foreverlasting: (Dangerous)
Apparently, Laurell K. Hamilton believes she's the pioneer of the sexy vampire genre. I'm not sure why anyone would be proud of that, but regardless, people are ripping her apart for that statement. And rightly so. Hamilton isn't exactly known for her humility, but, wow.  This is a new low.

In fact, I've been nodding along in wry amusement until the end of this entry:

LKH says: 
"They like the idea that [Bella] was like the fairy princess and [Edward] is the handsome prince that rides in and saves her. The fact that women are so attracted to that idea – that they want to wait for Prince Charming rather than taking control of their own life – I find that frightening.” 
Makes sense, yeah? Despite her arrogance, she makes a point.

However, then the author of the entry replies:
"Also why is it such a bad thing for women to wait for Prince Charming? By waiting for Prince Charming a woman is taking control of her life and not ending up with some loser or having to settle. Why can't a woman have her Prince Charming and take control of her life at the same time. If you think of it, Bella did just that. Some may not think Bella being with Edward is the best, but Bella made her own decision with Edward. Even when Edward pushed her away, she still made the decision to be with him. She felt that was right for her. And to those who read New Moon, Bella ends up saving Edward's life."
This paragraph reminds me of when political conservatives flip feminist rhetoric on its head and use it for their own devices. Certainly, a woman can have her Prince Charming* and be in control of her life at the same time. No arguments there. But I will argue that Bella did not choose to be with Edward of her own accord, and saying so ignores the cycle of violence within their relationship and how our culture fine-grooms women and girls to enter into relationships like it.

I'd also like to add that no where in her statement did LKH say you can't wait for your Prince Charming and still be strong. Rather, she used the example of Bella and Edward to illustrate her point. Bella puts her life on hold when Edward is around and goes into a meltdown when he's gone. Though there's nothing wrong with being caught up in a romance or having a breakdown when it's run its course, Bella takes it to an extreme. That is not strength; that is putting her life in Edward's hands at Edward's whims and that is sure as hell not taking control of her own life.

Later, in the comments, the author added:
"That is what is so sad about Anita id [sic] you think about it. She is willing to have sex without love."
Holy freaking cheesecake. Do I need to explain how wrong that statement is? Do I, really? Wow.

And:
"But if LKH isn't a romantic, then why does she had Anita boiking [sic] everyone she comes in contact with?"
Sex == Love? What?

Maybe I do need to explain the previous statement, because apparently, the author does not understand that sex is not always nor should it have to be associated with love (or vice versa for that matter).

Honestly, I can't believe that after all this time this is still being argued. I have a niggling feeling that author of the entry and several commentors after her were simply looking for ways to validate their opinions and continue bashing her instead of thinking critically about what she said and the context she said it in.


Humblest apologies to [personal profile] shiegra  and others for yet another Twilight post.

*Don't even get me started on the concept of Prince Charming.
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)
I would like to personally extend a warm "FUCK YOU" to Governor Schwarzenegger of the state of California for his award-winning decision-making skills. What, the budget's too tight? Let's cut ALL the funding for domestic violence shelters!

Again and again we see examples of how little our culture thinks of women. When Chris Brown battered Rihanna, the media had a fucking shitstorm. Those not on Brown's side encouraged Rihanna to sue his ass. Others routinely victim-blamed her when she went back to him. She was a bad role model, they said, for returning to her abuser.

You know who's a bad role model? PEOPLE WHO SHUT DOWN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS.


foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

I got into an interesting discussion with my Romantic Relationships prof during break today, but first, a flashback to a Washington Post article from 2008. It was published shortly after the final Twilight book hit the shelves. 

"Yet on some level, it seems that children may know human nature better than grown-ups do. Consider: The fascination that romance holds for many girls is not a mere social construct..."

Yes. Yes it is. 

"...it derives from something deeper. In my research on youth and gender issues, I have found that despite all the indoctrination they've received to the contrary, most of the hundreds of teenage girls I have interviewed in the United States, Australia and New Zealand nevertheless believe that human nature is gendered to the core..."

No. No it isn't. I don't care if thousands of uneducated, hormone-driven teenage girls tell you it is; it's still not gonna be.

And for the record, would someone like to point me in the direction of the big flashing sign that says, "GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, YOU ARE WHO YOU WANT TO BE"? No? What do you mean it doesn't exist, and so this mythological indoctrination of anti-gendered ideals couldn't possibly exist either?

More to the point: If teenage girls haven't been subjected to social norms depicting more than two possibilities for gender, or told that gender doesn't actually exist, how could they ever believe otherwise?

"...They are hungry for books that reflect that sensibility. Three decades of adults pretending that gender doesn't matter haven't created a generation of feminists who don't need men; they have instead created a horde of girls who adore the traditional male and female roles and relationships in the "Twilight" saga."

They seek out books that reflect gender roles because we teach them from birth that women and men are opposites and can only function when divided into separate boxes. They adore these roles because our media tells them exactly what they need to look like, be like, and act like. People like to laugh when I tell them that our media is teaching young girls that they should grow up to be saved by men, and then I point out shit like Twilight. Throughout the entire series, Bella doesn't do a damn thing for herself. Meanwhile, Edward controls her, operantly conditions her be with him, renders her utterly dependent on him, and Meyer portrays this as love. Teenage girls think this is love.

