Links: Saturday, May 31st

May 31, 2014 Links 2

A black kitten poses with its front paws on a log and a sad look on its face. Text reads "SOMETIMES I SITS WHEN I KNOW I DON'T FITS"Cat shaming

  • Eloisa James on Feminism, Sexuality, and Why Romance Novels Are More Than Worthy of Respect – Can we be done with the “here’s a white lady/guy with a phd to tell you that romance is worthwhile” feature article yet? Also not at all down with Eloisa James’ condescension and low opinion of romance readers. If this is what she sees as a defense of romance readers, I’m all set with having her as an ally.

    Romance is the best-selling genre, but it faces so much criticism from the mainstream—
    From intellectuals. What you’re often seeing is intellectuals rather than the mainstream, because that guy is not mainstream and the journal he published in is not mainstream. The Washington Post is a lot more mainstream, and they have a romance column. But intellectuals wield an enormous amount of media space. The women buying romance don’t give a damn what is said in The New Republic. They’ve never even heard of it. They would probably think it’s communist. This guy with his nasty opinions and deep misogyny doesn’t exist for them.

  • Defense of Romance, Vol. 2 – Bobbi Dumas also has a “defense” piece over at Kirkus. Here’s what I want to know: if romance is the most popular genre of fiction, why is every article about it written under the assumption that romance readers aren’t in the audience? Wouldn’t you assume that a fanbase as large as romance’s would mean that romance readers are everywhere?

    I agree that Fifty Shades of Grey is not a terribly well-written novel but there is no question that it hit a chord with millions of readers. (Read the Kirkus review here.) And to be honest, I am never quite sure which bothers me more: men who’ve never read a romance novel in their lives (like, we can assume, Mr. Giraldi) yet dismiss romance novels out of hand because of how poorly written FSoG is, as if that book—or any individual book—is completely representative of the genre; or women, who’ve never read a romance novel in their lives, who in fact look down their noses at the genre, and yet loved FSoG—as if most of the elements they truly responded to in that book weren’t the romantic arcs—but won’t sully their literary purity by picking up A Romance Novel.

  • Take Me Away: Top Five Romantic Getaways…And The Heroes to Pack with You! – I don’t know where she finds the time, but our Rebekah is now also contributing to Heroes and Heartbreakers. I love vacation romances. Love.

    In Lindsay Evans’s contemporary romance, Pleasure Under the Sun, the heroine Bailey Hughes is swept off on a romantic week abroad by her sexy hero, artist Seven Carmichael. The two start their journey aboard a yacht off Miami’s shores, sail to Key West, then find true love and lust on the island nation of Jamaica.

    These days, a vacation for me means forty-eight uninterrupted hours of Netflix bingeing, junk food and sleep, but as I read this vividly painted romance I couldn’t help but crave a holiday away from my couch. So get out your passport and select the hero of your choosing. Here are some places I’m sure you’ll love to go.

  • Men Who Read Magazines That Objectify Women Are Less Likely To Respect Sexual Boundaries – When I read articles like these, I wonder why it’s so outrageous to suggest that romance novels can contribute to rape culture.

    The correlation here doesn’t prove that these magazines are causing men to approach women in a predatory way. The researchers point out it’s certainly possible that guys who already have “dismissive” attitudes toward women are drawn to reading magazines that objectify women. But they also suggest that the media can contribute to larger cultural attitudes about sexual relationships.
    “We learn a lot about how to act in a relationship by what we see and read in the media,” Stacey J.T. Hust, the lead researcher for the study, explained in a press release about her results. “Bad information can lead to bad decisions.”

  • How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know Is Her Name – For whatever reason, I always enjoy posts about name trends. This one made me taunt the hubs for having an old man name. Good stuff.

    Picture Mildred, Agnes, Ethel and Blanche. Perhaps you imagine the Golden Girls or your grandmother’s poker game. These are names for women of age, wisdom and distinction. The median living Mildred in the United States is now 78 years old.

    Now imagine Madison, Sydney, Alexa and Hailey. They sound like the starting midfield on a fourth-grade girls’ soccer team. And they might as well be: the median American females with these names are between 9 and 12 years old.

  • There is no catastrophe so ghastly that America will reform its gun laws – Meoskop had tweeted pretty much this exact sentiment a week ago, and it’s really hard to find fault with it. We’ve decided these shootings are normal.

    It’s hard to imagine what ghastly catastrophe could possibly change America’s minds about guns if the little bloody bookbags of Newtown did not. After that atrocity, it seemed as if we would finally enact some obvious, long-overdue half-measures. But perfectly reasonable, moderate legislation expanding background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was summarily killed in the Senate for no reason other than that a sufficient number of United States senators are owned by the NRA. It made our official position as a nation nakedly explicit: we don’t care about any number of murdered children, no matter how many, or how young. We want our guns.

  • One Daughter, One Mother, Two Wheelchairs and Nothing Remarkable – Emily Ladau writes a post about herself and her mother and how they’re just people living their lives. Comments totally miss the point and call her inspiring for being so upbeat. The comments are why we can’t have nice things.

    My mom is a great mom. She has never given her role in my life anything less than 100 percent. She has always taught me to make things work, even when our disabilities pose frustrating complications, which tends to be the case on a regular basis. That being said, our goal has never been to be a sob story or a success story.

    Our goal is to live our lives. Some people find us precious and others find us pitiable, but neither mode of thinking is accurate, and both feel condescending.

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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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2 Responses to “Links: Saturday, May 31st”

  1. Meoskop

    Pretty much right after Sandy Hook I felt that way. Not just this week, but yea. We’ve collectively made a choice and it’s not the right one.

    I was at an 8th grade awards ceremony this week – strictly academic ones – and the crowd went insane for every child with a visible disability. We’d been asked to hold our applause until the end. Unless there was a disabled child, the room was silent. Start a wheelchair rolling or a crutch tapping and the place went batshit.

    I was pleased that a major topic of post event conversation between some of the kids was how inappropriate the parental response was. Many mentioned it must have been humiliating for the kids so applauded, as it implied that their achievement was surprising, as if a physical disability confers a mental one. The school keeps the disabled kids isolated within the classrooms – able bodied students are instructed to ignore them, not to sit with them or befriend them. The disabled students take their meals with faculty. It’s deeply messed up, but at the very least some of them have their eyes open about the way disability inspiration models depersonalizations.

  2. Roslyn Holcomb

    I’ve said it many times before, the only way we’ll have meaningful gun control in this country is if suddenly black folks form an organization and start legally carrying and stockpiling large numbers of weapons. The rise of the Black Panthers was the impetus for gun control back in the 70s–which the NRA supported.

    I don’t get this obsession some folk have for romance being respected as a genre. I read it. Have read it for 40 years. Been writing it for more than a decade. I couldn’t give a damn what the intelligentsia likes. I don’t many of their faves either.