had Flynn been a male writer or had not written about marriage, but say, about two buddies who play mind games with each other, she would be hailed as 21st Century’s Raymond Chandler. Nobody calls Thomas Harris a ‘serial killer dick lit’ guy, do they, just because he happens to write about serial killers? And you know what, they would have dumped him in the Chick Noir category had he included another strong character like Clarice in his novels and not resorted to Hannibal Lecter fanboyness.

Agatha Christie, the original Queen of Crime escaped the label sheerly because of her male detective, Poirot, while Miss Marple is a far more original detective. Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and other Gothic masterpieces with marriage as a violent catalyst are, well, masterpieces, so they can’t be branded as the offensive ‘chick’ label, can they now?

Sometimes, I want to own this ‘chick %$#%’ label and raise my middle finger. Yes, we are ‘chick’ readers who happen to read about ‘chicks’ who do all sorts of interesting things in a great story. Murder, or invent sci-fi machines, or turn nasty, or do brave acts, or kick ass, or survive in outer space, or rid the world of impending disaster, or teach young kids, or travel around the world looking for redemption.

Because women are people too, I know it is tough to swallow this dramatic truth for majority of ‘man’kind. But it is true. Women’s experiences have been marginalised so far, but it is high time we stopped labelling them as ‘women’s experiences and start looking at them as ‘human’ experiences.

More on some of these popular Marriage thriller books you should read whether you are chicks are not, whether you are married or not, whether you are in a relationship or not, in part 2.