Books, Books, Books…

They are a major part of my life. I’m not even kidding! When most women buy wine and shoes, I purchase books and tea, maybe some cosy jumpers too…

I saw an article about books affecting relationships, and about these two women’s reactions to books changing their relationships in various ways. I thought I’d respond.

I’ve even gotten into fights with partners over my reading habit. My ex told me I should stick to the TV, he did so happily, so why was that an issue? That sucked. I’d buy him books for Christmas, and he’d pretend to read a chapter before sending it on to a charity shop a week later. Another partner disputed my choice of reading material (“do you read anything post classics era? You know, published recently?”). And one moaned when I started reading Chris Ryan novels so I’d fit in with his literary discussions on the playground.

But I fell in love as a result of reading. When Matt was staying over one time, in my old halls, I had to leave him for an hour as I had an appointment with my mentor. When I got back, he was curled up with a book. He wasn’t even disturbed by my entrance, as I kicked off my heels and shimmied out of a little dress to climb back into bed. A man who reads is a man I shall attempt to be with forever!

And, we talk about books all the time! We go through the set novels on my lists for university, as well as general books we loved as children, teenagers, young adults. Even books we read for pleasure get discussed and reviewed verbally, exploring themes and ideas of the writers, coming up with our own theories.

I’m just hoping I get books for Christmas!

Geeky Feminist Issue #4 – Fan Fiction

(WARNING, THIS POST HAS SOME TRIGGER SUBJECTS, INCLUDING DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL ABUSE AND OTHER DARKER ISSUES)

 

This week’s geeky feminist Issue kind of also a literary issue. This is due to the fact that we’re talking fan fiction.

I believe that anything these days will be turned into fab fiction. Seriously, there are middle aged women writing One Direction fan fiction, and young girls writing fan fiction of Les Miserable.

So why could this be seen to be an issue relating to feminism?

Well, let’s look at the style that fan fiction is written, and how women are shown in them.

The fact that Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel about S&M, money and general sex. That was originally a Twilight fan fiction, but when she saw the potential of the story being its own thing, she just changed a few names around and made them both human. It’s about a young, virginial English Literature student who enters a relationship with a man who is controlling, abusive and generally quite unsavoury, and women seem to think that it’s actually attractive?

Other fan fictions are scarily following this trend, with the male characters being controlling and sometimes pretty scarily abusive, or they are able to use their twisted personalities to make the woman/girl into practically a dithering, love-struck slave to their needs. And this is the stuff that our young girls and women are reading online, and are being encouraged into writing themselves.

Men get negative influence to sex and relationships via pornography that is easily accessable online, but girls are getting negative influence from fan fiction, especially ‘slash’ fiction, which is often highly graphic in its sexual and abusive content, which is glorified in each terribly written story.

I’ll admit that there are exeptions to the rule, for example, one could argue that ‘Wicked – Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ and the other three novels in that sequence by Gregory Maguire are fan fiction, as they are based on the world of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its characters, turning the children’s tale into a novel series perfect for the adults who don’t want to leave Oz behind along with the rest of their youth. Now, that’s good litrature, if anything, that series is the only fan fiction that I happily read.

So, I have come to the conclusion that fan fiction isn’t the best thing in the world for geeky feminism, unless they involve a strong female protagonist, and have no sexual or physical violence towards women in order to forward the plot. I haven’t got a problem for sex scenes in general, if anything, if they are written well, then good on them. But if it’s badly written, can’t it just be hinted at? Or even just replaced with a romantic scene minus the intercourse?

I shall never look at One Direction in the same way ever again…