“I think the women I write about have forged their identities in response to, or in revolt against, various feelings of powerlessness (and subjugation, and an often imposed-upon-them or self-imposed notion of some kind of “dirtiness,” and whatever else lurks in that dark little cocktail they carry around inside) and those that made them feel that way. Often, they have turned on themselves, beating themselves up with their own sense of shame…. Suspecting that deep down they are, in fact, worthless, and that if the hero (or anyone) knew “the truth” about them, he (they) would agree and be forced to act accordingly. When things blow up, there is usually some sick sense on the heroine’s part that she should have expected this—that it was always going to come to this and it was, in the end, inevitable. It’s always my hope that what she does next is move forward anyway, that much stronger for facing her deepest fear.”—
Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I only read romance novels for purely intellectual or feminist or psychoanalytic purposes. Like everyone else, I enjoy a good story. I particularly enjoy a good love story. And there are more (obviously) and better (not as obviously, unfortunately) love stories to be found in romance fiction than in any other genre. I read a lot of it.
When I read writing about romance writing, such as the above excerpt—from an essay by Caitlin Crews, a writer I admire both professionally and personally—I am reminded again of the ways in which the romance genre can function as an important and mostly safe space for women To Work Out Some Shit.
Like, oh, perpetually being labelled sluts and whores.
Suffice it to say, the rest of this essay is very much worth reading.
A lot of boring stuff happened this morning, and as a result I’m stuck at this weird mall near LAX, which thank god has a movie theater, because otherwise I might have to spend time outside.
It also has one of those Souplantation places, which reminded me that I meant to ask: what the fuck is the deal with the name Souplantation? Surely they can’t mean “soup plantation,” right? Is it a pun on a word I don’t know? Is it meant to suggest “supplant” maybe? As in “I sure would like to supplant this name with one that doesn’t suggest to most Americans the image of slaves being forced to harvest chicken noodles or split peas or whatever? Which is awful?”