Critical Linking

Look to Romance Novels for Portrayals of Consent: Critical Linking, December 5, 2019

Critical Linking is a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web, sponsored by Talion Publishing LLC, publishers of the thrilling Talion Series by J.K. Franko.

“In the early age of bodice rippers—1970s-era romance novels that helped to reignite the genre—consent was dubious at best. But in the intervening years, stories of ‘forced seduction’ became increasingly taboo. In 1985, women at the Romance Writers of America conference—the largest meet-up for romance writers in the world—walked out to protest sexualized rape scenes. The action sparked conversations about how power dynamics are handled within the genre and focused attention on questions of agency, equality, and what constitutes enthusiastic consent.”

Wake up and smell the consensual sexy times!

“December is cold, dark, and often stressful, which is also what makes it the best time of year to commit to a long book. Winter’s bitterly cold mornings and early evenings trap you indoors with the time for uninterrupted reading. Travel over the holidays also leads to jet-legged hours awake after everyone else in the house gone to sleep, or is not yet up. Likewise, there is no better diversion from family stress than escaping into the same book repeatedly. While summer has the reputation of being the most reader-friendly time of year due to the influx of leisure time, it necessitates a different kind of book, a gripping page-turner that you can dog-ear or stuff in a bag on a road trip. Apologies to David Foster Wallace, but I grew restless with Infinite Jest when I tried to read it one spring, ultimately abandoning it to spend more time outside; I might have faired better if I’d waited for winter, when I have more patience for footnotes.”

Winter reading is my favorite.

“Black witchcraft is not new and I believe it is only ‘trending’ because Black witches are making themselves known and are reaching back into their historical origins to reconnect with their ancestors in a more genuine and public way. This is not new and I am not the first, I am one of many. Truthfully, Black womxn and femmes have been doing this work for many generations. Whether we are adhering to cultural norms (such as not splitting the pole or blessing a meal), we are reaching back to traditions that have existed long before us, many rooted in what we now refer to as Hoodoo or Voodoo.”

She had me at HoodWitch.

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