Cover Image: Unlikeable Female Characters

Unlikeable Female Characters

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Hmmm. So. I’m very ~conflicted about this book. I’ve been super excited to read it for months and thought I would wholeheartedly enjoy it. And also the cover?!? Love it!!!

But. I definitely had a few problems with this. At some points, the author just rubbed me the wrong way and I didn’t totally agree with her on everything (even though the book is written as though it speaks for all women??? maybe... don't?) and at times it felt like she also failed to do her research (like when she entirely misremembers the plot of Cruel Intentions???)

This also got repetitive after a while and seemed to just cover the same point ad nauseam when the reader definitely got it the first time. And, ultimately, this was just a collection of summaries of various films and tv shows. So by the middle, I just stuck around to see my favorites pop up.

On the plus side, I do have a whole list of new things to watch so that’s always good. But I also wish this hadn’t focused so wholly on just screen culture as a lot of the things mentioned were also books and sometimes the adaptation missed the ~whole point and by only referencing the adaptation, it felt like the author did too (*cough* Girl, Interrupted).

So. I so badly wanted to like this and some aspects of this I really did enjoy! But it just didn’t feel like the be all, end all guide for women that it’s meant to be. It is interesting though and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it!

Thank you to Sourcebooks & NetGalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!
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I found this book to be thought-provoking and important. As a self-proclaimed pop culture aficionado, it captivated me and brought attention to a lot of the issues Hollywood has perpetrated toward female characters in the past century. I appreciate Anna's thorough research and how she translated that knowledge into an engaging, readable book.

Even as a woman, I recognize that I have often fall into a lot of the traps regarding UFCs, only regarding them as likeable if they "redeem" themselves, disliking them if they're "too much": too angry, too sexual, too confident. I really appreciated that this book highlighted the larger historical issues (as well as the changing tide and hopeful future of these types of characters), as well as helping the reader to identify areas of personal improvement in our own cultural perception and participation. It really made me think. And there were so many parts that I marked -- passages that felt so validating and true. 

A really worthwhile, enjoyable, and insightful read!

Thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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Unlikeable Female Characters is a great read, especially for those starting to get into non fiction. The writing is approachable, a fresh take on an interesting subject. Fun and engaging exploration of "unlikable" women in pop culture.
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Interesting premise about the public diregard for "messy' women that was translated into a fairly dry series of lists. This was a DNF for me.
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This nonfiction book discusses women in television, movies, and music that are “unlikable”. It looks at several different stereotypes that women are classified under, and dives deep into the why behind the stereotypes. 

I found this book very informative and interesting. At first, it was hard to get into, but once I got into it I flew through it. 
I liked that the author uses many different examples. Even though I was not familiar with every example that was used in the book, I was able to connect and really understand examples for every chapter (even if it was only one or two). There are many movies, shows, and artists mentioned. Some are older and some are newer. There is a good mixture so everyone should be able to find something familiar while reading. 
I enjoyed the author’s voice while reading. They were very sassy and made the book fun to read. It had a lot of information, but it was still an enjoyable read! 

I found the topic very interesting, and was an eye opening read. I will totally keep thinking about it as I watch television!
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A nonfiction analysis of female characters and portrayals in media, Unlikeable Female Characters breaks down the character types we are conditioned to dislike - sluts, weirdos, psychos, etc. 

This book was well written and thought provoking, using popular examples from mainstream media which made the academic nature of the book much more palatable. 

Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of this ebook
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Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Unlikeable Female Characters by Anna Bogutskaya is about, well, unlikeable female characters. Bogutskaya covers some familiar archetypes: The Slut, The Weirdo, The Mean Girl, and so on. An interesting take on the many ways women can be unlikeable, thanks to misogyny.

While this book didn't cover much new for me, as I've read a lot of feminist media criticism, I think this was an interesting book that could be used as a first dip into the topic.
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The idea behind this book is intriguing but I wasn't a fan of the result as it felt more a list of works thant the analysis of the different type of women-you-want to hate.
Not my cup of tea
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
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Great idea for a book but honestly I just ended up finding it boring, it often seemed like a list of examples and when it didn't it read as a very basic assessment. I think someone else could really like it though it just wasn't for me!
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The author of Unlikable Female Character presents an intriguing and concise history of how women have been portrayed in American movies and TV, focusing on the characters who are intended to be disliked. The book's premise is well-crafted, and the author does an exceptional job of carrying it out.
One aspect that stood out to me was the author's critique of the idea that female representation must necessarily be feminist in order to be deemed valuable. The book offers an original perspective on the representation of women in popular culture, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the topic.
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An in-depth exploration of the unlikeable female characters through pop culture history. Bogutskaya traces the use of the term through history, tracks the cultural shift fueled by the 2016 election, and examines the vast subgroups of unlikeable characters.
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Really enjoyed this one! Loved learning more about this topic, as told through Bogutskaya’s unique storytelling/writing. I’m always a fan of the “unlikeable female character” for some reason (maybe I empathize lol), so I found this read very fascinating. Well-researched but readable - and loved how she dug into the history, too. 

