‘Hunting Girls’ is a new book by Kelly Oliver, a Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. Published by Columbia University Press, it discusses recent phenomena including campus rape, “creepshots”, and depictions of young women in recent Hollywood blockbusters.
I am always looking for new feminist texts, particularly those that really analyse recent developments in social media. This looked particularly promising – the book talks about Tinder, Snapchat, recent legislation, and the developing image of what a ‘victim’ looks like. It also talks about trigger warnings and how young women are now both depicted as the hunted and the hunter in films such as the Divergent series, The Hunger Games series, and others such as Hanna. And ‘Hunting Girls’ most definitely discusses all of these issues.
A lot of interesting points are made. I think the strongest sections of the book were when Oliver discussed reality TV shows such as America’s Next Top Model, and when she compared traditional fairytales to modern young adult novels. A lot of analysis also went into the Grimms fairytales versus the Disney-fied versions of them, which I also found fascinating. It wasn’t necessarily the most analytical feminist text that I’ve ever read, but as an introduction to the problematic themes within mainstream media, it was pretty good.
However. This book needs some serious editing. I know I’m a nit-pick, but some facts were repeated three or four times within single chapters. Some facts were repeated twice on the same page. This book needs some serious re-assemblage. All the facts are there, and they’re very interesting. Oliver makes some very pertinent points, particularly in the last two chapters. But I was almost too distracted by the endless repetition to even notice this. It was a real shame, because with a bit more editorial effort, this could be a very good primer for young feminists today.