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I understand completely how real world issues are both triggering and enraging. I have seen news stories about so many topics lately that have me shaking my head in bewilderment. Even more so because many lately involve some diverse young people with behaviors we have pegged as “old white guy” stuff. But that’s another whole issue.
I give fiction it’s own separate category, particularly romantic fiction because, as we’ve discussed, the human mind is a very complex and twisty place. As Nancy Friday examined so many years ago, it’s taken a lot for women in particular to feel like it’s OK for them to fantasize and to fantasize about “unladylike” or even iffy things. It doesn’t mean they want that to happen to them “in real life” and we all know a scenario you create in your mind or you read about is something you have total control over. You are either creating the scenes and the people so you are controlling all the behavior (even if you cast yourself in a “passive” role) or you are reading something you can just close the book on literally when you don’t like it.
By all means decide what works for you and what doesn’t. Write a scathing review if you think it’s a pile of bilge. But ultimately let others decide what they want to occupy their own head space. I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist but I do know people have millions or trillions of ways of working through things in their own mind. If it takes a politically incorrect Bertrice Small book to do it, then have it.
One of my pet peeves in particular is people who take truly ridiculous fiction and try to say it’s “worrisome” for young women. Like how Edward from Twilight was basically considered the devil. And how a fictional hundred year old vampire who never pressures Bella for sex, to drink or take drugs, and 99% of the time does everything she asks or tells him to was the worst thing that ever was marketed to teen girls. Puh-lease.