You probably know by now that literary sexism can be sneaky. After all, there's a difference between a book that portrays sexism and a book with a sexist message.I mean, the fictional nation of Gilead is super sexist, for example, what with the women wearing wacky bonnets. But I don't think anyone's reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Taleand walking away thinking that women are inferior or that Gilead sounds super rad (if that was your impression, maybe try the book again). Then there's the books that are just blatantly sexist — like The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. And sometimes books that seem harmless, or even actively feminist can still play into ugly gender stereotypes. But here are a few books that you never realized were sexist.
To be clear, just because a book is sexist, it doesn't mean that it has zero value. If we chucked every aspect of our culture that wasn't perfectly feminist, we'd be left with those period-friendly underwear, some great essays by Roxane Gay, and not much else. So if you love the books on this list, feel free to keep on loving them. Just maybe, while you continue to love them, try to acknowledge that Ernest Hemingway was a huge tool who hated women.
We can both appreciate a good piece of literature and critique its sexist undertones at the same time. And... oh boy is there a lot to critique with some of these books: