Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The novel, published in 1880, is Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s last book. This is a rich novel, containing everything about human life. It deals with emotions, inner struggles and religious believes. It captures the human soul. The book centers around three brothers, Ivan, Dmitri and Alexei or Alyosha Fyodorovich Karamazov, and their relationship with their strange and difficult father, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov. Ivan is intellectual and atheist, Dmitri is a sensualist and Alyosha is a novice in a monastery. Dostoyevsky was a master of creating believable, living characters. However, there were few female characters, and I would have liked them more nuanced. Katerina Ivanovna had a little depth, but Grushenka seemed one-dimensional. I would have liked to see the world from their perspective.

The book really gets going when Fyodor, the selfish and ruthless father, is murdered and Dmitri is arrested. The following trial is interesting and includes psychological themes such as morality and motive, discussed from different points of view by the attorney and prosecutor.

The dialogue is often deep, philisophical and interesting. But the book is heavy and sometimes so detailed that the pace becomes painstakingly slow. It is considered a masterpiece, and it really is, but I somehow got weary of the meticulous details and thereby cared less about the characters than I initually did. However, it is a great book and especially the last hundred pages are amazing.


Bad feminist by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay calls herself a bad feminist. She does not want to be put on a pedestal. All role models will sooner or later be pushed down. She considers herself as already pushed down. It is sad that not everyone can feel included in feminism. It seems that you can only be a feminist according to certain principles.

In her collection of essays Roxane Gay describes the narrow feminist role. She strikes a blow for feminists that don’t fit the profile as ”militant” and even use make-up and shave their armpits - as if that would be the typhical feminist. What about these feminists? Is it something wrong about beeing what is considered ”unfeminine”? It is a difficult balance. She should be careful not to become what she herself condemns, and exclude certain feminists. Feminism should be including, not be yet another rule for women that are tired of being told how to look and how to behave. (However, there might be one exception. It would be problematic to call oneself a feminist if accepting and approving the terms of the patriarchy that restricts and objectifies women - the very same patriarchy that feminists seek to destroy). Some women do happen to behave according to the traditional feminine role, and others do not. They have fought hard to be accepted. Most women probably are a mixture of different roles.

Roxane Gay discusses politicians' position of power, and how they think they have the right to make decisions about womens’ bodies, when discussing reproductive rights. She writes about black peoples’ conditions and discusses popular culture from a feminist perspective. She mentions music and sexist lyrics, comedians mysogynist attitude, young adults books and movies and television series like The Hunger Games and Girls. This is very important. Female stereotypes are common in popular culture, but she also points out that it is unfair to give a single movie or tv-series the responsibility to change the industry. The movie Bridesmaids got to take a lot of responsibility, and to call it revolutionary is putting unreasonable pressure on production. Perhaps calling it ”a touch of innovation” is enough. I wonder what Roxane Gay thinks about the series Marvel's Jessica Jones? (Comics are not known to be equal, but this is a protagonist who does not agree with the genre stereotypes.) The main character is a female anti-heroine, fighting against misogyny. Marvel's Jessica Jones is basically about abuse, both mental and physical. Assault and rape. If one is to depict rape, social structures and the consequences can not be ignored. To not be simply a way to exploit the female body as macabre, graphic, bizarre entertainment, the topic should be problemized and analyzed. It must be depicted realistically. While shows like the ”Outlander” and the 2Game of thrones” depict rape without acknowledging it, Jessica Jones call it for what it is, and the consequences of such a horrible experience are clear.

In her youth, Roxane Gay distanced herself from feminism because the word was considered an insult. She was called an angry, sex-hating, man-hating lady with a victim mentality. There are undoubtedly many who recognize themselves. Feminism is a sensitive word. Who is it that has distorted the meaning? Those who have the most to lose if it is successful. Too bad, she didn’t continued and deepend the discussion. That is precisely the problem with the book. She identifies different areas, but the analyses are not deep enough and many of the conclusions she draws are not new. Much of the content is already discussed. Furthermore, there are some contradictions in her arguments, but by calling helself a bad feminist, she might have justified a slightly fuzzy text and any holes in her argument. She does not pretend to be someone she is not, she just gives her view of society. But the book offers an important point. Roxane Gay may like the color pink and music with sexistic texts, but she's not a bad feminist. "Bad" according to her definition, is actually human. If there was something as bad feminists, the word feminist would loose it’s meaning, because we are all human. I am happy that Roxane Gay has nuanced feminism. One of the book's greatest advantages is the author’s passion and inspiration.

