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Unlikeable Female Characters

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Member Reviews

None of my existing vocabulary would suffice how I felt about this book. It is exemplary and downright accurate. Not to mention, it is also a perfect read for my initial thesis topic about feminine rage (although I haven't gone with the idea). I urge everyone to go read this. You will not regret it!!

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“likability means palatability. And specifically, how palatable these characters are to a patriarchal world that in many cases still like its women- both fictional and otherwise to be supine and silent.”

A deep dive into pop culture and the contemporary world. Anna Bogutskaya dives into female “villains”, the “unliked” celebrities and characters that we all know. She shows how these negative beliefs stem from a patriarchal world, and how the media manipulates our thoughts of them to conform with that of men.

Likeability on a grand scale comes at a loss of identity. It is associated with giving up yourself to be what others want. With being quite and sweet. Not being confident. Not going after what you want with the same assurance that men are afforded.

“likeability, in whatever form it takes is still, surely, a trap.”

A well written and beautifully organized non-fiction about being a woman in the 21st century.

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This non-fic had me glued to pages. It’s funny while providing an inside look at American media’s female representation of characters that the mainstream have often disliked bc of the lens we see them through.
I appreciated the characters the author used to inform the reader on as most were for the gen pop to truly grasp how these women aren’t “unlikeable” they are just presented to the audience in misogynistic lens.

tysm NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the eARC and for the physical copy in exchange for an honest review.

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The topic of how women are depicted and perceived in media is incredibly interesting and the title as well as the cover made me want to read it immediately.

I found the introduction and the history of Hollywood well-written though it was always just a tad too long. The same goes for the tropes chosen to present the topic of Unlikeable Female Characters. Sometimes the chapters were too long, because they touched upon themes already mentioned. It's only logical as many characters are not one singular trope, but often it felt more as if the movie/TV shows in question were summarized than given a proper reaction to the characters itself.

Yet I still found the entire read fascinating, because it's a great read about how the audience reacts to female characters that do not fit the role intended for them by societal standards.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Interesting subject, but I felt this fell a bit flat. I was not as interested as I expected to be, and I also am not sure I agree with some of the points made here.

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Unlikeable Female Characters is an informative and intriguing breakdown of the women in movies and television that we have deemed "unlikeable" and a consideration of why they aren't as evil as they've been painted. The writing is accessible and funny, while also cutting straight to the heart of things. And even as a reader without a broad knowledge of classic film, I was able to follow Bogutskaya's progression through film history as she examined each archetype - the Bitch, the Slut, the Weirdo, etc.

Like many nonfiction books, I found this one most enjoyable taken a chapter at a time, while reading something else on the side to balance it out. When I read too many chapters in one sitting, the arguments got a bit repetitive - after all, how many different ways can you explain that the establishment is afraid of women who break the mold? But overall, I felt that the organization of the book into explorations of different archetypes worked well and kept the information and criticism from becoming overwhelming.

Overall, a great read for anyone who enjoys film or even just feels like female characters often get the short end of the stick.


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Thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

The cover of "Unlikeable Female Characters" is what initially drew me in, followed by the interesting premise. Unfortunately, I found the book to be a bit repetitive and dull, which was disappointing as I went into it expecting to love it.

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Unlikeable Female Characters was an interesting deep dive into those female characters we "love to hate." It did a wonderful job of taking what could have been a complex academic argument into something completely accessible for a more casual reader. I really enjoyed the structure of the book, moving through various archetypes of the "unlikeable female character" and how each had a good number of examples that made them relatable. I did personally hope for a bit more of a deep dive into certain aspects of theories instead of example after example, but it didn't detract from me enjoying the book overall!

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This was such a great read and I loved every minute of it! This was so original and well paced. I can’t wait till the next read from Bogutskaya

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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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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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