Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse
Conjugate the English verb meet: indicative, past tense, participle, present perfect, gerund, conjugation models and irregular verbs. On Tuesday morning, after being told that The Times was about to publish the content of emails setting up a meeting with a Kremlin-connected. 'to meet' conjugation - English verbs conjugated in all tenses with the catchsomeair.us verb conjugator.
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The patient-specific mobile application uses an affordable device to detect an out-of-range or in-range inhaler, notifying the user when appropriate. USA Harvard University Loro is a platform for providing a smart companion robot for wheelchair users. And I agree with you- but not in this case. Because the way these books establish this connection is through this nasty, gendered way that's sometimes perfectly blatant and straightforward, and more awfully, done largely through the use of code words and subconscious dog whistles that I would sometimes imagine that the author isn't even aware they are using.
They are the sort of words that you absorb and feel eager to repeat because you know they gain approval and are a natural part of the landscape of the kind of books you write- like how good female characters' "eyes dance" and sympathetic protagonists always "arch their eyebrows" to show their sardonic, likeable humor in fantasy novels.
It's an instantly recognizable, subconscious code to anyone who has ever read the genre- relax around this character. This is one of us. And it's these books' horrible idea of what "one of us" means that is just killing me.
The code for "one of us" that these books push is wrapped up in this deeply fucked up mess of capitalistic, traditional feminine, societal and high-school-code status symbols that would be fascinating to untangle if they weren't so awful.
Here's a typical mix of how it goes: In the first few chapters, we'll be treated to a demonstration of the characters' wealth and status.
Conjugate "to meet" - English conjugation
Usually this involves a recitation of various expensive, luxury brands and expensive objects that she has access to. Usually there is some Puritan excuse about how she married into this wealth, or got it from someone else, or how she has worked her whole life in comparison to her layabout family. If she doesn't have wealth, either she will spend the whole book being superior to those characters who do have wealth, or will appreciate it in a nice "if only I could have it" wistfully annoying way- and be sure she will be awarded it by the end of the novel, all the while protesting that she "would rather have had I have no literal idea what books want to accomplish with this- giving us the aspirational fantasy we want, but still ascribing to its reader the work ethic that will reassure us that it is okay for us to want it?
Is this a "celebrities they're just like us! I'd say maybe it was an American thing, but I've seen it in British novels as well- sometimes even more blatantly.
Ah, and then there's the misogynistic, high-school-mean-girl shit. We are constantly treated to descriptions of what these girls look like and what they are wearing- we are told about it every time they change clothes- every time their hair is out of place. It's all about the girl on girl crime.
In The Husband's Secret, within twenty pages, the main character had bitchily taken down most of her friends with one catty swipe of claws and established her and her family's superiority to them.
Often this is done by sheer comparison of description and the adjectives chosen, added up. Especially if they are pretty- if we have to have the almighty crime of admitting that they are prettier than us, then they have to suffer. They will be dumb, mean, selfish, ambitious, rude, sexual in a "distasteful" way probably coming on to your husband or being "indiscriminate" in her tasteshave a difficult personality that "only appeals to some", be an actual angel come to earth that all of us can make fun of in our heads for thinking unicorns exist or whatever.
How fucking DARE they be prettier than us- don't worry, we'll provide you with a reason to hate them. That is if any other woman is allowed to have an image at all. Get off the stage, I am the fairest of them all. But most of the time other women are on stage- because these books- it's like a constant game of one-upsmanship in a very specifically female way.
Tabla de conjugación del verbo to travel
Our protagonists have to come out on top in comparison to other females, even if only by implication and of course the protagonist would never think of it that way! But she's rewarded with that victory anyway. Everything that happens- the plot she's involved in, her observations and interactions with other women and especially her romance- all read like points on a scoreboard.
These are not books about personal transformation except on the most surface level, and usually only in the service of getting one of these status-y things. These books read as competition, like some sort of fantasy of jealousy, of being the person that others envy- all with the excuse of moral superiority that just happens to grant you all the high status stuff that you wanted.
It so often reads like a shy girl's fantasy come to life- someone who would have wanted to be queen bee and be just as bitchy as that blonde girl, but never had the balls to actually do it, and so constructed an idea of themselves based around being morally superior to it, while all the while wishing they could be part of it.
Irregular Past Tense Verbs
It's sick- it's the worst feelings that girl-on-girl envy can produce, and what's worse, I am expected to identify with them. It's a martyrdom complex taken to an extreme. It is a childish emotional depth that I cannot accept. What the actual fuck, ladies? Is this still the leftovers of all the competition that women felt they had to do for men, because they thought they were the key to survival in the world and still think this?
Is this something we're going through the motions of and have gotten to the point where we fill in an out-of-date formula and don't even realize what we're doing? It's like women still trying to prove how "normal" and "likeable" they are by spitting out a bunch of words that they think do that- isn't this what I'm supposed to want?? Do you love me yet?? Do you approve of my totally normal, not weird beautiful character who is better than everyone??
Is this what you wanted from me? Why are we still trying to please men and judgmental women who were never going to like you anyways?? It's sad and gross all at once. And no, I don't think that this is a case of really good characterization. I see this too much. Either something has infected this genre- too often and grossly called "middlebrow" fiction- or there's something going on that we haven't confronted. I don't accept that this is what we honestly want out of our protagonists, ladies.
Especially because it is so desperately fake- that's what I saw in the Lantern. There was a fascinating person with interesting ideas or the start of them anyway behind that woman who put on a fake feminine voice and flashed her diamond ring and big house-porny house at the beginning to let us know we should envy her. Why the eff are we leading with that diamond flashing woman all the time?
House at Midnight did it too- I haaaaattteeeed protagonist at the beginning.
Could we talk more about how middle class she was and how all her friends were super rich and classy and amazing and went to Oxford??
Oh please, can we?? And then the rest of the book, her relationship with her boyfriend was basically just a show to generate jealousy, and based on an attraction that seemed to be based on nothing at all that we're actually shown.
But, again, there were some moments of truth in the book- again, towards the end, once she seemed sure that she had us and we weren't going anywhere. They peeked out here and there. I couldn't even get past this lead-in with Before We Met- maybe it would have been the same here.
Why do we think this is what we need to get women to invest in other women characters? Why do we need to envy them or hate them? Or at the very least be super smug about relating to them? I'm not talking about identifying- which is different and more truthful. I'm talking about blatant ploys for readers to insert themselves like talking about how they were never one of the popular girls or can't believe they ended up with this gorgeous husband, surely he will leave me.