chocolate in the fruit bowl (karenhealey) wrote,
chocolate in the fruit bowl

Shock: Researching Hatred Makes Me Angry

Internets, I was engaged in discussion the other day concerning criticism, and made the following assertion regarding the YA world:

"[It seems to be] okay to hate on female authors, readers, and characters far in excess of their male counterparts.” (Which is common as dirt, and utterly repulsive)

To which Phoebe North replied: "So, question, and I mean this in all genuineness: do we actually have proof that this occurs in excess of the “hate” against male authors, readers, or characters?"

"Well, fair enough," I thought. "No, I don't actually have any proof."

So I did some research.

Having acquired 31 of the 52 NYT Best Seller lists published in the last 52 weeks, I selected the list from those I had that was closest to the first of the month. Then I wrote down the names of everyone who at that point appeared in the Print Bestsellers Chapter Books, Paperbacks and Series lists and had done so with a YA title, defined as including a recommended age range with at least one teenage spot - ie, (10 and up), (12 and up), (10-13).

This resulted in 56 names: 37 women and 19 men.

(This shouldn't be taken as an indication of overall sales or overall popularity - the method by which the NYT makes its lists is famously arcane, and while some writers named have been on the list for hundreds of weeks, others appeared for a few weeks and then disappeared again. I wanted to acquire a reasonable sample of names of authors that had sold relatively well last year*, that's all.)

Then I searched for the phrase "I hate [Author's Name Here]" on the Google search engine.

Discarding those with no results (or, in one case, one who was named Michael Scott, which is the same name as a loved/loathed character from The Office, and had no hits on the first two pages for the author), I had 31 names: 17 women and 13 men.

I noted the number of overall results for each author, and ta-daa! Discarding L.J. Smith, who shares a name with a football player people also apparently have hatred for, five of the ten "I hate [author]" results with the highest numbers are women. Including L.J. Smith, five of the ten would still be women. Which is 50%, right? So why do I think that the hatred for female authors is disproportionate?

Well, that 50% doesn't tell us that much. It disregards whether anyone is getting substantially more results for "I hate [x]" than others. It also disregards tone. There's a substantial difference between "I hate Ermine Lackwinkle because his latest was so good I read it through dinner and forgot to eat!" and "I hate Ermine Lackwinkle because he is a repulsive blight upon the world and also he killed my favourite character" and "I hate Ermine Lackwinkle's books because he constantly misuses 'literally'", but all of those formulations will show up on that search.

Sooo, I looked at the first two pages** (or one, if there was only one) of those results and sorted the quotes that resulted into three kinds: Affectionate Hate, of the "Love their books so much I hate them" or "Hate them for being so talented!" variety; Personal Hate for either hatred expressed without qualification or hatred expressed with reasons for the hate that weren't affectionate (which included a couple of instances of "I hate X author but I like her books"); and hatred that was specifically for the writing of the said author.

As you can see in the data below, the top hated people, by far, are two female authors, JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. Moreover, the kind of hate they get is not nice. The two pages of result checking led to 2 examples of affectionate hatred for J.K Rowling, and 11 instances of personal hate. Stephenie Meyer's results yielded no instances of affectionate hatred, and 9 of personal hatred, including a facebook page entitled "Team I hate Stephenie Meyer", and another entitled "I hate Stephenie Meyer and she must die".***

Next is Richard Dawkins, a famously acerbic atheist on the list for a children's/YA non-fiction book. He also receives a great deal of personal hatred - 13 instances, including an assertion that he's a secret Christian, which... I suspect is incorrect. No affectionate hatred, but also no death threats, which surprised me.

At the number 4 position (discarding LJ Smith) is John Green. Who gets 4 instances where people affectionately hate him because he's just that good and 2 instances of personal hatred. Number 5: James Patterson, with no affectionate hatred, and 7 of personal hatred. Number 6: Christopher Paolini, with 1 affectionate hate, and 5 personal hatred counts. Number 7: Neil Gaiman, with five instances of hate because he's so awesome, and five of personal hatred.

