okay, I just finished reading the article, and I must say I am confused. I'm not sure what the point of it was. I'm not sure Mary Gaitskill's books are about aside from the fact that they have sex scenes (an instant turn off of interest for me) and that they apparently that they are very bleak or something.
I'm not sure what Suzanne Rivecca is trying to get at, but I can tell she's defiantly very passionate about it and is probably very biased. and when I see something I don't know/care about and see something that feels very biased, my immediate opinion tends to against them, cause I doubt I'm seeing the whole picture. So I don't really trust any "factual" thing she says, and when she starts speaking in broad stokes, I start getting annoyed. Like in the middle where she started going on about the apartment bias of critics to always refer to works by female writers as analytical and pay very high attention to detail, which I don't know is a thing and highly doubt is even true.
and again, I don't really trust what Rivecca says about Gaitskill's work, or even what she says Gaitskill's critics say, but if I were to take her article on face value there is one part of it I think needs mentioning,
Joel embodies the stark compartmentalization common in Gaitskill’s men: they believe that females need saving, but only if those females are superhumanly noncomplicit in their own oppression; at the same time, they are haunted by the uneasy hunch that they, as males, are too ineffectual to be true saviors. And since the women in Gaitskill’s world are anything but damsels in distress—they are just as vexing, prickly, and self-contradicting as they are doe-eyed and pathetic—their physical and emotional vulnerability is both gratifying and maddening to their male partners, who cannot for the life of them reconcile the inconsistencies.
The men in Gaitskill’s fiction are famously intolerant of ambiguity. They eschew inner reflection as self-indulgent; consequently, they explode into irrational rages and sabotage themselves from want of self-knowledge. The women, on the other hand, can’t stop analyzing, interpreting, dissecting themselves and everyone else with incisive, manic eloquence. And their men lumber away for dear life in the wake of it, roaring like tortured grizzlies. “I’m a very simple person,” a hounded man exclaims in “The Dentist,” backed into a corner by his date’s psychological probing. “I’m bland and I have a low level of emotional vibrancy and I like it that way!”
if this description of Gaitskill's work is true, then I'd say her work is sexist to a degree. if EVERY man in all of her works all this miserable pathetic terrible fuck-up that prefers to live in ignorance and have rather sexist views of women, I'd probably have to call into question Ms. Gaitskill's view of men.