The most important theme is the contradictions that exist within feminism. All feminists have their own view of the concept. When privileged people like Emma Watson and Zara Larsson call themselves feminists, they are often critizized. When people express themselves even though they lack some gender studies or heavy experiences, discussions follows about who have the right to call themselves feminists. Of course, the need for more than one kind of woman is important. Not only the white, privileged woman should be able to fight for feminism. If there is anything this book indicates it is the current lack of acceptance and the need for the very concept of feminism to be more including.


Prins Charles känsla by Liv Strömquist

Something about Liv Strömquist’s books is really interesting. Perhaps it's the analyses, the history or the facts. For evert theory, Strömquist uses sources, such as researchers, psycho analysts and real events to back her arguments up.

This is about love as a social structure. Why do women often need to be acknowledged by men? Why do men often distance themselves from intimacy and feelings? In a culture that encourages gender differences and small children learn early on to behave in a certain way, it's not difficult to understand. Girls identify with their mothers, and develop caring and affirmative characteristics. Boys often don’t identify with their fathers, because they are absent. They have no role model and therefore assimilate the sexistic culture. Hence, the culture is maintained. Of course, everything improves through the years. Nowadays, men have parental leave in Sweden and are expected to spend more time with their children, not to mention the fight for gender equality with means such as the concept "hen", an indefinite pronoun that serves to take focus away from expectations concerning gender, but old traditions still form people.

This book analyses the twosome, heterosexual couple, how the society is built upon this structure, and the consequences for gender equality. Strömquist also mentions famous couples that have lived their lives according to this norm, and how it affected them, from historical people like Gustaf Fröding and his self-pity and prostitutes, and Victoria Benedictsson and George Brandes, to people of today, such as Charlie Sheen and Hugh Grant, and recent couples like Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.

Strömquist is also describing how men opress women to be able to win them over, also a strategy in the book The Game, and whether love and relationships are gender equal. Women sacrifice everything, care about and blow up men's ego, while men do nothing of the sort. Women's identity is constituted by their bodies and what they can offer men. Their destiny is to take care of and comfort other people, and not themselves. The consequence is that men are able to seek their happiness in work or hobbies, encouraged by their wives, and women don't get the encouragement and support from their husbands to do the same. Unbelievably, despite all this, many men still seem to fear marriage, and some of them even have a condescending attitude to women. At the same time, they maintain relationstips with these women. When looking at it more carefully, it’s not very inexplicable. There are researchers that claim that men need women to maintain their independence. Without them, they have no one to be independent of. A study shows that after a divorce, women are feeling happy and feel their self-confidence growing, while men are feeling unhappy and depressed. Even though twosome marriages often mean a kind of ownership which might be unhealthy, it seems that men benefit from it, while women are restricted and not enough supported. So, perhaps, men should learn to appraciate relationships and marriage more. Women often stay in these relationships because they have learned that the only way of self-worth is to be acknowledged and approved by men. When getting hurt, women need comfort, and they also need for their men to comprehend them and therefore they try even harder to explain how they feel to be able to fix the relationship. The psychological mechanisms are very complicated, and of course can't be applied to every one. Most people probably don't think about it, and don't think it's necessary, because people have a choice, right? Of course, most men are nice and most women don't accept a dysfunctional relationship. But what if we are so used to this phenomena that we don't see it? When you start to analyze, you discover this structure that explains a lot about patterns of behavior. There are always many studies and many professional people having opinions, about any subject, and they are not always right about everything, but this book offers interesting analyses that explain some structures of society.