Number 8: Suzanne Collins, with 3 results of affectionate hatred, and 7 of personal hatred, including mention of composing a "threatening letter". Number 9: Sarah Dessen, with no affectionate hatred and 5 personal hatred counts. And Erin Hunter*** rounds out the top 10, with 1 "I hate her but I love her" and 9 of personal hatred.

So, for the top ten only, largely because I'd been doing this all damn day:

Affectionate Hatred
Men: 10
Women: 6

Personal Hatred
Men: 33
Women: 41

From these dodgy samples, and disgracefully haphazard methods, and pending further study, I am willing to point to the tentative conclusion that in the YA world, best selling female authors do indeed get more hatred than their male counterparts. Which, equally, is the conclusion I thought I'd find, and I'm happy to acknowledge my bias there, considering that I trawled through a metric fuckton of virulent crap directed at YA female authors, occasionally coupled with a wish that they would die.

ETA: Because there have been a couple of comments to this effect - I really mean what I say in the paragraph above. I did the best I could with the data I had available, which was incomplete and flawed for a variety of reasons - but I'm not a statistician, the sample is tiny, and this is not reliable research. My point is that a) it's hard to statistically prove or disprove misogyny this way and b) qualitatively, what women are getting in the data listed below looks hella worse to me, and this was without even heading to one of the many, many Cassandra Clare posts at ONTD where people line up to call her a fat bitch, just for funsies.

I think this hatred, and the way it is expressed, is something to look out for, and be alert to, and I'd be fascinated to see similar (but, you know, real) study into female readers, characters, and critics in the YA world. And also some study into who is doing the hating - from my observations, it looked to be mostly female readers voicing their hate.

Also interesting might be research into criteria of hate not attached to the "I hate..." phrase. Personal appearance, intelligence, friendliness, etc, are all ways we judge people, and I'm certain this applies to YA authors as much as anyone else - and possibly not with gender equity in emphasis.

I've copied the complete chart below, so that you can see the ickiness in action. If anyone wants to do real maths, that would be awesome. For the meantime, I'm done.

* In the USA, at least.

** Because two pages of hate for a single person was about as much as I was willing to read. This is Science.

*** There's an argument to be made that these two ladies get disproportionately hated because they are disproportionately popular - that the hate is just a necessary byproduct of being so well-known. I am myself more interested in the existence and expression of the hate itself, not as in a proportion of popularity, however that could be gauged, because it is the hate itself I find concerning.

**** Erin Hunter is a pseudonym for a group of authors, who write under the same female name, thus performatively presenting as female. James Patterson is a real person, who does solo books, and who also collaborates and "co-writes" with a lot of writers, where the co-writing is presumed to be along the lines of "James Patterson has an idea for something that might make a cool book; someone else does most of the writing; 'James Patterson' goes on the cover in big letters and the other author's name goes on in smaller letters." Patterson got on the lists for several books, including a solo one. L.J. Smith is no longer writing the Vampire Diaries books; they are ghostwritten under her name. Both "Hunter" and Patterson (and various co-writers) are engaged in totally legit ways of doing writing business.

Download data in .doc format.

If you're reading this post on my livejournal, try clicking here for easier reading and scroll down.


Apparent gender

"I hate …"

Affectionate hate

Personal hate

Hate writing/Neutral/Weird

J. K. Rowling


31 700 results

"Eurrggh, rich and good, that's even more annoying."

"ugh I hate JK Rowling. Why does she have to do this Pottermore unique online experience thing? I'M TRYING TO GET A LIFE."

"Why I hate JK Rowling."

"More Reasons Why I Hate J. K. Rowling!"

"I Hate J.K.Rowling For Killing Severus Snape" (Facebook Page)

"hate j.k. rowling...she killed fred weasley!" (facebook Page)

"Love the Potternovels, don't worry your little selves, but I LOATHE Rowling herself."

"i hate J.K Rowling!!!!! How could she??? Heartless @@###! She kills whoever she pleases, whith no regard whatsoever to the readers feelings!"



"I hate J.K. Rowling. she has now killed off BOTH of my favorite characters."

"I hate J.K.Rowling...I finished Harry Potter 6...I hate her...I won't say anything that would spoil the ending but I hate her...She ruined it."

"i hate jk rowling right now. I can't believe how much Pottermore is making me angry."