4.5 stars! 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bogutskaya, and Sourcebooks for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for review.
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Very interesting writing style how she took different subjects and characterized them that way. She took the woman as they were in different genders and different ideas. I like how she mixed history of the past to the future when she was describing these different types of women. I can associate with trainwreck because I live that kind of lifestyle a long time ago. Women are very powerful as you can see in the twenties they ran. Duction companies like very pickford in universal. These women We're trailblazers and they're Had to put up with a water negativity in their lives. I like me west because she had A sexy APP EL. Because she was not afraid of her body she did not have to hair nude in movies. This is a true lady who knows what you wanted like and she did what she need. Did the movie with Kerry Grant who was just a character actor. Because it was a great movie to play that i'm real great dame. I think every generation has somehow women they can look up to be who they wanna be. E v shows together and how she explained each of these women how they became in these titles. Entitled says it all and it really wanted me to read this book. Because I wanted to see how these women were so different.. No I understand how they were themselves doing what they wanted to do
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I really enjoyed this book! Not only is the topic something that is endlessly fascinating to me (as a self proclaimed lover of unlikable female characters) but I also had a lot of fun exploring it through Bogutskaya's style. It has research but is readable no matter your understanding level of the material and avoids the dryness that can sometimes come from hard analysis. I'm a deep lover of all things history so this dive into film while examining the tropes that women are often shoved into kept my attention til the very end. I also love love loved all the film recs and can't wait to dive into some of them in my free time!
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“And generally speaking, people are accustomed to judging women for the same bad behavior or traits that they accept in men. Hence why the phrase ‘unlikeable female characters’ has become a catchall that refers to any and all female characters, heroines, or sidekicks that dare to not give a damn what other people think about them.”

I was immediately pulled in and  I didn’t want to put it down, but tried to slow down and take my time with it. Interesting to read this especially after watching Daisy Jones and The Six, since they severely toned down Daisy to be more palatable/“likeable” on screen compared to how she’s presented in the book.

The book explores the nine tropes that make-up our unlikeable female characters on screen: the Bitch, the Mean Girl, the Angry Woman, the Slut, the Crazy Woman, the Psycho, the Trainwreck, the Shrew, and the Weirdo.

Accessible, easy to understand as a casual reader interested in the topic. I love books about media and sociology so this was right up my alley! It’s filled with plenty of research without being dry, and filled with the occasional funny footnotes that made me giggle. We see the evolution of the “unlikeable female characters” from old Hollywood to the present, and I learned a lot about the evolution of film! I also liked the list of movies at the end with each of the tropes discussed (I have a few new movies to check out)☺️

I was glad that Bogutskaya provided an intersectional view when discussing the archetypes and how they’re usually for white women (also usually thin and rich). She briefly examines WOC and the different stereotypes they’re put into in film and media as variations to the main tropes discussed; she mainly focuses on the use of the “Dragon Lady”, “Angry Black Woman”, and “Spicy Latina” tropes.

I’ve used the term “unlikeable” about characters before when reviewing books, but I didn’t realize the negative connotations the word had behind it when applied to women so after reading this I’m going to try and be better in my reviews. It’s okay to not like a character but I’ll be trying to expand on what I didn’t like about the character rather than labeling them as simply unlikeable, especially because every reader is different in what they do or don’t like about the characters. 

I highly recommend checking this out, whether you’re casually interested in the topic or if you’re like me and enjoy reading about media/pop culture influences on society and feminism. I’ll definitely be adding a physical copy to my shelves when it’s released!
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If you’re a movie buff, this is the book for you. 

Overall, I liked the idea of this book - taking a look at the roles women are constantly assigned within the entertainment industry and standout characters who have broken the mold on these limiting ideas of who a women can be. 

But, for me, the book went a little into the weeds. All the examples were great to really drive how the characterization of the Bitch, the Weirdo, etc has evolved over time but some of the descriptions of the films were more about the film than the character/actress. 

