Lately, and I do NOT know what is wrong with me, I can't turn off the snarky Inner Feminist Critic when I'm reading. For one, I've been reading hardly anything written by men. Books full of dudes doing dude things... don't we have enough real life full of that?
But even when the novels are written by women.... I don't get why the dudes are front and center so much of the time. As I lamented recently to Dr. S: if there are talking dragons, why are there no women doing things? If the whole story is about a mythical elf/goblin empire*, why are none of the people in power female?
Why do we keep re-inventing a bigoted, misogynistic history? Is it that hard to examine social structure in enough detail to subvert it? Can there at least be female characters who DO things? (I'm sure it never occurs to some authors, but I don't understand HOW.) Great example: Seanan McGuire. Without ever being preachy or narratively intruding about it... there are women! There are queer people and people of color! It's all part of the story and there are still male protagonists!
Related: definitely taking book recommendations that won't make me grit my teeth every ten pages.
*Thank you, Bunny; I did really enjoy it aside from the lack of female characters. And the future bride is pretty kickass. I only wish she HAD kicked someone's ass.