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This is not a post about the feminism of romance, though I do think romance is one of the strongest, most consistent mainstream mediums of feminism.[1],[2] This is, rather, a post about feminism AND romance, and how both of these are treated in the “real world,” or at least in the worlds I and others I know travel in.

Both are laughed at. Both are derided people who know the bare minimums, if that, of their basis. Both are treated like a joke, like fluff, like something unimportant, like only the most stupid, uninformed people could be interested in it. Both are treated like a bad, sad joke.

Both have a full range of people involved in them, that fill a spectrum of differing opinions. Both are heavily criticized in their own circles even as they circle the wagons against outsiders. Both have members that profess their perfection, ignoring the problems that yes, they both have. Both have opinionated, strongly worded, beautifully written arguments for the pros and cons of each community, just as they both have members who just quietly go about their business – reading romance and promoting feminist ideals – who don’t give a flying fuck about what the “leaders” (and who elected these people?) have to say or think. Both cross lines, of class, of race, of ideology and sexuality and religion and mobility and citizenship and all the other things.

But both, to be clear, are heavily populated by women.

In fact, both are created and maintained by women.[3]

And, shocker, *hands to face in horror movie scream*, that’s why they are derided, even by people who read romance[4], even by people who promote feminist ideals. Because when something is created and continued by women, well, something must be wrong with it. Fluff, junk, a waste of time, totally unimportant.

I became a romance reader and a feminist around the same time – about age ten. And though my introduction to both weren’t connected, they have definitely informed each other as I have grown into each label. Mostly what I have learned when I claim either label amongst people who don’t share that label is that I better be able to handle arguments, jokes, and/or harassment for daring to claim “that embarrassment”. Because I get a lot of shit for reading romance, and I get a lot of shit for being a feminist.
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[1] Some good posts on the subject of the feminism of romance is found here and here and here and here and [TW warning] here.

[2] This is not to say that a. all romance books are feminist (good fucking god no), or that b. there are not other, even better, forms of medium feminism is portrayed in (a slide show of certain artists are passing through my head in glorious color). This is to say that out of the different mediums – art, books, movies, so on – available as entertainment, romance books (rather than books in general) is one of the most consistent forms someone can find feminism in.

[3] To be clear, the “beginnings” of each are rooted in white, middle-class, heteronormative, cis, abled body women. And both have issues about inclusion of people who fall outside of that group, from beginning to today, who have created their own fractions of the promotion they weren’t getting inside the mainstream storyline. But both have people inside and outside of that narrative who claim, created, promoted, and encouraged these two labels.

[4] Which, whether you read “romance” or not, you’ve read romance. In case it hasn’t occurred, almost EVERY STORY WE TELL has a romance in it, the only difference being the main focus isn’t on the romance. (Okay, and also that a lot of them are so damn bad; check out basically any romantic comedy or action-adventure made in the last fifteen years for an example.)

You would think the biggest difference between driving my car – a 1991 Volvo 940 (note: this is not my specific car) – and flying my school’s helicopter – a Schweizer 300CBi (note: this is not my school’s specific helicopter) – would be, you know, the fact I’m in the fucking air. And trust me, that’s a big difference. (For instance, if I don’t notice I’m out of oil, I just break down and have to pull over to the side of the road, whereas if I’m missing oil in the helicopter I fall about 500 feet from the sky.) But the biggest difference is the fragility and strength of the two transportation choices.

My Volvo is a tank. If I’m in a car fight, I’m not worried, I’m preparing my victory speech. And considering my car is from 1991 and has a whole bunch of dings (which is what happens when you park in a college parking lot for three years, apparently) and, again, is built like a tank, and your car is shiny and new, I’m assuming you’ll back away quicker from the fight. All of this is to say, while I’m a safe driver, and I am careful with my car, I have a belief it can handle damage.

