Announcement, Smut Reporting

Smut is Political

We at The Smut Report are opposed to racism in all its forms, including pervasive systemic racism. And we want to state this out loud because it is our responsibility to speak out.

We feel compelled to state this outright in view of the ongoing protests in the US after the horrific murder of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor) (and Ahmaud Arbery) (and and and). Black lives matter, and we recognize that we are part of the culture that has ignored and minimized Black voices for decades and centuries. Beyond that, we had planned to recognize and celebrate Pride Month in June, highlighting other marginalized voices. 

Because of the situation we currently find ourselves in, we want to be explicit: Smut is Political. And therefore, the work we do is also political. It’s easy to declare that some things – like romance books – shouldn’t be political, but that’s a viewpoint of the privileged.

When we say politics, we don’t mean voting (though you should definitely vote!), but rather the fact that smut can reinforce narratives about what stories are worth telling, what stories are worth listening to – and by extension, which people deserve happily ever afters and which lives have value. 

Smut might provide an avenue for escapist fantasy, but smut has historically and also continues to:

  • Glorify the military-industrial complex by valorizing hyper-alpha heroes with guns
  • Gloss over an economic slump, massive civil unrest, state violence, and repressive laws in the years following the Napoleonic Wars and during the Gilded Age
  • Paint ruthless businessmen as the most desirable romantic partners
  • Portray the Ideal Town in the United States as lily-white and straight and Christian and homogenous 

This doesn’t mean that we’re never going to read another military or cop hero, or another Regency romance, or another billionaire romance, or another romance set in Anytown, USA. But when we read these stories, we read them with the understanding of both why we’re reading them (sometimes fantasy is satisfying and fun) and what they represent. And we recognize that, while we might read these stories, we also want to read books that tell other, less well represented stories. Everyone deserves a happily ever after; we all deserve to have our love stories told with dignity and respect. We want to see the communities and diversity of our world reflected in the stories we read, as beautiful and messy and complicated on the page as they are in real life. 

We will therefore continue to read and promote stories by marginalized voices and about marginalized people. We will do our best to highlight problematic content – and problematic erasures – in the books we read. We will continue to educate ourselves so we can be better allies in this ongoing struggle. 

Right now, as we look forward to Pride Month and back to the systemic racism and violence perpetrated against Black citizens that has culminated in our current upheaval, we as persons of privilege are hyper-aware of our responsibility to acknowledge and amplify marginalized voices. But our responsibility doesn’t end when quiet normalcy returns. Amplification of marginalized voices is an ongoing responsibility, and one which we will continue to take seriously. We have been linking to various resources to promote allyship on our social media pages – especially our Twitter page – so if you would like more information about what you can do to be a good ally, we encourage you to head over there.

In addition, we encourage you to head over to these sites that promote Black authors and Black romance:

Girl, Have You Read…?

Black Chick Lit

WOC In Romance

Smut Reporting

Heroines Who Giggle

I hate them. 

Actually, allow me to rephrase that to be more accurate. I hate it when a heroine giggles. I hate it even more when the heroine is an otherwise grown-ass woman with an established career but when the hero gives her the eyebrow wiggle or says something that’s mildly amusing she breaks into a paroxysm of giggles.

Let’s break this down. A “giggle” is a demure, girly kind of laugh. It’s quiet. It doesn’t take up space. It’s a bit fawning. It’s something little kids do. It’s something we do when we’re nervous. 

When a woman giggles, she signals to the man that she is with that she is not a threat. She is less powerful than he is. She is accommodating and therefore desirable. There’s a power imbalance there. 

Now, I admit, the occasional giggle around a new potential partner makes sense. You’re nervous. You want them to like you. But why is continuing to giggle at your partner as you move your courtship towards established relationship sexy or desirable? Why continue to perpetuate the power imbalance between the One Who Speaks Funny Things and the One Who Giggles?

I want to see romance heroines let out some good ole rip roaring belly laughs. 

This has been a Hot Take by Holly, brought to you by one too many grown ass women giggling in romance novels. 

Review

Review: Forbidden Desire: Kidnapped by an Alien Sex Goddess by Robin Lovett (2020)

Planet of Desire, Book 4

Heat Factor: She has three clitorises! Uh… three clitori!

Character Chemistry: Graven is awkward and thoughtful and it’s pretty cute.

Plot: “I will heal you with my magic vagina!” Literally, not figuratively. 

Overall: I had some qualms.

Continue reading “Review: Forbidden Desire: Kidnapped by an Alien Sex Goddess by Robin Lovett (2020)”
Rant, Review

Review: A Good Duke is Hard to Find by Christina Britton (2020)

Isle of Synne, Book 1

Heat Factor: Blip on the radar

Character Chemistry: I am not buying what they’re selling

Plot: She’s for sale to the highest bidder for her father’s social advancement. He’s only interested in revenge. 

Overall: It must be me, because people seem to really like this book, but I just cannot

Continue reading “Review: A Good Duke is Hard to Find by Christina Britton (2020)”
Announcement

Bookshop Announcement

Does anyone else feel a little ambivalent about the ubiquity of Amazon these days? Like, maybe it’s not a good thing that we do all our shopping at one online behemoth just because it’s so convenient. 

We certainly feel the same ambivalence, which is why we’re super excited to announce that we have joined the affiliate program with Bookshop.org. You can find our shop here. We currently have most of our Recommended Reads listed there, organized primarily by mood. For example: if you’re looking for something soothing – we have a list for that!  

Want more info? Here are all the details.

Continue reading “Bookshop Announcement”
Recommended Read, Review

Review: A Good Man by Rosanna Leo (2020)

Handymen, Book 1

Heat Factor: Steamy, but also very vulnerable and sweet

Character Chemistry: “Hello, I’m–SO INTO YOU”

Plot: Handyman/DIY Reality Star Michael almost immediately pegs his new featured couple as being half repulsive/shady and half his future wife. But while Emily leans on Michael to recover from the dumpster fire that was her ex, Michael ends up struggling with a secret trauma that threatens to torch his life and budding relationship.

Overall: This book was really, really awesome. I love a couple who knows how to take care of one another when they’re vulnerable!

Continue reading “Review: A Good Man by Rosanna Leo (2020)”