A professional audiobook narrator has taken to TkTok to shame the sexist way male authors write about women.
New York-based narrator and director Kimberly M. Wetherell has launched a series on the social platform titled ‘Shame on the literary man’ where she reads aloud excerpts from novels written by male authors.
The excerpts she chooses highlight the sexist and condescending way men write about women and their bodies, comparing breasts to fish or making derogatory comments about the “delectable” young girls of “fat women”. .
In a video, she quoted Ben Aaronovitch’s 2011 novel Rivers of London, where the author mocked a “plump” woman with a cheerful voice, saying she had to “develop a good personality because the alternative is suicide”.
Kimberly, a nominated SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator, told Femail that she started the series by chance in February and was inundated with inquiries from other women about the problematic excerpts written by men.
New York-based narrator and director Kimberly M. Wetherell has launched a series on the social platform called “Literary man shaming” where she reads aloud from novels written by male authors.
‘The teenage daughters of these fat women are still absolutely delicious’: The most outrageous examples of how male authors write about women
“Her breasts swam towards me like two pink nosed fish and she let me hold them.” – Goodbye, Christopher Columbus, Philip Roth, 1959
“She had the breasts of a little girl. […] “To tell you the truth, I feel like I’m raping a 17-year-old girl.” – Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami, 1987
“The voice belonged to a chubby, round-faced woman of the kind who develops a good personality because the alternative is suicide.” – Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch, 2011
“Behind me, a beautiful Spaniard sat at the wheel of an open-top Mercedes, redoing her lipstick on a strong mouth designed for any activity other than eating. Intrigued by her lazy sexual confidence, I smiled as she touched her mascara and lightly brushed the underside of her lashes like a lazy lover. Who was she – a nightclub cashier, a real estate mogul’s mistress, or a local prostitute returning to La Linea with a fresh supply of condoms and sex aids? – Cocaine Night, JG Ballard, 1996
“Her body wasn’t particularly in shape, but seemed perfectly cellulite-free. Shaved legs. A conservative and recent bikini wax. Other bruises had come to the surface, but they didn’t hide the fact that she didn’t have a particularly sexy body. i think i could do bettershe thought. I won’t be able to level up to Hot, but I might be able to handle Cute. If I have enough budget. Or at least makeup to work with. – The Tower, David O’Malley, 2012
“I will say this, however – and this is a weird, weird thing – the teenage daughters of these fat women are still utterly delicious, as soft and gloriously round and naturally fresh as a basket of fruit. I don’t know what happens to them but it must be awful marrying one of those nubile cuties knowing there’s a ticking time bomb inside her that on an unknown date will swell her into something huge and grotesque, probably suddenly and without warning, as if a self-inflating raft had been ripped out with the pin. – The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson, 1989
“The newcomers sat in a place where they could watch a young girl of about seventeen as she crossed behind the bar towards their table. She had brown hair that was curly and blowing in the wind, melancholy but confident brown eyes as round as ripe cherries, a cleavage that sank into breasts sadistically oppressed by that undersized white blouse, nipples that held up even when ‘they were covered, and one of those tailors to seize to dance the tango until dawn or until the last drop of wine had been drunk. – Burning Patience, Antonio Skármeta, 1985
‘Susan smiled at me, giving Molly the Female Once-Over – a process by which a woman creates a detailed profile of another woman based on a million subtle details of clothing, jewelry, makeup and body type , then decides how much of a social threat she might be. Men have a parallel process, but it’s binary: Does he have beer? If so, will he share with me? – Changes, Jim Butcher, 2010
She has now amassed 67,000 followers and over 500,000 likes by reading snippets of goofy books by male authors on TikTok.
In a recent video, she read an excerpt from Philip Roth’s 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus, where the author describes a romantic scene between a man and a woman.
Describing the female character’s body, Roth compared her breasts to “two pink-nosed fish” that swam towards her lead character.
Meanwhile, in an excerpt from a 1980s travelogue, travel writer Bill Bryson talks at length about the “delectable” girls of fat women and jokes it would be “awful to marry one of these teenage cuties knowing there’s a ticking time bomb deep inside her.
Kimberly also read an excerpt from Cocaine Night by JG Ballard for her channel. He describes a woman there, saying that she can only be a mistress, a prostitute or a cashier.
In his 1989 travelogue The Lost Continent, non-fiction travel writer Bill Bryson despairs of what will become of the “delectable” bodies of fan girls.
In another clip, the narrators read an excerpt from Huraki Murakami where his character compares his lover’s body to the body of a “17 year old”.
Kimberly, who has worked with Penguin Random House and MacMillan audio, said she’s been inundated with requests and suggestions since joining TikTok in February and starting the series soon after.
“I didn’t expect much more than my handful of fellow students/followers who rolled their eyes with me, but in hindsight, I should never have underestimated the collective power of women’s rage,” a- she declared.
The first clip Kimberly read on TikTok was 1933’s Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West.
Although she doesn’t comment on the snippets she reads, Kimberly perfected her ‘disappointed’ look for the camera
Among the authors who are commonly sent to Kimberly, the early works of Stephen King are popular suggestions.
‘Stephen King has been the most frequent submission – which, honestly, I’m a little unwise to use: one simply for repetitiveness, and two, because I respect him so much as a writer and a human, and I think that there was a lot of growth in what he wrote between the 1970s and today,” she said.
“Philip K. Dick and Ben Aaronovitch have been hugely popular,” she added.
“And people in the comments section repeatedly asked for other literary heavyweights like Robert Heinlein, Huraki Murakami, Robert Jordan, George RR Martin, Ian Fleming,” she added.
“Her body wasn’t particularly in shape, but seemed perfectly cellulite-free. Shaved legs. A conservative and recent bikini wax. Other bruises had come to the surface, but they didn’t hide the fact that she didn’t have a particularly sexy body. I think I could do better, she thought. I won’t be able to level up to Hot, but I might be able to handle Cute. If I have enough budget. Or at least makeup to work with.
Kimberly read an excerpt from David O’Malley’s 2012 novel The Rook, written by a man from the perspective of a woman in despair over her aging body.
In a video, she quoted Ben Aaronovitch’s 2011 novel Rivers of London, where the author mocked a woman with a cheerful voice, saying she had to “develop a good personality because the alternative is suicide. “.
When not taking suggestions, Kimberly turns to Reddit and Twitter for content, and so far she’s been overwhelmed with positive responses.
She said it might have to do with her sticking to reading what’s on the page and giving very little feedback.
“I always include a photo of the text I’m narrating, to quell any argument that this material actually exists,” she said.
In this excerpt from Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, the popular Japanese writer writes that a female character has a baby girl’s breast
“I simply name the author and title and read what is written, as honestly and faithfully as possible to the selection, as if I were being paid to narrate this audiobook.”
The narrator added that she deletes any “vitriol” comments she receives because the book excerpts she reads for the series are “pretty bad”.
But she admits it would be possible for a man to respond to her channel with a similar series of his own where they are real excerpts from novels written by women about men.
“Rollover is fair play – I have no problem with that. But I’ll bet dollars on donuts that they’ll run out of gear sooner than me,” she added.
Kim said people often send her suggestions and Stephen King’s early work is often quoted