So, why do women like the world of Jane Austen?
Is it because, having both boobs and X-chromosomes (two of each, generally), we just can’t get enough of the “structured undergarment eaten by ruffles” look? Maybe it’s to do with the steady diet of finger cakes—mmm, nutritious!—and pianoforte music! Surely we’d rather spend the day embroidering in poorly lit rooms than work hard at careers we love, and obviously, we live to obsess over the socio-romantic dynamics of our neighborhoods—or we would, if Jane didn’t use such gosh-darned big words! Golly!
You’ve shown me, good sir, that “the ideals of civilized and refined living these stories represent” must be what keeps me coming back for more of Austen’s work. Do you think I could grow up to live in a world where women can dance, draw, sing, play now-obsolete musical instruments, and spend their energy worrying about the fact of their own financial dependence? Do you really think so?
I always thought women loved Jane Austen because she tells the truth about the human experience. I thought women loved Jane Austen because her characters are timeless. I thought women loved Jane Austen because she offers insight into what it means to love and be loved, as a lover or as a friend or as a sister or as a member of the community at large. I thought women loved Jane Austen because her novels are funny and poignant and deceptive in their simplicity.
I thought men loved Jane Austen, too.
Guess I was wrong.