Like the rest of you, I’ve spent the last two days trapped in the tenth circle of Hell—which is, if you were unaware, a new circle now populated by those poor souls condemned by racist-classist-misogynistic-homophobic-transphobic bigots. It’s a lovely crowd here, I must say.
And since my brain’s quietly melting in horror, making it very difficult to get anything done, I’ve been relying on your blogs to fill my free time—and boy, did you guys deliver.
Three discussion posts in particular I wanted to give shout-outs too, because they’re great and you might want read them. Behold:
Female Rage & Romance
Even though I rarely read adult romance, I took one look at the title of this post and thought, YEP. I NEED THIS. And yep, I did need it.
After reading Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire (an adult fantasy romance), Book Riot’s Amanda Diehl had a revelation: what was truly captivating about the book was the heroine’s experience of and struggle with rage, which is surprisingly and unfortunately rare to see in romance (and, I’ll add, YA).
Diehl discusses female rage as perceived by society, and explores the possible reasons for its (general) absence from the romance genre.
In our daily lives, women struggle with feeling minimized. Manspreading on the subway has our body contorting and folding in on itself. Our emotions have to be tempered and even-keeled, lest we’re labeled unhinged or crazy. Our facades have to pleasant, always smiling. And sometimes, I feel that often a heroine’s presence in romance or her role is for the benefit of the hero, rather than the other way around. The hero is the tortured one. The hero is the baggage. The hero insists that he’ll never love again.
All things tough and ugly and difficult and traumatic (with the exception of rape, but rape and sexual assault as a common backstory are a topic for another day), are attributed to the hero. And frankly, that’s bullshit. Women go through the same emotions as men, the only catch is the stigma related to expressing those emotions, which—let me tell you—can lead to some pretty expensive therapy bills.
[…] I think one of the main reasons why the onus of ugliness, shall we say, is placed on the hero, is that a heroine has to be likable.
And, as everyone knows, a woman who expresses anger isn’t particularly likable. (*Eye twitch.*)
There have been some notable new YA releases featuring young women who experience and even succumb to rage, including And I Darken and The Young Elites trilogy, but (in my humble opinion) we need more. These women are fascinating and relatable in ways the fluffy heroines of lighter books aren’t designed to be, and they have important stories to tell.
Check out Diehl’s article here.
DIANA PRINCE REVIEWS:
To Review or Not to Review A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Wait, hold on, don’t let the title of Diana’s discussion post mislead you. She doesn’t ponder the dilemma of reviewing a popular book (though that could be interesting). Nope, she does something even better: she contrasts Tamlin’s behavior in ACOTAR with that of the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (one of Maas’s inspirations for ACOTAR), and lays to rest the question of whether or not the Beast’s behavior is abusive.
[…] Tamlin is the absolute worst kind of gorgeous, brooding hunk, and that’s an emotionally abusive brooding hunk, who takes everything I love about the Beauty & the Beast story and twists it into something uncomfortable at best, borderline cruel at worst.
As a huge Beauty and the Beast fan, and someone who loved the portrayal of Feyre’s trauma in A Court of Mist and Fury (the sequel to ACOTAR, for those of you who live under rocks), I thought this whole post was fantastic.
Go forth and read Diana’s awesomeness here.
THE BOOK AVID:
How to Enjoy a Problematic Book and Not Be a Jerk About It
Do you have a book blog? Do you not want to be a jerk? Well, The Book Avid offers some valuable advice: it’s totally fine to enjoy and promote a book with problematic aspects (unquestioned racism, an abusive relationship presented as romantic, etc.), but you need to know how not to unintentionally endorse problematic attitudes and behaviors.
For most adults that are aware of the problematicness and just enjoy a book for the entertainment value this may be all common sense – but consider that especially when we’re talking YA, our actions don’t go without consequences. Many actual teenagers read YA, are active in the fandoms, and we have a responsibility towards them. Romanticization is not a joke and can seriously mess somebody up when people around you tell you early on that problematic behavior is okay.
I support people not being jerks, and you should too. You can read Book Avid’s handy tips to avoid jerkishness here.
Your Source of Positivity
Okay, so I’m kind of reconsidering this entire post, because all three of the articles featured above discuss pretty negative topics. So let’s follow them up with two lovely and uplifting posts from Fadwa at Word Wonders:
- Keep Looking at the Bright Side (tips on maintaining positivity during dark times)
- Things That Will Never Get Old to a Book Blogger (celebrating the awesome side of book blogging).
Thanks for bringing sunshine into all our lives, Fadwa!
Which neat articles and reviews really stuck out for you guys this week? What awesome things did you write and want to show off? Let me know!