- Why I Wish Romance Had a Readercon – Although I’ve maybe read a dozen SFF books ever, Readercon was all of a 30 min drive away and people like Jessica and Natlie Luhrs were going, so I went this year and really enjoyed it. I’d echo everything Jessica says in this post. A romance Readercon would be amazing.
I don’t see this kind of discussion when I look at the schedules for romance conferences. I had even planned to go to RT this year, but I hated the idea of ignoring 90% of what I was paying $500 for. Having been to a number of academic popular culture conferences, Readercon is not academic, although a few of the panelists hold teaching positions. The level of discussion is just reflective and thoughtful, but no special knowledge of a body of critical works or academic degree is necessary to engage in it. Just a knowledge and interest and curiosity about what you love to read.
Don’t we have similar topics worthy of discussion in the romance genre? And don’t we have authors and readers who could be just as interesting when discussing them? I know we do, because I read their blogs.
- I’m So Sick of “Historically Accurate Rape”. – Ceilidh talks about how “historical accuracy” is a shitty defense for stories’ use of rape as a plot device.
What we get … is rape as a plot device, the go-to shock tactic to show just how very bad the big baddie is, the easiest way for a storyteller to put someone, more often than not a woman, at risk. Having to preface a recommendation for a show or book I enjoyed with “But it is a bit rapey” has become a more common occurrence than I’m entirely comfortable with. I’ve had many similar conversations with friends upon beginning to read Outlander as well as frequent talks with Game of Thrones fans. Both series have been forced into either/or discussions lately, with critics discussing the feminist merits of both and how one is clearly more liberating for women than the other. One thing with rape is more feminist than another thing with rape. I despair.
Both shows also use the same justification for violent content and sexual assault, particularly against women – it’s historically accurate.
- Accessing the Future – This quick post about an upcoming SFF anthology featuring explorations of disability says some interesting things about disability being socially constructed.
he most important answer to why speculative fiction? for me, I realised, is all about societies and construction of new worlds. The social model of disability implies the possibility (however theoretical) of other worlds, and invites us to imagine them on a small or a large level. If we say: imagine yourself (or someone else) on an individual level without your impairment, you can imagine that in the world you know. You can imagine walking or hearing or not freaking out in airports (why yes, it has been one of those days) and you may find it easier or harder, but you don’t need to change genre to imagine that. But to imagine a society that no longer disables you… you’re going to need to go further than that, perhaps into the future, or an alternate version of the past, or to another world entirely.
- Crossing the Line: Riptide Publishing Promotes Slavery – Twitter was agog today at a super squicky marketing campaign linked to a slavery-themed noncon series put out by Riptide. It’s since been removed, but Jeanne’s post is still an important reminder to tread mindfully with problematic works.
Enjoying fictional books about romanticized slavery is one thing, creating promotional material that glorifies slavery is fucked up! I don’t have an issue with slave fantasies or erotica fiction featuring slaves, but there is not escaping how problematic they are. I’m a fan of the genre, but I am the first to admit the ability to view the experience of slavery as titillating and desirable comes from a place of privilege. I feel, that with that privilege comes a responsibility to respect the reality of slavery and not contribute to misinformation about it.
There’s a big difference between writing a self-contained fantasy story and using a hyper realistic website, with subtle undertones of racism, to glorify slavery.
- We Have a Rape Gif Problem and Gawker Media Won’t Do Anything About It – I don’t really like Jezebel, but this trolling campaign still sounds totally disgusting.
For months, an individual or individuals has been using anonymous, untraceable burner accounts to post gifs of violent pornography in the discussion section of stories on Jezebel. The images arrive in a barrage, and the only way to get rid of them from the website is if a staffer individually dismisses the comments and manually bans the commenter. But because IP addresses aren’t recorded on burner accounts, literally nothing is stopping this individual or individuals from immediately signing up for another, and posting another wave of violent images (and then bragging about it on 4chan in conversations staffers here have followed, which we’re not linking to here because fuck that garbage). This weekend, the user or users have escalated to gory images of bloody injuries emblazoned with the Jezebel logo. It’s like playing whack-a-mole with a sociopathic Hydra.
- Bullying Disabled People Is Never Ok – But It’s Even Worse When You’ve Got 8.7Million Fans Watching – I was disappointed that George Takei posted that stupid “miracle” meme. It’s extra sad that he’s being a prick about being called on it. Spoiler alert: most people who need to use a wheelchair can control their legs to some extent. Spinal cord injury is not the only disability that calls for a wheelchair, FFS.
On Saturday Takei posted on both Facebook and Twitter an image of a wheelchair-using woman standing up to reach something from the top shelf in a store. The picture is captioned “there has been a miracle in the alcohol isle” [sic].
I know Takei didn’t create the meme, I’d seen it before this weekend. But he has 1.3million Twitter followers and nearly 7.4million Facebook fans. He introduced a sum total of 8.7million people to this image.
Lots of disabled people were offended by this post and the harassment it encourages and told him so. This prompted a follow up post from Takei saying:
Fans get “offended” from time to time by my posts. There hardly is a day where something I put up doesn’t engender controversy. Concerned fans, worried the sky may fall, ask me to “take it down.”
So I’m also going to ask them also to take it down – a notch, please.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.