At the end, the author says she hopes we gained some empathy from reading this book, which I love. Often times I find myself not understanding why a woman in a role is so hated while her male counterpart is doing the same type of things. But, it would of been nice to see that theme of empathy woven into the book if that was the intended take away. So those stark contrasts between male and female characters (like with Gone Girl) but do it for each characterization. 

I learned some things about the start of Hollywood that were interesting and overall, this was a good book. If it was an audiobook, I would definitely recommend it as I found it read similar to a podcast. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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When we watch a TV show or movie or even discuss a female public figure, the conversation inevitably turns into not a discussion about the character or people themselves, but on the likeability of the female in question. This is nothing unique, but it is deeply fascinating in how art imitates life and how we, as a society cannot fathom a woman being "unlikeable" in the public sphere through positions of power all the way to our TV characters. This book is a fascinating look into why that is.

Unlikeable Female Characters, OUT MAY 9, talks about the origins of the unlikeable female character, breaking them down into 9 categories, ranging from the Mean Girl all the way to the Weirdo. And the result is absolutely stunning.

There are so many things I loved about this book. First, the way the author discusses the variety of "unlikeable" women in popular culture. She picks relevant and popular movies and TV shows to analyze the female characters within them. I knew almost every character she picked, and, if I didn't, she did a fabulous job explaining how those characters fit into our discussions of women and society's inherent need to make them likable. I also really appreciated that she takes the time to discuss female characters of color when possible. She discusses their contributions and even the traps that characters of color face within these categories. I found her writing relatable, her argument fascinating, and her passion for the subject enchanting. 

I could go on and on about why I loved this book. I found it is an important cultural study and gives rise to the radical notion that women do not have to be likeable to be complex, fully realized characters. In trapping these characters in the flimsy likeability category, we are underscoring the idea that the value women have is based on their pleasantness, not their humanity. Go do yourself a favor and read this book, as it shines a light on popular culture in a way that I think many have not thought about. 

Thank you to Sourcebooks, NetGalley, and the author for the ability to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
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This was great! The author takes us through the various categories of “unlikeable” female characters and how they have evolved over time. I’m not a film person so I learned so much about various actors, famous characters and how pre- and post- Hollywood changed with censorship regulations. I wonder how much more evolved we would be without those regs, but despite of, female characters have grown stronger and louder, and hopefully will continue to do so.

**Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Sourcebooks for a digital ARC - pub date 5/9/2023.  This was a fantastic book!  Well researched, incredibly read-able, and consciously inclusive.  The author starts from a personal place and then takes your veiw upwards to look at the pop cluture landscape as a whole when it comes to women and how media treats women.  Why does likeability factor so heavily into how the media (and we) view female characters?  Why does it matter?  How much of it is based around economics and marketability and how much of it is based around fear and social pressure?  

She then chooses the tropes that we all recognize, reflecting back on how they relate to the concept of unlikeability.  The Bitch, The Mean Girl, The Angry Woman, The Slut, The Trainwreck, The Crazy Woman, The Psycho, The Shrew, and The Weirdo.  We all have heard these terms ad nauseum and we all carry our own baggage with them.  So does society and so does the media.  How these stereotypes are portrayed - well, what does that say about us and our culture?  Not only does Bogutskaya really delve into the definitions and social constructs of these labels for "unlikeable" women but she also provides ample examples from film and TV.  You have your standards, the stock examples, but there are also subversions and takes on the stereotypes that have shown up over time and show up now.  The likeability of female characters still remains a sadly important topic to media execs but we the audience are starting to move beyond it.

Well, kind of.  Bogutskaya focuses on media but she does reference the "real world" examples of Hillary Clinton and how some actresses are harrassed simply because people can't seem to keep their characters apart from their actual selves.  Seriously.  Poor Anna Gunn.  I haven't even seen Breaking Bad but just the synopsis of how awful people online are to the actress because of her CHARACTER on that show being someone they dislike?  Wow.  Double standard much?  

Speaking of double-standards, the author also brings up a lot of the issues there.  The difference in reactions to an angry man vs an angry woman, a crazy man or a violent man to the female equivalent.  She also makes a point of showing that, even in the women stereotypes, there exist further breakdowns and levels of "acceptability" and "likeability."  How angry white women get a very different response than angry women of color.  While Bogutskaya does not delve much into sexuality in these sub-discussions, you can just as easily parse between the lines to notice the differences, too.

Overall, this was a great book and provoked a lot of thought... and gave me one hell of a To Watch list!
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Bogutskaya has picked out some of the most troubling and interesting tropes that plague female characters today and complicates them further by implicating the viewer AND the actor. Unlikeable Female Characters is a fresh voice in feminist media studies and propels the conversation into a modern age.
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