Then there’s the helicopter, which is fragile. A bird can destroy me. Not even a big bird, but one of those tiny ones. I hit a bird, and depending, I’m probably going down. A wire comes loose, a leak appears, a crack…I may, to put it nicely, be kissing ground real soon. I have to be careful in how I wash the windows or I can crack them; I have to be careful where I put my hands and feet because I can break something. I have to be careful lifting it off the ground, because one wrong motion in the wrong time and I can roll over, or fall and crash.

So here’s my first post about flying, which I love and can’t wait to have my next lesson and yadda yadda ya – helicopters are FRAGILE. My Volvo, on the other hand, is ready for a game of chicken.

Happy Flying!

Dear Back Pain,

You have been hounding me for a few days now. On Monday, you tried to take me out. But I prevailed, with the help of some nice drugs and a chiropractor and ice on my back until my skin was frostbitten. You are still here, lurking under the surface, striking every time I try to change positions, but I am able to sit up now (and therefore sit at my computer and type), and am on my way to recovery. HA HA ASSHOLE! *knock on wood*

Sincerely,

Go to Hell

P.S. You ruined my week alone in the house. GO TO THE DEEPEST SECTION OF HELL FOR THAT!

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“…you’re germaphobic.”

“Dad, I have OCD, I’m not germaphobic.”

- Conversation between me and my father every few months.

I was diagnosed with having obsessive-compulsive disorder when I was young. I also have a chronic tic disorder where I physically twitch my nose, like a bunny or Samantha from Bewitched, though apparently I can’t do magic. (Dammit.) Though I was diagnosed with both around the same time (tic disorders usually accompany other disorders, like ADHD, sleep disorders, and OCD), my father only really understands how one works. The tic disorder is simple and something he can see: I randomly and often twitch my nose, which I have no control over. That’s basically it. It takes less than a second, I don’t have to stop the world – or whatever I’m doing – to do it, and it doesn’t really affect me personally. It’s lessened as time has gone on, and though its back it disappeared for a good few years of my life. My tic is not obtrusive to other people, because it is a small motor change that people don’t necessarily notice, or care about when they do.[1] My brother, who had Tourette syndrome (or TS, which means both verbal and motor tics), was a lot more noticeable, and a lot less accepted. I lucked out between the two of us, though I suppose that could be argued since his tics have completely disappeared and mine has recently come back with a vengeance.

I also lucked out with my OCD. I have – and always had – a mild case. I really do not think that my frequency or amount of time I have to spend on rituals has gotten worse. *knock on wood*[2] But this does not mean it’s rainbows and pretty music and prancing unicorns about to send me to a My Little Pony video. It’s mild, but it’s still a fucking mental disorder.

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More Proof That You Really Can’t Make This Shit Up Presents…What They Allow You to Say in Court

*Warning Trigger*

The court actually let a rapist suggest that if the two women he raped had just locked their doors, it never would have happened. It is their fault he raped them. May that be their lesson.

I hoped he got life. He got eight years.

As one of the victims said, ““Rape is like a tattoo; it may fade away with time, but it will never be gone.”

And he got eight years. Maybe this should really be “More Proof that You Really Can’t Make This Shit Up Presents…Easy Sentences for Life Changing Events.”

Twenty bucks says he’ll do it again when he’s out.

So as I said, I was waiting to find out if my essay about Dollhouse was accepted into the Smart Pop Contest before I published it on the blog. Well, it wasn’t. (*Cries into her pillow.*) So, as promised, here it is:

*Trigger Warning*

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Clash of Beliefs

*Slight Spoiler Warnings, Trigger Warnings*

So I finally went to a movie recently, and at my friend’s choice we saw Clash of the Titans. For the most part, it was okay. I mean, Edward Cullens would be jealous, and the cast was once again white with a few exception extras, and of course the person who agrees with the Gods is the one who gets thrown under the bus (big surprise there), and they actually had a King Kong reference, which is one too many for me, but overall, it was basically a superhero revenge fantasy with CGI effects. In other words, it would have been familiar even if it wasn’t a remake and, oh yeah, based (however loosely) on a Greek myth.

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