- All things queer and wonderful – New Adult author Leah Raeder talks about growing up as an out bi woman and how she wants to see the genre branch out more.
I want to see more queerness in New Adult. I want to see characters who are more like me: those who defy easy classification, who don’t neatly fit into Slot A or B, who eschew the restrictive binary gender roles that we’ve had shoved down our throats since childhood. But almost as importantly, I want these characters and stories to be genuine. Not agenda-driven. Not something that feels like a PSA or an after-school special. Back in HS, the only queer fiction and film I could find was so cheesy and messagey it made me feel even more ridiculous for seeking it out. And when you’re already a freak, and the only art that accepts you for who you are is hokey as fuck, it pretty much affirms your freakishness. Its heart is in the right place, but we can do better. We can tell stories with the nuance and elegance and subtlety that we take for granted in heteronormative storytelling. Preaching and pontificating merely emphasize the otherness of not being straight. The abnormality of it. I want to read stories where queerness is part of a character’s identity in an organic way. Where it feels natural and normal.
Because that’s what it is for us. It’s natural and normal. Full stop.
- The 6 Male Characters Women Never Get to See in Movies – Just a fun little gender-swapping piece that made me giggle.
If you have spent time on the Internet, you’re probably tired of hearing how we need more Strong Female Characters. For some reason, people don’t seem to realize that sexism no longer exists today and both sexes are treated with complete equality, especially in the entertainment industry. If anything, men are the ones being discriminated against.
Seriously, think about all those roles that women selfishly hog up (e.g., passive victims requiring rescue, femmes fatales, joyless nags) that are off-limits to even the most talented male actors. It’s time to stop this woman-centric hand-wringing on how to make female characters better and focus on helping the real victims of Hollywood sexism by asking: How can we make male characters worse?
- Asexuality ≠ Being Single, Celibate Or A “Virgin” – While I’d quibble a bit with her definitions of abstinence and celibacy, Trudy delivers a much-needed summary of what is and what isn’t asexuality. It’s a reminder that not everyone feels desire and wants to have a sexual relationship. I’d love to see this in a romance novel one day.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation. People who rarely or do not at all experience sexual attraction (though they may experience other forms of attraction; i.e. sensual, romantic, aesthetic) are asexual. It is about attraction, not their behavior the night before. It is not solely any of the things listed above [Virginity, purity culture, abstinence, celibacy, fear of sex, sexual repulsion, sexual dysfunction/medical issues regarding sexual performance, anti-sex, single] though some of them can impact asexual people just as they can impact heterosexual and queer people.
- It’s Time to End the Long History of Feminism Failing Transgender Women – This is a fantastic, easy to read overview of feminism’s history of hostility towards trans* people and trans women in particular. It goes on to show that TERFs are far from being an easily-dismissed fringe group. People listen to them and the harm they cause is real.
It’s clear from this example that trans-exclusionary feminists don’t just spend their days making waves on social media—some get mainstream attention and hold successful, powerful positions. Cathy Brennan has used her skills as a lawyer to threaten legal action against a magazine that published an article critical of her. She also served as a liaison to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity from 2008-2009. She appeared on Roseanne Barr’s weekly radio program specifically to discuss her radical feminism and beliefs on female biology and gender identity. Trans-exclusionary feminists Janice Raymond and Mary Daly worked as well-respected, tenured professors. Like-minded feminist thought leader Sheila Jeffreys is still an established professor in Australia. Her forthcoming book Gender Hurts, from major publisher Routledge, will argue that “the ideology and practice of transgenderism” is harmful.
- Which Kinds Of Interracial Couples Spark Outrage? – This piece is kinda fluffy, but I found the observation interesting. My guess as to why WM/BW relationships are less objectionable to people is that white men are nearly always welcome to their prerogative. Who’s going to tell him no?
This set of advertisements reflects the increase of interracial marriages in America, but Cheerios is not the first brand to have such a couple in its commercials. Many brands over the last several years have had ads that feature black women with white men, and yet they didn’t cause anywhere near the level of controversy as the Cheerios ads. Why does seeing a black man with a white woman stir up a hornet’s nest of racism, but not the reverse? America’s history is rich with fear of black male sexuality, as evidenced in cultural markers such as the silent film Birth of a Nation and the brutal death of Emmett Till, a teenager accused of whistling at a white woman. However, the interracial pairing of a black woman with a white man doesn’t seem to raise the same kind of alarms. Perhaps it’s because black women dating white men has been promoted as panacea for all the alleged problems black women face when it comes to dating.
- The Authentically Black Narrative: So Why Can’t We Have Our Happily Ever After? – Author Shelly Ellis goes to bat for escapism and the aspirational HEA in African-American romance. Everyone deserves a little tycoon loving.
So as a writer of African American romance, I deal with the triple whammy of genre fiction, romance, and writing stories about African Americans. If anyone is accused of writing about stuff that creates unrealistic expectations, I and my fellow African American romance writers would be it. We have black characters falling in love and getting married when, according to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, only 28% of African American households in 2012 included married couples. Most of my characters are middle to upper class when the average median African American household earned only $32,068 in 2010 (not exactly at the poverty line, but not poppin’ bottles either) while the median white household earned $54,620, by comparison. Most of my characters are college educated when, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 18.7% of African Americans in 2011 had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
So my stories don’t reflect overall reality, but again, I ask, “What’s wrong with that?”
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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.