Stephenie Meyer


24 100 results


" Team "I hate Stephenie Meyer" (Facebook page)

" I hate Stephenie Meyer and she must die." (Facebook page)

" I hate Stephenie Meyer liking Muse - BITCH!"

" In closing I would just like to say that I hate Stephenie Meyer.

Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HAAAAAAAATE!!"

" "Why I Hate Stephenie Meyer""

#i hate stephenie meyer (Tumblr tag)

" i hate stephenie meyer” discussion on The Student Room's Chat forum."

" Funny =) I hate stephenie meyer but I'm using her lines to convey all these emo thingy."

" fyi i hate stephenie meyer" (tumblr tag)


" I can't say I hate Stephenie Meyer since I have never met her before, but I really, really don't care for her vampire novel series. Okay, really, really don't care doesn't cover it. I hate it."

"Why I hate Stephenie Meyer (and kinda love her, too). I both love and hate what Stephanie Meyer has done for the young adult reading world."

Richard Dawkins



8930 results


"Hello, I'm a staunch atheist, and I hate Richard Dawkins"

"He is what the bible calls a fool........ He better repent and believe in Christ or his soul would be in danger of hellfire!"

"So I am an agnostic. And a while ago, someone asked me why I had such a strong dislike of people like Richard Dawkins,"

"I hate Richard Dawkins for exactly the same reasons I hate televangelists."

"I hate Richard Dawkins" (Facebook page)

"I hate Richard Dawkins more than anyone else on earth."

"I hate Richard Dawkins, you should too."

"God I hate Richard Dawkins with a passion, but I also hate the idea of a pope (and the Catholic Church."

"Unrelated: I hate Richard Dawkins"

"i hate richard dawkins i hate richard dawkins i hate richard dawkins i hate richard dawkins"

"I hate Richard Dawkins, he's a secret Christian!!!!!!"

"Why I Hate Richard Dawkins. A Sermon by. Rev. Joan Montagnes"

"i hate richard dawkins!!! arrogent bastard!!"

"I hate Richard Dawkins arrogant style of presentation."

L.J. Smith


4 270 results* (Some of these numerical results are for a football player of the same name)

"sometimes I hate lj smith for making all the ships seem plausible at once :P"

"I hate LJ Smith" (Facebook page)

"how dare she ? ? Damon is truly in love with elena !! I hate l j smith and her books now"

"I LOVE NICK!!! i hate l j smith for making cassie like adam"

"gah, i hate l.j. smith."

"What the f*ck is happening to our youth?! I hate Stephenie Meyer :chainsaw: , I hate L.J. Smith, and I hate Cassandra Clare (as easy as that book was to read)."

"I hate L.J. Smith's style too. FYI, I have read a few of her books."


John Green


3 210 results

"I hate John Green for making me feel all the feelings."

"I had to stop reading last night and phone my sister and yell 'I hate John Green' at her last night. So good, but so evil."

"After reading all day (when not in class) I hate John Green, and LOVE John Green. He has single handedly changed how I think."

"I hate John green I hate him I hate him I hate him I have never cried so much over a book ever."

"He's so narcissistic I can't take his videos seriously. His head has inflated to gigantic proportions since his books and the channel has become popular, and I just can't listen to his self-praise anymore."

"I hate John Green a bit. We have the same name for a character, not just a first or a last name but both"

"I hate John Green's style. I don't know why, but I really don't like it. Don't get me wrong, he's a really nice guy, pretty awesome personally,"

"I hate John Green’s writing."


James Patterson


2200 results



"I hate James Patterson. He doesn't even bother writing his own damn books anymore."

"God how I hate James Patterson. It's good to know there are other people out there who think his writing is crap."

"I HATE James Patterson. I only picked this book up because I felt the need to look at one more piece of evidence before I wrote him off"

"Here is an example of WHY I hate James Patterson: "He looked like the actor from the latest James Bond movie, Daniel Craig""

"I hate James Patterson. What the hell? Has anyone noticed how many books a month that man puts out?"

"I hate James Patterson and everything he stands for in the publishing industry."


"Heck, even if I said, "I hate James Patterson" in conversation, what that would really mean is "I hate his books," not "I hate the man."

