Hits a nerve

18 Jan

Today I reacted just a tad sharply to a (probably very innocent) comment over at Dear Author.

Jane posted links to some daily deals, centered around ménage stories, and the comment asked if someone could please explain the appeal of these types of stories. I replied and then spend a while wondering what about the original comment (and another response to it) bothered me so.

People like, and dislike, tropes and themes, and sometimes all the open mindedness in the world won’t make you enjoy what doesn’t appeal to you–even when you understand why it does appeal to someone else. I know this and own to is, as there are plenty of genres and subgenres I won’t even try (how’s that for close minded?)

After some thought, I realized what bothers me about that first comment: it’s reminiscent of Ridley’s “aren’t we above these?”

We romance readers so often feel dismissed and diminished by what even those dearest and nearest think about our reading choices, it seems pretty stupid–and self-sabotaging–for us to keep finding ways to put other romance readers down.

Scratch that–for us women to always put women down. As long as it’s the other woman–the one who goes to church (that prude, narrow minded bitch), the one who parties (that drunk bitch), the one who flirts (that slut)–we keep at it.

And then we are horrified when we look around and realize that society looks down and fosters the dismissal of all women on the basis of arguments, comments and expressions that mirror our own. This is what we teach our children by example.

Stupid indeed.

7 Responses to “Hits a nerve”

  1. Lori 18/01/2013 at 11:55 PM #

    Exactly that. Until we learn to stop judging ourselves so harshly, we won’t evolve to stop judging others. And society gains when women are so harsh. It keeps us buying make-up, trying diet after diet, signing up for eHarmony and always looking/spending for the magic pill.

    Imagine if we accepted who we are and accepted each other. Society would have to change and it’s in no ones best interests for that to happen. No ones best interests except womens.

    • azteclady 19/01/2013 at 12:06 PM #

      Yes, and yet…

      Aren’t we also judging women who diet, and shop, and are desperate for a man?

      If that’s what they honestly desire for themselves, shouldn’t we stop criticizing their choices as not legitimate?

      The problem, as I see it, is how difficult it is to separate an honest choice, a deeply held desire for something, from the choices and desires society decrees are legitimate for women to have.

      As a young woman, I never expect to be approaching 50 while living alone with five cats (don’t ask) and a dog, working as many hours as I can, barely making ends meet nonetheless.

      So if I want a person (a man, since I’m hetero) to share my life with, so that the burden is less for both of us, is that my choice or something ingrained by society’s expectations?

      And, regardless of which it is, why should it be dismissed by other women?

      • Lori 19/01/2013 at 1:09 PM #

        You’re right. It’s a battleground but its one I believe we need to be on. I have no issues with anyone who chooses to be a housewife/househusband or who works. If you want to diet, use make-up, go au natural…. it’s an individual choice.

        Yet, we’re often punished (by shaming, vitriol, misunderstanding) if we’re honest about what our choices are. I choose to be single and not have a significant other. I have no interest in men (I’m hetero) and I’m perfectly happy with two cats, a dog and a kid. But I’ve been shamed in many circumstances because I’m not overly feminine, I’m opinionated, a fighter and I don’t allow people to run me over.

        And it’s women who dislike me, not men.

        I don’t know AZ, we all seem to be ingrained with wanting others to agree with us that we stop seeing the trees in the forest. I always think that most people truly live under the guise that they’d rather be right than happy. And being right means holding others to your world view.

  2. azteclady 19/01/2013 at 1:22 PM #

    I know I like to be right–human nature and all that–but I’m learning to accept it when I’m wrong. Not just to pay lip service to being wrong, mind you, but to change my thinking on an issue when it’s the wrong thinking.

    At this point, the only thing I really, really, want others to agree with me is this one: accept that other people’s choices, beliefs and relationships are their own, and therefore, none of your business. The only time it’s your business–and then, it’s everyone‘s business–is when one of the parties is there without clear and stated consent. Children in an abusive family situation, a person being slaved by another (and it doesn’t have to be sexual–in places where there’s no work available, there will be those who take advantage of others. Indenture servitude is alive and well in the world, more’s the pity.)


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