Posted in: AA romance, Adventures with Blog people, Homophobia in Romance?, Racism in romance, romance is bad for women and it's just porn anyway
Tags:feminism, homophobia in romance, Racism in romance
I saw this post courtesy of RRRJessica this morning, and I have to say, it gave me food for thought, as well as pissed me off a tad. There’s nothing I hate more than people who bang on about feminism, whilst trying to minimise my right to choose.
The blogger writes:
…I’ve been reading Dear Author. This is my Big Chance granted to the romance genre: I wanted to see if my prejudices against it were unfounded. While I don’t have exact statistics to wave in anyone’s face, I think it’s no distortion of the truth to point out that most of the content discussed and reviewed on Dear Author is a matter strictly white and middle-class and western–American mostly, with a daub here and there of the Irish or Scottish to liven things with a little exotica; sometimes books about characters of color will be reviewed, but those are overwhelmingly books written by white people. A limited, vanishingly small quantity of lesbian material is reviewed once in a blue moon (the latest under this tag? May 2011). M/M is reviewed now and again, but only those with reality distortion fields on will insist M/M as a genre is about the advocacy of gay rights.
I imagine a lot of us grew up internalizing homophobia to hell and back. I imagine a lot of us didn’t even know we were in the closet, because it’s easy to believe you are straight when everyone is straight and tells you it’s the normal thing to be. Haruka and Michiru weren’t enough to combat everything else; neither were Anthy and Utena. I thought yuri manga was dirty (although, to be sure, I was also repulsed by yaoi) and I avoided it like the plague.
So, I don’t know about other queer women, but to me the prevalence of romance–not as a genre by itself, but romance as a pop-culture entity–fucked me up pretty severely. I didn’t grow up on romance exactly, but I did consume my share of shoujo manga. I consumed my share, later, of urban fantasy. You and I know this shit is everywhere. The heteronormative hegemony. The automatic recoiling at any mention of the gay. It’s not to be pinned onto any one genre, any one category, anyone form of media.
But if you’re telling me that romance is categorically feminist, you’re contributing to this large damage in an insidious, silencing way. The proponents of romance-is-feminist school of thought like to pass such fiction off as inherently progressive because it is written mostly by women and targets women as an audience: it pushes the idea that reading these books is liberating and sex-positive and, what’s more, reading them is good for you. Because feminism! Liberation from the yoke of repression and sexual dissatisfaction!
Tell me this and I’ll kick you in the fucking teeth. (more…)