Christopher Paolini


1660 results

"I hate Christopher Paolini's name for his world, although I love his books. It's just too hard to spell."

"I hate Christopher Paolini."

"The Aspiring Writer or Why I Hate Christopher Paolini."

"t makes me wonder why I have wasted my time and money all these years, I hate Christopher Paolini"

"i hate christopher paolini so much right now . -.-'' how could he ?"

"As for me, I hate Christopher Paolini - the guy who wrote the Eragon trilogy. He has no creativity, and he basically copies Lord of the Rings"

"I hate Christopher Paolini's “Inheritance Cycle.”"

"just for the record, i hate christopher paolini's books."

"I hate Christopher Paolini's books, but I chose to give Inheritance a second chance with Eldest. Bad idea"

Neil Gaiman


1590 results

"The reason why I hate Neil Gaiman, is because he is such a master story teller that merely the thought of comparing myself to him puts me at shame."

" Boy oh boy do I hate Neil Gaiman. Why? Lots of reasons! I hate him for his incredible talent and how disgustingly prolific he is."

" I hate Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean for being so creative and talented and endlessly awesome"

" There are days I hate Neil Gaiman. He just writes so well."

" Why I Hate Neil Gaiman

Why? How can you not hate a guy who comes up with an idea that’s as evocative and brilliantly simple as The Graveyard Book?"


"Unlike most of the “why I hate Neil Gaiman” titled blogs i read, this is actually a post on why I hate Neil Gaiman"

"Something in me attempted to add the book to my internal 'to read' list, and then I suddenly found myself thinking, "Actually, I hate Neil Gaiman.""

"I think I hate Neil Gaiman!" It turns out that every book I have ever read that has merited praise from Neil Gaiman has turned out to be a real dud"

" I hate Neil Gaiman and have read most of his books to prove it!"

" I hate Neil Gaiman and I hate Tom Waits."

" I hate Neil Gaiman's poetry.

...There, I said it.

Well, okay, I don't specifically hate his poetry. What I hate is when I buy an anthology of short fiction and it says STORIES BY blah blah blabitty bloo AND NEIL GAIMAN on the (digital) cover - and then the "story" by Neil Gaiman turns out to be a thirty-two line poem. No fair."

Suzanne Collins


1180 results

"i hate suzanne collins for making peeta so likable"

"I hate Suzanne Collins. I hate how she had me flipping pages furiously, breathlessly"

"I hate Suzanne Collins for leaving me hanging.  But not as much as I love her for writing these books."

"i hate suzanne Collins" (tumblr tag)

"I hate Suzanne Collins &doubt she'll ever regain any positive light previously showered on her"

"I hate Suzanne Collins. I hate her for creating a Gale character I like love so much, and then at the end of the day, she makes him look like the worst guy that can possibly exist, even in just a work of fiction. I hate Suzanne Collins for even creating such a good book at the start, and then ends it with the most fathomable ending there could be. What a Gamemaker she is eh? Manipulative. Dictator. She can possibly be worse than her worst character, Snow or Coin or Gale maybe. I just hate her."

"I hate Suzanne Collins for leaving a very impersonal war is bad message in MJ"

"As much as I hate Suzanne Collins now, you have to admit, the ending to that brilliant series was just...outstanding."

"God. I'm so disappointed in this book. But I have to admit that even though I hate Suzanne Collins at the moment, she is a very smart author, changing ways just like that."

"Remembering why I hate Suzanne Collins so much. Writing this. Composing threatening letter to Ms. Collins."

"i hate suzanne collins for the last line of this book: "but gale is not one to keep secrets from me"

Sarah Dessen


1170 results


"And, oh, yeah, I hate Sarah Dessen."

"i hate sarah dessen every book i tried to read by her failed"

"I hate Sarah Dessen. I know that sounds harsh."

"As much as I hate Sarah Dessen, I have actually read all her books."

"I hate Sarah Dessen's books. I read like 5 of them. Thought they were real crappy."

"I hate Sarah Dessen's writing"

"i hate sarah dessen novels, no offense."

"usually I HATE Sarah Dessen books because she does 20 billion flashbacks in 3 chapters."