Let me state this simply.

ABUSE IS NOT LOVE.

Taking advantage of someone due to an inbalance of power IS NOT LOVE.

Now to get to what my professor was saying: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is the perfect reflection of the average teenage girl's romantic fantasy.

It's natural to obsess over a partner in a new relationship and part of the process. It's self-serving, because we constantly think about them, constantly want to be with them, which protects and promotes the relationship. This is fine, in and of itself. Where it becomes dangerous is when we combine this obsession with gender roles and effectively give the male-identified individual in the relationship more power than the female-identified individual.

We teach girls to obsess, to focus all their energy on being in a relationship. We. Teach. Them. We do this to them, we tell them that this is who they should be. And we tell them over and over and over again. Obsession might not be inherently negative, but when a girl/woman trades in her identity and free choice for a boy/man's and does so because society has been telling her she should since she could walk, we have a gender-based problem. Brushing it off the table by saying "Look here! Proof that this is what they want!" does nothing to address the issue.
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

I understand that a genre can start out as one thing and evolve into another, but when even the origins of said genre are misrepresented, it becomes a little too much.

1. If a book is referred to as 'urban fantasy,' then it damn well better feature a setting that could even remotely be considered urban. Set in the present real world outside a city? Contemporary. Contemporary. Urban fantasy is a subset of contemporary fantasy, not the overarching umbrella of all modern-era, real-world fantasies. A novel can be both urban fantasy and contemporary, but not all contemporaries can be urban.

2. Urban fantasy existed before Nail Gaiman AND Laurell K. Hamilton. They didn't appear on the UF scene until the mid-to-late 90s. Charlaine Harris didn't publish her first Sookie Stackhouse novel until 2001. Who were the harbringers of the genre, then? Charles de Lint. Terri Windling. Emma Bull.

UF originated in the 70s and 80s, not the 90s like too many people tend to believe. My guess this occurs because UF in the 70s and 80s didn't necessarily (if at all) feature what we consider to be the earmarks of UF today: kick-ass heroines and their string of boy-toys. Instead, they focused more on regular people who were connected in some way to magic while living in an urban setting. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Urban fantasy is NOT about the kick-ass heroines. In fact, let me go a little farther and say: ENOUGH. I don't want to read about some half-vamp, half-wolf wanna-be slayer who takes names while wearing stilettos* and fucking every goddamn male being that trots along. Stop it. Just stop it. I'm all for consensual sex regardless of the number or type of partners, but the "ambiguity" of the heroine's relationship HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH URBAN FANTASY. If you want a book that deals in HEA-less sexual affairs, go petition the RWA into changing their requirements for a romance, or write literary love stories and give Nicholas Sparks a run for his money. (Or, hell, just convert all the way and write erotic romance or straight-up erotica.) UF is not the ghetto to write whatever won't fit into other genres.

Additionally, from a feminist standpoint, I can see why ass-kicking heroines are often portrayed as magically and/or physically strong AND as women uncommitted to any particular relationship. It's a short-cut. Why attempt to go through all the effort of writing a character that is strong because of who she is and the choices she makes, when all she needs to do is have sex with multiple God-like men? Newsflash: having sex with 2+ partners is no more feminist than having sex with one partner. It does not make her stronger, and in some cases, it simply makes her indecisive; the victim of yet another stereotype of femininity.

Urban fantasy is about people living in urban settings that interact with magic or magical beings in some way. I can appreciate the lean toward equality by making the majority of lead characters women, but it's not about the ass-kicking heroines. It's really not. And if you're going to portray a heroine as kick-ass, regardless of the genre, make her genuinely kick-ass, emotionally and mentally. Don't take short-cuts.


*Speaking as a ballroom dancer, if slaying demons were possible while wearing heels, I'd drop out of college and start hunting.

Found via Smart Bitches.
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

Jumping on the bandwagon of online publishing, Simon & Schuster will now apparently be selling thousands of its availiable titles through Scribd, a site known for its pirated content. A practical move, considering the online following these days, and the whole "keep your friends close but your enemies closer." But then I read this

Ms. Pittis said that piracy is “probably pretty low in this country,” but worries about it more overseas, where millions of Scribd users live and where “there’s such a culture of piracy.” Asked to identify a book damaged commercially by piracy in another country, Pittis said she couldn’t, but added, “I don’t want a HarperCollins title to be the test case.” 

How many bad inferences can be drawn in a single sentence? Even if the US has lower piracy rates than the next country, its rates are by no means low. That Ms. Pittis cannot think of an example of a book damaged commercially by piracy in another country (though I'm willing to grant that 'damaged' is a little vague) only cements her vast generalization.

Here we have yet another case of nationalism and American priviledge. We downplay any problems that we may have and dump the blame in another country's lap. Way to go, Simon & Schuster.

Found via Dear Authors.

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