Audiobook reviews

I listened to two audiobooks that were sort of focused on women and female empowerment, but in very different ways, and I’m lazy, so combined reviews here we go.

Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the Historyof Comic Book Heroines by Mike Madrid, narrated by Colby Elliott
The book
Supergirls is about what the title says. Mike Madrid is a big comic book aficionado who spent his childhood pocket money on single-issue comics. He has loved comics his whole life, and he has loved female heroes his whole life, which I think grounded it. In the book he points out that when he was a kid he noticed that the women in comic books were mainly victims or bait, and if they were heroes they were sort of provocatively dressed, and he couldn’t figure out why.

I really enjoyed listening to this. I’ll say first that I liked the narration. I thought it was really well done.

Anyway. The book looks into the history of comic book heroines. And it was really interesting to see how comic book heroes spend a lot of their time fighting the enemies that exist in the real world, or metaphors for the real world.

I learned that a lot of comic book heroines, like Wonder Woman, spent a lot of her life with a boyfriend, and that her personhood was very tied up in her boyfriend. And she spent a lot of her time thinking about him, and saving him at times. And super heroines who did not have husbands or boyfriends were seen sort of as suspect, and were often paired up to not seem like lesbians or man-haters (in the 50s, and 60s). It seems to have been really important to pair them up with either normal men, or other superheroes. And it was interesting to see that most of them had to take a deferential role in both kinds of relationships. They can’t tell their normal boyfriends that they’re super, so they have to be “normal” stereotypical women, and if they’re with super heroes they can’t outshine the man and ruin his masculinity.

It felt like a very comprehensive look at super heroines, how they’re often referred to as super girls, rather than super women, in an attempt to infantilize them. It was interesting, but not surprising, that when women started writing comics the women characters became more fleshed out and independent and interesting.

He looks at fashion, and the hyper sexualised ways women were dressed and the girly weapons they gave them, cause they’re girls, and we should always remember that, at all times.

It was also good to see that female heroes get better, and they’re allowed t be single, or gay, or married, or whatever else they want to be. And yes it’s not perfect, but we’re doing better.

It was great, and interesting, and cool. And I want to read more badass lady comics now.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of anIndependent Nation by Rebecca Traister, narrated by Candace Thaxton
The book
All the Single ladies is a look at the rise of single person households, specifically in America. The single person household has always been around, but recently women choose to live alone and they flourish, and it’s a good and solid choice for a lot of people.

It was really interesting and cool, and so great. I’m a fangirl clearly. I really liked the narration too. I thought it was good. I have seen some reviews who didn’t like it, and I feel like I see where people have trouble with it, but I really liked it.

It was really interesting to see how single women have often been vilified and discriminated against, mainly it seems because politicians and the powers that be are scared of them, scared of the power they wield and the political power they potentially have. And it was interesting to see how their sexuality has been used against them, and as a method to push them down. Like Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut on the radio because she wanted her health insurance to cover birth control.

The book looks at the history of single women, and the author also interviewed contemporary women who are single either by choice or by circumstance. The author tried to get a good demographic spread, and has succeeded to a certain extent, although there is a certain limitation because there are certain kinds of women who choose to live alone. They have to be able to provide for themselves, and live somewhere it isn’t completely socially impossible to be single, so there might be more white middle class women than other, but that’s almost impossible to avoid. She has still gotten a fairly good mix of people.

I really liked it. I liked the tone, it was interesting, it was cool. I very much enjoyed reading history this way.