Unlikeable Female Characters

Unlikeable Female Characters Anna Bogutskaya
Pub date 9th May 2023
Publisher (UK) Sourcebooks
Publisher (US) Sourcebooks

“A fresh feminist appraisal of the pop culture canon.” —Publishers Weekly

How bitches, trainwrecks, shrews, and crazy women have taken over pop culture and liberated women from having to be nice.

Female characters throughout history have been burdened by the moral trap that is likeability. Any woman who dares to reveal her messy side has been treated as a cautionary tale. Today, unlikeable female characters are everywhere in film, TV, and wider pop culture. For the first time ever, they are being accepted by audiences and even showered with industry awards. We are finally accepting that women are—gasp—fully fledged human beings. How did we get to this point?

Unlikeable Female Characters traces the evolution of highly memorable female characters, examining what exactly makes them popular, how audiences have reacted to them, and the ways in which pop culture is finally allowing us to celebrate the complexities of being a woman. Anna Bogutskaya, film programmer, broadcaster, and co-founder of the horror film collective and podcast The Final Girls, takes us on a journey through popular film, TV, and music, looking at the nuances of womanhood on and off-screen to reveal whether pop culture—and society—is finally ready to embrace complicated women.

Praise for Unlikeable Female Characters:

“Fascinating, insightful, and kick-ass.” —Emma Jane Unsworth, internationally bestselling author of Grown Ups and Animals

“Beautifully written.” —Chelsea G. Summers, author of A Certain Hunger

“Part-cultural exposé, part-Taylor Swift album.” —Clarisse Loughrey, Chief Film Critic at The Independent

“Brilliant masterpiece breaking down the tired tropes of TV and beyond.” —Aparna Shewakramani, author of She’s Unlikeable


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