The following is an actual article from two hundred years ago, written by a male critic about Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice.
“I just finished reading this book, Pride and Prejudice, and really? Girls are obsessing over this stuff? This goes to show just how low so-called ‘entertainment for women’ has sunk.
“This Jane Austen woman thinks she’s being all ‘feminist’ and ‘edgy’ by being a writer and talking about what girls really think, but she’s made the mistake of writing Elizabeth Bennett, the most unlikable protagonist I’ve ever met. Elizabeth starts the novel with an attitude of, ‘I’m never going to get married ever.’ All this girl wants in life is to just be sarcastic and witty and make her living off that. Well, guess what, Elizabeth? Women should get married and serve their husbands. And wanting to make your living off being smart and observant? No woman can do that!
“But that sister of hers, Jane—my god, she’s just as bad! All she wants to do is fall in love with Charlie Bingley, and when they’re together, it’s all, ‘I love you!’ ‘I love you too!’ Charlie’s such a high-class snob, and a bore, and all Jane does is obsess over him. If Jane Austen writes a sequel, then let’s hope that she breaks the two of them up, and soon.”
“Lydia Bennett—ugh, don’t get me started. All she does is flirt with guys. She’s just such a damn flirt, and she’s so obsessed with being headstrong and British. Well let me tell you something, Lydia: having a sexy British accent doesn’t mean you’re actually sexy! When you flirt the way you do, you embarrass your whole family, and you don’t even care! And then when she became the first of them to get married, I was like, ‘You’re going to ruin your life!’ But by then, I’d given up hoping these characters would do things sensibly.
“Let’s not even go near Catherine Bennett. All the characters in the book refer to her as being ‘silly,’ and that’s what she is. She’s so inexperienced compared to the rest of the sisters, and looks up to Lydia too much. Who would want to look up to Lydia? I know exactly the kind of girl Catherine is: she’s that girl you know who always wants to talk, and you stop paying attention to her halfway through, because she just doesn’t stop.
“I haven’t even gotten to the worst of them all, and it’s not even one of the girls, it’s Mr. Darcy! How could a girl who’s supposed to be ‘finding herself’ the way Elizabeth is, fall in love with a guy who’s such a bag-o-douche? He’s repeatedly described as being strong and handsome, and staying in his home all by himself for days on end. Elizabeth and he do nothing but fight, and yet they’re actually attracted to each other? What does it say about Elizabeth that she’d love such a creeper? Let’s hope that Mr. Darcy has a hobby like woodcarving that he can throw himself into when he’s not with Elizabeth anymore, cause we know they’re going to break up. You can’t fool us with that happy ending!
“It’s disgusting in this day and age that Jane Austen, who’s from a wealthy family, would just waste her time writing about the problems of wealthy white women. And that’s the thing—they’re all white! Has she ever even seen a person who’s not white? This woman’s scope of the world is beyond limited—it’s practically microscopic. Let’s hope that we move on to talking about writers who write docile, subservient women, and not these damned strumpets Ms. Austen is obsessed with.”