It's a good idea for a site (although it's been done with much more wit and style somewhere else *cough*chicklit.com*cough*), and I think the Bibliofemmes' taste in literature is pretty good - I like a lot of their bookmarked books. So why doesn't it work? Well, maybe it's the writing, which is flat and dull and humourless and simply not very good. Or maybe it's the fact that the forums are full of idiots. Like one poster, Darcy, who posted the following insightful observation:
I often wonder too why there aren't more pre-twentieth century female authors. I know getting published as a woman was difficult, but Jane Austen, the Brontes, George Elliot managed it (even if some had to disguise themselves as men). In the upper classes they had the training and the time, but they are few and far between. It would be great if there were more to be found; although I'm sure feminist literary historians would have rooted them out by now.
Oh, God, where do I begin with such moronitude? Darcy, meet Virago and Persephone. Oh, and the Women's Press. And the Attic Press. And Aphra Benn, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Fanny Burney, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Frances Hodgson Burnett, George Sand, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mrs Henry Wood, Frances Sheridan, Edith Wharton and many, many, many more pre-20th century female scribes. And the news that actually the "upper classes" weren't very keen on educating their daughters.
I think - no, I know - that I've been spoiled by Chicklit. Anything less than the level of wit, erudition and humour on that site is just unacceptable to me now. So maybe I'm being unfair on the site (and I know I'm being unfair on their posters, who certainly aren't all like the poor deluded fool quoted above). But I fear that, like many things (Point Pleasant, Glory on Buffy, anything Jasper Fforde has ever written) it's just another product that should be good, and sadly isn't.