"I hate Sarah dessen books. There is absolutely no substance."

Erin Hunter (Totally lots of authors – but represented under this name)


1100 results

"I hate Erin Hunter,but I love her too. I can't friggin believe she put Bumblestripe with Dovewing and totally discarded Tigerheart."

"Why does every good or awesome cat have to die besides firestar?!? Sometimes I hate Erin hunter"

"I hate erin hunter for making him die e_o scourge should have joined ThunderClan :/ if i ever see erin hunter or one of them i shall nomnom on her brains :P"

"hate erin hunter for killing hollyleaf. Only the best characters die now."

"I hate Erin Hunter. You know why? Because she disregarded all of the clues that she laid down to appease the fanbrats."

"I hate Erin Hunter because she made Silverstream die."

"To be honest, I hate Erin Hunter ( all of them ) because they have no worries about disturbing and breaking the ideal love"

"I ADORE warrior cats and i hate erin hunter for making my 4 fave characters die!"

"and I hate erin hunter! she ruined everything!!"

"I HATE Erin Hunter for this! *sobs in a corner* WHY!?!?!."

"I hate Erin Hunter's books. They're too complicated."

Rick Riordan


590 results

" i hate rick riordan for making me love so much a FICTIONAL couple. IT HURTS."

" i hate rick riordan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

" I hate Rick Riordan."

"I hate Rick Riordan because I didn't like the ending of the Son of Neptune."


" I hate Rick Riordan. He has this amazing talent of taking a briliant idea, series even, and wrecking it"

"This is my version of the third book of the Heroes of Olympus Series (The Mark of Athena) because I seriously cannot wait for it to come out and I hate Rick Riordan for leaving such a cliff hanger on the Son of Neptune"

" I HATE science fiction stories almost as much as I HATE Rick Riordan books"

" i hate rick riordan's cliff hangers:p"

" I have a confession to make: I hate Rick Riordan. I'm sorry, I should say I STRONGLY DISLIKE THE WRITING of everything Mr. Riordan has done post-The Last Olympian. "


Harlan Coben


115 results

"Why do I hate Harlan Coben? Because his books are so good that I read them so fast and then have to wait a whole year for the next book."

"I hate Harlan Coben. Every time I pick up one of his books, I think, Oh, I’ll just read one chapter and then I’ll get on with my work/grocery shopping/showering, whatever. But it never works out that way."

"I hate Harlan Coben. He knows too well how to grab me, pull me into his traps of suspense, and where to tighten."

"I hate Harlan Coben!"

"Oh and I hate Harlan Coben too and his cliqued, worthless, contrite drivel."

"I hate Harlan Coben, good vocabulary but my god is he poor, loads of money no shame"

"Laura (before): Well, I hate Harlan Coben books and I hate French movies.*"

Cassandra Clare


103 results

"I hate Cassandra Clare. But I love her so much."


" I hate Cassandra Clare. I mean obviously I don't actually hate her because I love her quite a lot."


" I. HATE. Cassandra Clare. I absolutely hate her."

" I HATE CASSANDRA CLARE! She ruined a fantastic book with a sickening twist! AAAH!"

"I hate Cassandra Clare but her books are guilty pleasures of mine."

"I hate L.J. Smith, and I hate Cassandra Clare (as easy as that book was to read)."


Richelle Mead


47 results

"I love and I hate Richelle Mead. That is how I am with my favorite authors. Because they give me what I want and what I don't expect"

"this series is so damn worth it, cause I hate Richelle Mead for what she has done to me. She alone has made me wanna write a fanfic"

"I hate Richelle Mead for writing a such a despicable set of lovers"

"I hate Richelle Mead.. makes me fall for her characters only to have the heroine (who I don't like anymore by the end of it) choose the first guy."

"i HATE richelle mead fr endin it like tat.........there should hAV been SOMETHING happy in his life."

"I hate Richelle Mead. Of course she has to end this book in a ginormous cliff hanger that probably won't be solved for like the 2 years she spends writing. >:( Ending stuff in cliff hangers is not funny. >:( I'm gonna go stab her with my own silver stake. >:("

"I hate Richelle Mead. I REALLY, REALLY hate her"


Lauren Kate


44 results

" I hate Lauren Kate . She's just making it difficult for me to patiently wait for her next novel"


" I hate Lauren Kate and Becca Fitzpatrick's books"

" So yeah, just because Fallen was a 1-star for me, doesn't mean I hate Lauren Kate or anything like that."


