Links: Saturday, February 1st

February 1, 2014 Links 8

A yellow tabby cat with his front legs extended towards the camera, making it look as if the cat took a selfie.Cats Taking Selfies

  • Has Romance Fiction Been Struck by Lightning? A conversation with author Cecilia Tan – Normally I skip over author interviews in my feed reader, because they’re usually wicked boring, but Pamela of Badass Romance asks really good questions and Tan gives some interesting answers.

    Cecilia Tan: Let me start by saying that the romance genre has a lot of hero types I would never want to “submit” to in real life: many of them seem like domineering assholes, frankly, and that’s not to even mention subgenres where the hero is an actual rapist. But I also recognize there’s a vast divide between what I think is valuable in a life partner (or play partner) and what works as fantasy fodder for most people. Let me get this out of the way: rape fantasies are okay. Tons of women have them and they shouldn’t feel ashamed or odd about it. There are so many reasons why those fantasies are powerful and rev our libidos. But what I found when I discovered real-life BDSM in my twenties was that there was a way to use role playing to combine that intense energy that comes from the rape fantasy (he’s tying me up and doing wicked things to me!) with a very powerful set of companion emotions, namely the dom being not only the tormentor but also the caretaker, the cherisher. That’s the emotional side of real life BDSM, and also the deeply romantic side! Which is a lot of what I explore in Slow Surrender and Slow Seduction.

  • The SA in NA – I don’t know what to make of this post, honestly. I don’t disagree with it, necessarily, but without discussing specific examples from books, I’m not sure we learn anything. No author thinks they’re using rape as a lazy shortcut.

    Sadly, I remain somewhat cynical because despite the statistics that prove that this is a dangerous time in life for young women, there seems to be a disproportionate amount of sexual assault survivors walking through the pages of New Adult books. Since I haven’t read all of the NA books out there, I can’t quote an accurate statistic. I can say that based on my personal reading experience and that shared by my fellow AAR staffers, I’d guess somewhere between 50% to 75% of NA books contain sexual assault in some form or another.

    My fear is that sexual assault is being used as a writing crutch of sorts, a short-hand way for an author to accomplish one or multiple goals which have nothing to do with the issue of sexual assault at all. Rather, the assault is used as a way to establish or demonstrate character traits and then left on the wayside as the story progresses.

  • My Child With a Disability Is Not My Hero – Does what it says on the tin. Cosigned, of course.

    Having twins, one of whom has SB and one who doesn’t, makes this really apparent to me. Both of my kids are just people, existing in the bodies they were given, facing any challenges that come their way. To borrow a phrase that I learned from Sesame Street*: having spina bifida is normal and natural and fine for my daughter. She’s not heroic for existing in her body any more than anyone else is, because she has always been this way. Calling her a hero is just another side of the coin from feeling sorry for her, and I don’t want people to do either. I want her to have the beautiful freedom to be a complex, complicated human being who both overcomes challenges and makes mistakes, who can be joyful and angry and every other emotion there is, with no pressure to be anyone but herself. She’s no hero — she’s something much more magical and mundane: a little girl, full of untold potential, just like her sister.

  • Femslash Friday: Bend It Like Beckham – I loved this post on Bend It Like Beckham. It’s a wonderful mix of nostalgia, humor and feeling.

    Instead, the movie touched on the possibility of a romance between Jess and Jules, but then swiftly denied it in typical “Gay? Us? Gay, haha, nooooo, no, definitely not, but how progressive of you to suggest it!” fashion. Obviously, this is
    disappointing, especially given the rumors around the film’s original storyline. But you know what? Jess and Jules’ denials of anything romantic between them do absolutely nothing to dampen my queer love of this movie. Because you know who reacted similarly to adolescent questions about potential non-heterosexuality? Me. Me, and, like, a huge volume of the queer women I know.

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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.

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8 Responses to “Links: Saturday, February 1st”

  1. pamela1740

    “Wicked boring”? You must be from Boston. It’s a gift.

    Seriously, I am honored to be linked here. I am a fan, and I learn something, or a new way to look at something, every time I visit.

  2. Jia

    Hmm, I don’t necessarily disagree with that post about sexual assault in NA either. The genre loves its trauma a bit too much, imo. But I don’t know that I agree it’s used as a crutch in the same way that, say, fantasy often uses sexual assault as a shorthand for its female characters, which is what I read the post as implying. Much of what the post discusses reminds me of the urban fantasy genre 4-5 years ago.

    It’s absolutely a prevalent trope but like you said, without specific examples of novels that do it wrong, it’s not clear.

  3. Ridley

    @pamela1740: I only leave eastern MA under duress. I was born in Lowell and I’ve never lived more than an hour away from there.

    @Jia: I’m at the point where I want to hold up a sign that says “Show Your Work” whenever people discuss rape in romance. Context is everything.

  4. Nessa

    Thank you for the HuffPo piece on disability. I spend much more time than I’d care to admit having that argument with people so it’s good to see something like that in “mainstream” media.

  5. nu

    Yep, hope we see a space for stories for disabled characters soon in media that doesn’t revolve around the inspiration narrative.