- Women writing m/m, yada yada, redux, etc. – I’m putting this here but I don’t agree that the authors writing the books are irrelevant. m/m is a genre run, edited, written and read mostly by women, largely straight women, and I don’t see how you can say that’s not important.
There are so many things wrong with m/m romance in terms of appropriation, fetishization, the pressure to be part of the m/m community and “family,” etc. etc. But these problems are not confined to books by women writers, or straight women writers, or any other kind of writer. Crappy books are written by all of the above (including bona fide gay men), and great books are written by all of the above (including same).
So stop focusing on the creator and focus on the product. There are shit books that are full of appropriation and fetishization. Name them, shame them, and stomp on them. There are great books that are not like that. Celebrate them and force your m/m-suspicious friends to read them.
- Drawing The Lines Of Consent In Romance – This post is just bonkers. Books can’t cause harm because they’re fiction? Bullshit.
At the same time, the romance community is chock full of smart, educated, self-directed and dynamic women. We’re all very clear on what is consensual sex and what isn’t. We’re an enthusiastically sex-positive group in general, big fans of love, intimacy and all that a good romance brings, both in fiction and in real life. For the most part, we decry slut-shaming, any kind of misogyny and sexual harassment or violence. We’re not the ones debating the definition of rape.
So why do so many romances dance along the lines of less-than-full consent?
Because we’re talking fantasy here. Fiction. Not real life.
- Sunday Salon: The Critical Role – A great little post about what good criticism looks to accomplish.
In an NPR interview last weekend, Graham addresses some of her critics, and one of her statements caught my attention:
You know, the job of criticism is to make distinctions between good things and bad things and between complicated things and simplistic things.
Is that the job of the critic? Recently, Rohan at Novel Readings wrote an excellent post about liking and disliking certain books, and Tom of Wuthering Expectations noted in the comments that what he wants is for critics to show him what they saw in a book that he does not see. I like Tom’s view much better. The trouble with making critics the arbiters of good and bad is that critics don’t even agree on what’s good and bad, never mind the fact that there are many different ways to be good and bad. What, specifically, is the book good or bad for? I hated Wuthering Heights the first time I’d read it because I’d been led to believe it was a beautiful romance. It’s a marvelous book, now one of my favorites, but it’s a terrible love story.
- We Need to Listen to This – Melissa McEwan reminds us to listen to people when they tell us about sexual assault and save our questions about what they could’ve done differently or if they misread what happened.
Every time there is a rape case in the news, the chorus of apologists emerge to sing the same refrain. What if s/he’s lying? How do we know? Where is the proof? La la la.
This is an argument no person could make who has listened, really listened, to so many survivors’ stories. No one who has looked into the eyes of a person who shares the betrayal done to them as though they’re the ones who are confessing to a crime; no one who has heard the hurt and the anger and the regret; no one who has seen every emotion, from hatred to indifference, on the faces and in the voices of survivors, could make this argument.
They would know too clearly, too unavoidably, that there is no upside to the invention of such tales. Not for most people. Not for anyone to whom I’ve ever listened.
- Everything Wrong With New York Magazine’s Terry Richardson Cover Story – I try not to link to Jezebel, but this was a damning look at photographer Terry Richardson and how the media seems to want to enable him.
“Is Terry Richardson an Artist or a Predator?” wonders New York Magazine. Phrasing the proposition in that way — as an either-or binary — is not only insultingly reductive, it’s also wildly misleading: as though it’s possible that the end product justifies the sexual coercion that created it, or that a respected photographer isn’t capable of preying on the women who pose for him.
Benjamin Wallace’s extensive Richardson profile, billed as a more nuanced look at a “vilified” man, opens with Richardson lamenting the fact that “people can just do whatever they want, say whatever they want” on the Internet. In the third paragraph, Wallace mentions that an English model tweeted a screenshot of a Facebook message from Richardson telling her that he will exchange sex for a Vogue shoot, then dismisses it as “clearly an impersonation.” It’s not until the sixth paragraph — after enumerating all of Richardson’s professional successes and accomplishments — that Wallace explicitly mentions Richardson’s history of allegedly coercing unwilling models into sexual acts with him:
- On masculinity, homophobia, and cutting the grass – Mychal Denzel Smith is at Feministing talking about how we define manliness in terms of heterosexual marriage duties and how his father thought he was gay for preferring baking with his mother over mowing the lawn.
Some people I know think we should do away with the concept of masculinity altogether. They think it’s too destructive and not worth redefining. We’d be better off just doing away with the idea. I see where they’re coming from. But I think it’s worth exploring because our conception of masculinity has come to define how so many of us see ourselves in the world. Maybe we can’t save it, but we’d do well to understand just how much damage it has done.
- Prison labor’s new frontier: Artisanal foods – No wonder no one wants to end the drug war. They’d lose a captive workforce that makes only $0.60 a day.
Some years back, a small Colorado goat-cheese maker called Haystack Mountain faced its version of a classic growth challenge: National demand was growing for its chèvres and other cheeses, and the company was struggling to find enough local goat farmers to produce milk. The solution came from a surprising source: Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI). Today six inmates milk 1,000 goats twice a day on a prison-run farm. After non-inmate employees cultivate the cheese at a company facility, it’s sold in Whole Foods outlets, among other stores.
- High court will hear appeal over illegal threats – I have only a basic understanding of constitutional law, but it seems like subjective intent would be impossible to prove. Not that courts aren’t basically useless, but this might be worth keeping an eye on.
The high court said it will consider whether conviction of threatening another person under federal law “requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten.”
For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court has said that “true threats” to harm another person are not protected speech under the First Amendment. But the court has cautioned that laws prohibiting threats must not infringe on constitutionally protected speech. That includes “political hyperbole” or “unpleasantly sharp attacks” that fall shy of true threats.
- #YourSlipIsShowing: Documenting a Hoax – 4chan is currently flooding Twitter with accounts that impersonate Twitter activists, mostly WOC, and spouting the hateful nonsense that anti-feminists claim feminists stand for. Fiqah, amongst others, has been working hard to figure out their game and out phony accounts. This tumblr has a long list of phony users.
I said earlier re: troll accounts posing as POC/liberal/queer/feminists: they CANNOT disguise their contempt for us. It ALWAYS comes through
— Fiqah (@sassycrass) June 14, 2014