Updated, Sept 2016: The Sad Tale of ‘Outlander’ and the Female Reviewer

September 2016 Update.  Like many of you, I’m looking for Outlandish shizzle to read and think about during our second Droughtlander and I happened upon my first Outlander blog post from approximately two years ago.  This was back when I wrote more thoughtfully rather than my now more humorous fare. When the first reviews came out, mostly by women, I was appalled at the snark.  Happily things have improved, although we still have a very prominent ‘Outlander Mean Girls Blog’, most of the female reviewers now review it on its merit rather than what they perceive is the cool/tragically hip way to write about it.

I really like the point I made about how Claire was so strong and independent that the hottest guy in town was in love with her and not that SHE changed herself in anyway to try to win his heart.  This is #GirlPower at it’s finest. Hope you enjoy this oldie but goodie, here it is:

With many of Society’s ‘isms’ and ‘obias’ now slowly moving to the past, it seems like one of the only remaining acceptable ones is Ageism or to be more specific, ‘Middle-Aged Women Ageism’.  Racism, sexism and homo-phobia are thankfully denounced by the educated population although  obviously they still exist but to a much lesser degree than in decades past.

So imagine my surprise, when the initial reviews of Outlander began to surface.  Reviews written by presumably educated and open-minded women strongly leaned towards condescension and snarkism.  And amazingly to me, they dripped with sarcasm towards the original female audience.  I say original, because long-time readers of the series tend to be women of a certain age, who were not of a certain age when they discovered the series 20 years ago.

The Outlander series written by author Diana Gabaldon, has one of the strongest, female protagonists I’ve ever read. This is girl power at its finest.  Claire is strong, compassionate, educated, street smart and a leader.  She stands up for what she believes in, no matter the cost.  As actress, Caitriona Balfe, who portrays her said, “Claire is a bad ass”.  And because Claire possesses these characteristics, one of the strongest, sexiest male characters ever written, Jamie Fraser, is willing to lay down his life for her time and time again.  And yes,  he does this while wearing a kilt.

So listen up young, female reviewers.  Millions of men and women will flock to these books after the series begins to air and they will love them for the same reasons we long-time readers do.  And condescending female critics, who claim to dislike it, most likely because they’re afraid they won’t be allowed to sit with the cool kids at lunch or they’ll be judged by their male counterparts, will begin acrobatic-style, back-pedaling when the general public begins to storm the bookstores, power up their Kindles and order Starz from their cable providers.

Female critics’ blatant bias against something they perceive only middle-aged women will watch, not only makes them look confused, it makes them look ridiculous.  Who do they think paved the road, so they could have these jobs?  Twenty-five+  years ago,  women regularly trained men to do jobs that made the men rich and successful without ever having the chance to hold these positions themselves.  Do you think we were all dumb until you came along?  If you do, you’re wrong.  Wrong about us and wrong about Outlander. Maybe you should actually read the book and learn the characteristics that are found in a strong woman and begin to emulate them.

Don’t worry about how we feel about you and your “Middle-Aged Women Ageism’ issue.  We are old enough and wise enough not to hold a grudge.  We’ll shake our heads and give you a pass.  Because you’re young and you’re inexperienced and even though you don’t deserve it right now, we’ll forgive you and support you and give you another chance.  Because we’re old enough and smart enough to want you to succeed.

18 Comments

  • bethwesson
    Posted July 30, 2014 2:37 am 0Likes

    Wrote a blog earlier this month on same topic. Loved hearing this from someone else. Let’s bang the drum… Loudly.

    • melissahasobservations
      Posted July 30, 2014 4:13 am 0Likes

      I love your poetry, so I will definitely go back and read your blog. They just don’t get it, do they.

    • lainiejay
      Posted July 30, 2014 4:40 pm 0Likes

      Very well said. Kudos.

      • bethwesson
        Posted July 30, 2014 9:14 pm 0Likes

        Thank you! Same to you!

  • BJ Gingles
    Posted July 30, 2014 5:48 pm 0Likes

    Well said! Thank you.

  • Liz
    Posted July 30, 2014 7:44 pm 0Likes

    THANK YOU!! So very well said..

  • A Thoughtful Reader
    Posted July 30, 2014 7:46 pm 0Likes

    Beautifully written, and accurate. Thank you!

    • melissahasobservations
      Posted July 30, 2014 9:05 pm 0Likes

      Thanks, I appreciate your comment. I sometimes wish for a ‘do-over’ so I could have the career I was denied, but I do love the life I have now 🙂

  • Jackie Campbell
    Posted July 30, 2014 10:17 pm 0Likes

    Huzzah! We “Middle Aged Women” are a force to be reckoned with — we have financial resources, power jobs, internet and social media skills, and we most likely make the majority of buying decisions in every household. We aren’t going to take it anymore!

    • melissahasobservations
      Posted July 31, 2014 12:44 am 0Likes

      I agree with you completely. I make 95% of the buying decisions in our household, most women do. The ‘dudes’ in charge really don’t get it, although I have a feeling they’re about to 😉

    • melissahasobservations
      Posted August 3, 2014 3:28 am 0Likes

      I couldn’t agree more Jackie. Thanks for the comment!

  • Debra
    Posted August 31, 2014 9:35 am 0Likes

    Love your blog! So humorous, yet perfect! BTW, I re-read the whole series every time DG has a new book in the series. I finished Outlander for the 8th time and am almost done with DIA (for the 7th time). I’m really enjoying the series.

    • melissahasobservations
      Posted September 2, 2014 3:37 pm 0Likes

      There is SO much in her books, every time I re-read them, I feel like I’m reading for the first time. Thanks for the kind words!!

  • Susan Jolitz
    Posted September 8, 2015 1:23 am 0Likes

    Very well sais. You covered a lot of territory in this blog. Couldn’t agree with you more. In hindsight, I guess those reviewers are back pedaling as fast as they can.

    • Melissa B
      Posted September 8, 2015 2:27 am 0Likes

      Yes, I thought the same thing about the back pedaling too. Thanks for mentioning that!

  • Chrissie
    Posted August 12, 2016 9:18 pm 0Likes

    Wow – never realised any of this about Outlander! I just assumed all ages of women (and some men too )loved the books. It really shouldn’t surprise me though.

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