Twitter Is Not Letting The Washington Post Get Away with Mocking Jane Austen

An article in the paper expressed shock that the author wrote about marriage despite being a ‘spinster’

Twitter exploded in laughter and scoffs this weekend after The Washington Post chose to celebrate Jane Austen with a headline that seemed bemused at her perpetual singleness — even though she wrote about marriage.

What? A writer just… making things up? In fiction???

Mind you, “marriage plot” books aren’t even about marriage — they’re about dating. But that’s beside the point. The point is, it’s pretty common for fiction written by women to be treated as if it must be memoir — and then dismissed as unserious because it’s not an epic triumph of the imagination. We saw it most recently with the viral short story “Cat Person,” but even Jane Austen isn’t immune. Two hundred years after the author’s death, she’s still being called a “spinster” in The Washington Post — and people are still expressing shock that she somehow managed to write about marriage without having lived through it. (The article also says Virginia Woolf was “frigid with men”! It’s a triumph on many levels.)

But 2017 has one thing over 1817: Twitter does not suffer such foolishness gladly.

Even Neil Gaiman weighed in, in a weird oblique third-person way:

But this tweet got the last word, or whatever that is:

We are not the authors of The Giving Tree, but we’re still enjoying the shade.

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