So the other day Esquire published its list of the 75 books every man should read. We noted that there was only one woman on the list, Flannery O'Connor, and this was their commentary on her book of short stories, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, starting with an excerpt of hers: "She would of been a good woman... if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.' Wouldn't we all." Now it appears that Esquire is trying to throw the lady writers a bone by highlighting seven women who have written features in the 75-year history of the magazine.The women included in the list — Joan Didion, Martha Gellhorn, Susan Orlean and Simone de Beauvoir among them — are certainly impressive, but Esquire does not include any female writers from the past decade, and the representative passages they chose from these literary lionesses are pretty insulting to women as a whole. For instance, here's the passage Esquire chose to emphasize from a January, 1950 essay called "About Shorty":
I have always thought there is a secret basis of pity in the friendship of most women, and that is a crumbling rock to build on.
That's it. Just that sentence. Of the 20 or so books and countless articles Gellhorn published throughout her storied career, Esquire has decided that this vaguely sexist commentary on female friendships was meant to be called out, without context whatsoever. There is not even a hint to the subject matter of "About Shorty." And here's what they chose to emphasize from Simone de Beauvoir's contribution to Esquire:
Brigitte Bardot is the most perfect specimen of these ambiguous nymphs. Seen from behind, her slender, muscular, dancer's body is almost androgynous. Femininity triumphs in her delightful bosom. The long voluptuous tresses of Mélisande flow down to her shoulders, but her hair-do is that of a negligent waif. The line of her lips forms a childish pout, and at the same time those lips are very kissable. She goes about barefooted, she turns up her nose at elegant clothes, jewels, girdles, perfumes, make-up, at all artifice. Yet her walk is lascivious and a saint would sell his soul to the devil merely to watch her dance.
I give up. Seventy-Five Years Of Storied History About Women Writing [Esquire] Earlier: 75 Books Every Woman Should Read