Candace Bushnell


9 results


"it's back on Bravo now and I hate Candace Bushnell,"

"Drop City is on my to-read list, but I hate Candace Bushnell"

"I hate Candace Bushnell with a passion anyway."

"Ugh. I hate Candace Bushnell. 4 Blondes made me feel sick it was so bad"

"I think I hate Candace Bushnell. Granted, she's done nothing except inflict her book, Sex and the City, upon the reading public, but sometimes that's enough."

"I hate Candace Bushnell's books with a fiery passion"

Elizabeth Berkley

(Yes, the actress is also the author)


8 results


"I hate Elizabeth Berkley, she loves to playing a *****"

"I hate Elizabeth Berkley"

"I suppose I could watch the movie but I hate Elizabeth Berkley, lol"

"And Boy oh boy do I hate Elizabeth Berkley. Sorry bout that guys, I needed a good rant"

"thank gawd. i hate elizabeth Berkley"


Sherrilyn Kenyon


8 results

"Why is it that when I find an epic book series with a good concept, awesome action, and beastly characters, and it turns out to be a romance? The worst thing is a read one and thought it was pretty good.  Stupid Sherrilyn Kenyon and her Dark-Hunters!"

"I hate Sherrilyn Kenyon, so I didn't even bother trying to read her short story."

"I hate Sherrilyn Kenyon"


Ellen Hopkins


6 results


"I HATE Ellen Hopkins (:" (Facebook Page)

"my god i hate ellen hopkins. there was only one good thing about identical, and it isn't even original"

"Well that's okay, because I hate Ellen Hopkins' books. They're terrible. "Look at me do drugs!" shut the fuck up."

"I hate Ellen Hopkins' writing with more intensity than I can express in words."

"I hate Ellen Hopkins books because when I read them, I feel physically ill, and helpless"

Markus Zusak


6 results

" Damn You, Markus Zusak. I mean this in the nicest way possible: I hate Markus Zusak [link goes on to explain it's because he's so good]."

" I think I hate Markus Zusak for being this good AND younger than I."

" I hate Markus Zusak for being such a great writer. Jealousy!"



Anthony Horowitz



"I hate Anthony Horowitz. He's using all of my ideas for a Holmes novel in his."

"I just read Scorpia the 5th book in the alex rider series! And I have to say I HATE ANTHONY HOROWITZ! HE’s SO CRUEL!"

"Ugh, I hate Anthony Horowitz."

"Then I went through a 'I hate Anthony Horowitz!' phase."


Sherman Alexie


4 results


"Full disclosure. I hate Sherman Alexie and almost everything that comes out of his mouth"

"I hate Sherman Alexie as a writer, but I guess sometimes because of my experience I like him better."

Lauren Oliver


4 results

"started cursing about how much I hate Lauren Oliver and how I'mma fly to her house and demand a manuscript of book two."



Becca Fitzpatrick


2 results


"I hate Becca Fitzpatrick who is a heartless bitch, people are such fucking idiots"


Christopher Pike


2 results


"i hate Christopher Pike"


Ellen Schreiber


2 results



"I hate Ellen Schreiber's series Vampire Kisses, but it's not as if I think she should drop dead."

Ally Condie


1 result



"I hate Ally Condie's overpriced books."

James Dashner


1 result


"Just posted WHY I HATE JAMES DASHNER" (link is dead)


Michael Morpurgo


1 result



"Normally I hate Michael Morpugo books but this one is reallly good. It made me cry because it is so well written."


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  • Solitude

    When I was a kid, my mother used to say, “Karen, you are so anti-social!” Not like a description. Like a flaw. Actually, I can be pretty social. I…

  • Possession

    I am suspicious of muses. I do know writers and other creative persons for whom the muse is essential - nothing works unless the muse is in…

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    Okay, Internets, brace yourself, because this post has been brewing for a while. In the last three months, When We Wake has been honored with a…