Every once in a while I get it into my head that I need to read or see something that affected American culture in a big way--things I didn't get to read or see when they came out because I was simply too young. Sometimes, like in the case of Jaws, the result is an incredible experience. The Godfather is a film I didn't watch until a year ago. As a film, it's an interesting take on crime fiction. I understand why it had such a huge impact. It's an amazing movie. I'm reading the novel now, and I'm a good third to half-way through it. Again, I see why it had such influence. It's a masterful, character-driven tale. The male characters (I would say good or bad except all are apparently bad) are deep and interesting and well-rounded. Even the crocked Irish cop who gets bumped off in the infamous restaurant scene, who gets very little screen time as it were, is fleshed out.
But the characters who happen to be women are the most trite, stereotypical, cartoonish wastes of text I've come across since reading Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and since I've read a number of the Sharp's books that's saying something.
Holy crap. The Godfather's wife is a ghost who is "a sixteen year old girl he married who wasn't much of a looker but was a great housewife." The Godfather's daughter is "a spoiled little girl" who marries a violent abuser and thus, becomes the crazy woman. Her maid of honor at her wedding is a slut with a large vaginal opening who is only satisfied by giant cocks--because of course she is. In Hollywood, we see slutty starlets and slutty wanna-be starlets, stage mothers, and little girl sexual abuse victims--because the only way a woman (or girl) makes it in Hollywood is via the casting couch, apparently. The author never met a stereotype of a woman he didn't lovingly write. Even Kay, the only substantive female character thus far, is half-formed, but largely her role is to be the reader's stand-in, the innocent outsider who has no clue and who sleeps with the main character. She also vanishes once the story gets rolling. As if that weren't bad enough, women are hand-fed lines no woman would ever utter. Things like the fawning, "We women don't understand friendship. Men do." WTF? And just in case we readers aren't clear on the author's real feelings about women..I've just slogged through a long passage about how traitorous, greedy, ambitious, and wanton women are, and yet, the Frank Sinatra stand-in character can't bring himself to hate them. Gee whiz. Isn't that open-minded of him? He's such a nice man who screws around, lies to his partners, leaves his family, and expects his ex-wives to never remarry, let alone date after he leaves them. [bangs head on desk]
Some people will no doubt say that if the men in the book are evil, then so are the women. That everyone gets painted with the same brush. I call bullshit. The male characters get to be painted as three-dimensional evil people. The women (and girls) are amateurly sketched film noir cartoons the male characters stick their dicks into, beat up, or kill. For now, I'll continue reading. The rest of the book is worth sorting through the raging misogyny. However, if I have to wade through another long soliloquy about the awful and stupid creatures women are...I may not get through this thing.