So I found this harlequin romance paperback today, and normally I just toss those right over without paying them much mind, but the cover of this one made me pause. Sure that the artist was just taking liberties, I checked out the back.
I’m dubious. I should read a passage:
It is a literal bear.
Okay yeah I’ll admit it I’m going to read this but only because it sounds like the most fucked up romance novel in existence.
You have some explaining to do, Canada.
You guys don’t understand. Screw it being a bestseller, 50 Shades of Gray is a bestseller, this book won the Governor General’s Award. That’s the highest literary award in Canada. That’s the pulitzer prize of Canadian literature. Bear is a part of Canadian literary history.
The author is a really important part of Canadian history, she paved the road for many other female Canadian writers and helped with equality in the field a huge degree. She’s a really important person in our creative history and every time this post goes by joking about the one novel in her sprawling collection of works, a little twitch goes off. I know it’s funny but she was a pretty amazing person for what she opened up for the future of writing in our country, so it’s kind of depressing to see her turned into a joke.
I don’t think it necessarily makes her a joke. Like, this one book maybe, but that doesn’t diminish the rest. Like, we can snicker about James Joyce’s lewd as fuck love letters while acknowledging his literary achievements.
Plus, accomplishments aside, her other work notwithstanding, this is still a book about fucking a bear that won our highest literary award. I’m sure it’s good if it won, but the subject matter still makes your head tilt a little.
The book is not about “fucking a bear.” The book is about fear of female sexuality and is written primarily in a lyrical manner. It was a book which challenged male-dominated sexual morality in its time.
…additionally - I would likewise add that a lot of my annoyance stems from Tumblr’s faux-feminism. Everyone wants to be nuts about feminism on this site, but no one aside a handful of older people or well-educated ones in their 20s seem to understand the history of feminism. It’s become like this site’s little catch-phrase, and it’s really beginning to irritate me.
I see things like this being reblogged with no understanding of its cultural significance, the women in history involved in it, or how much it shaped our rights today. Tumblr feminists have this lazy, myopic view of the world, and it’s a very trendy version of it, as well.
So being on a website that proclaims itself to be full of “feminists” and seeing 40k+ notes on a novel written by a feminist, about female sexuality, which shaped the women who helped give us our rights professionally and in the home-life, being made fun of is just so hypocritical that it makes me angry.
(My anger being directed to all of tumblr, not to any single individual, I might add.)
Women who wrote books like this are the women who gave our mothers and grandmothers hope, and instead of being celebrated in any other post they tend to be torn apart or turned into memes or jokes because sense of self in the time they were published isn’t hip and cool for 15 - 20 somethings who pretend to be feminists but have no idea what they are doing or saying.
It’s just very frustrating and very wearying for those of us who know through listening to older women who these people actually are and how they gave me the rights I have today to see them minimized into this.
I will say with your explanation I’m very curious about the novel now and wouldn’t mind checking it out, for the angle/writing style/etc you describe.