Warning: Today’s post is going to involve Feminism and ranting about Misogyny and The Patriarchy. Also this is going to be a long post
I would also like to recommend reading this blog-post first before reading mine (just for establishing context):
Queer Without Gender – That thing we don’t talk about: Sex by K. A. Cook
I would also like to recommend this video:
I strongly advise anyone looking for Sexual Education videos check out Laci Green’s Youtube channel, there’s some good stuff there. Anyway, on with the post!
“Something, such as a film, television programme, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”
Everybody’s got one, personally I have many of them, but I’m only going to talk to about two of them in this post. The first one is that I like Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere album and “If Only” by Hanson is one of my favorite songs. I still occasionally pull out the CD and listen to it (when I’m home alone, with headphones, lets not get too crazy here).
The other guilty pleasure of mine is romance novels. That’s right, I’m a consumer of one of the largest growing industries in the world. Like the cold-heartless bitch I am, I didn’t cry when Mufasa died, but I bawled when Beast did. I love nothing more than a well-deserved Happily Ever After. However, sex is one the things that goes hand-in-hand with a romance novel, after all the reader expects a intimacy pay-off at the end of the novel.
While my secondary college’s idea of sex education was:
I must confess I learned a lot more reading and researching terms from erotic romance novels. Unfortunately, most romance novel publishers decided that the pay-off should nearly always be a physical intimacy (as apposed to an emotional one or an intellectual one) and not always well written.
However, I suppose one of the benefits of reading a wide selection of romance novels across different genres, like Historical Romance, is that a Reader will learn a few things, like Internalized Racism. For example, the Noble Savage stereotype has been around in Historical Romance genre for decades, Stephanie Meyer and her apprentice E.L. James simply took that stereotype and applied it to modern settings and to Hispanic people. Another thing I learned but didn’t always know the name for was Internalized Sexism
I would like to think there’s just something about the Vampire genre that inspires authors to fill their books to brim with misogyny, abusive relationships and racism, but it’s not. No, I’ve noticed the common trend between best-selling romance novels, the main connection between these books is the fact that they have female protagonists.
In what I like to describe is Female Protagonist Problems, the author
presents a potentially interesting Urban fantasy or Dystopian-Future world-setting with intriguing plots and classism/racism issues, the novel is then completely dominated by uninteresting Romantic Plot Tumor and a Stupid Pointless Love Triangle
Books and/or Media that fit into this category:
~The House of Night series by PC and Kristen Cast
~The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
~The Vampire Academy series (including the movie adaptation) by Richelle Mead
~The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare (including movie adaptation)
~The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
~The “Hush, Hush” series by Becca Fitzpatrick (Twilight with angels)
~The Halo trilogy by Alexandra Adornetto (Twilight with angels)
~The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
~The Legend of Korra (animated series, not the comics)
While I know there will be exceptions, such as the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy and His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman (both excellent book series), however Phillip Pullman was intentionally and specifically writing that trilogy to be a direct contrast to hetro-normative Christian-overtones Chronicles of Narnia.
However, the majority of the books I previously listed involve two major plot-lines: Save the World or Obtain a Boyfriend, it’s always one or the other, never both and the second option is usually the one that’s chosen, despite the fact that the Save The World plot-line is usually way more interesting. To me, it sends a strange message to women or people of the feminine persuasion:
-Women aren’t autonomous beings and therefore aren’t capable of making decisions or prioritizing, they need a man in their life to tell them what to do
-Women aren’t capable of saving the world without a man’s help, regardless of how experienced or qualified the woman or man is
-A woman must ALWAYS seek a male romantic partner ABOVE ALL THINGS! Not being in a romantic relationship is not acceptable
-The LGTB community, homosexual people or transgender people do not exist
And these messages are Bullshit.
Women do not need to be property of men in order to have value. The idea that women can only be valued because they are property of men is apart of Rape Culture.
I mean, you wont’ find these same Story Structure Problems and Unfortunate Implications in the Harry Potter series (not that the Harry Potter doesn’t have problems with race or LGTB representation, but that is another post for another time, I am easily side-tracked).
All jokes aside, I think Stephen King hits the nail on the head. Lets compare Hermione Granger with Bella Swan for example:
Hermione Granger VS Bella Swan
I just fail to see why there shouldn’t be more Hermione Granger’s in the literary world, especially in the Young Adult section. However, I’m aware that it’s much easier to go along with misogynistic social programming and in the end I’m probably going to have to be the one who writes those characters, I’m going to have to be the change I want to see in the world, and that (like K. A.) perhaps when my characters get to that place in their narrative journey where they’ve earned a romantic pay-off, that the pay-off should be one of emotional and intellectual intimacy rather than physical. If those are topics are the ones I want to read, then those topics need to be the ones I write.
I’m not proclaiming I’ll be any good at at writing those scenes and if I ever get to the stage where writing a sex scene in my novel would be considered appropriate, I know I’ll be god-damn awful at it. However, I’m going to write those awful scenes anyway, I can always edit them out later :D.