The authors creating feminist heroes for a post #MeToo world

Just telling men to behave nicely doesn’t seem to have worked too well over the years... so a trio of authors has created a new breed of literary hero: hard women who punch back. Andy Martin talks to their creators

Sunday 06 October 2019 11:35
Today’s female heroes are persistent and hate to be beaten
Today’s female heroes are persistent and hate to be beaten

Here is a brutal biological fact, the fruit of some evolutionary asymmetry: statistically speaking, men are bigger, heavier, and more muscular than women. They can run faster and they hit harder. So there is a crucial question in the post-#MeToo era that is yet to be properly answered: Can a woman fight back against a man and win? And the “fighting back” here is completely non-metaphorical. In a straight physical encounter between a man and a woman, can the woman ever hope to come out on top? The whole history of patriarchy is predicated on the assumption that the answer is no. There is a vast tradition of sexual violence that says, no way! But there are strong voices out there that say otherwise.

With the domestic abuse bill going through Parliament, and “coercive control” now officially illegal, it feels like more than ever the right time for a new generation of hardcore female role models who aren’t just going to lie down or take it on the chin or turn the cheek any more. Think of Big Little Lies: wouldn’t it have been better for all concerned if Celeste had seriously kicked Perry’s arse for him? Broken his jaw or given him a black eye? And maybe Jane could have fought him off – or tasered him – instead of getting raped?

She looks right into his mad eyes and manages to get off a punch with the heel of her hand that shatters his nose and drives the bone straight into the frontal lobe of his brain. He’s dead before he hits the floor

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