Unlikable and Unapologetic

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Supposedly “unlikable” female characters are often the most complex, humanly flawed, and interesting ones—yet many readers are perturbed by such representations of women. In an excerpt from her collection The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley muses on the reasons why female protagonists are uniquely expected to be likable:

When you find yourself reading about a gun-slinging, whisky-drinking, Mad Max apocalypse hero who you’d love if it was a guy but find profoundly uncomfortable to read about when you learn it’s a woman, take a step back and ask why that is. Is it because this is truly a person you can’t empathize with, or because somebody told you she was supposed to be back home playing mom to the Lost Boys, not stabbing her landlord, stealing a motorcycle, and saving the world?


Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →