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

Announcement

A Note to Our Fellow Smut Readers

While the world continues to explode around us, we wanted to pause for a moment. Hi everyone. Hope you are healthy. We are hanging in there, though we (like many others) are facing changes in childcare and the possibility of toilet paper shortages and a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. 

As of right now, we plan on maintaining our regular posting schedule of ludicrous amounts of smut news and reviews, which fortunately can be done in isolation. 

Because even when you’re practicing social distancing, your favorite romantic pairing can still get awfully close. 

Smut helps. 

xoxo,

The Ladies of The Smut Report

Announcement

February Preview

Happy February, Fellow Smut Readers!

We’re going all in on the book reviews this month. First, we’ll be counting down to Valentine’s Day by posting something new to get excited about every day between now and February 14th. All the smut love!

And since February is Black History Month, we’re focusing on reading more books by African American authors. Excited to branch out and read some new-to-us authors!

Announcement, Smut Reporting

RWA fustercluck 2.0

Since our post about the RWA dumpster fire on December 27, Romancelandia has continued to be an absolute fustercluck, with ripples spreading in multiple directions since the initial censure of Courtney Milan on December 23. The Associated Press broke this story on December 27, and while most of the details of the various goings-on have been coming to light on Twitter and RWA forums, the story continues to be national news. 

In the past two weeks, so much has happened that it would be difficult to adequately summarize here. For a detailed timeline of events, author Claire Ryan has maintained an updated thread with links to sources. If Twitter is your preferred venue, @RomancingNope has also been nearly live-tweeting updates in a continuing thread.

Here are the brief updates of the current state of RWA’s implosion:

Our sentiments regarding the Romancelandia remain unchanged, and we will continue to pursue an inclusive world of romance. At this point, after two weeks of fumbles by RWA national leadership, it seems impossible that the current Board and Executive Director will be able to manage this crisis and adequately course correct. It is also increasingly clear that the situation will not simply blow over, as RWA leadership (including some chapter leadership) seems to expect.

Regarding other actions we have taken as this situation has unfolded, we confirm that Erin resigned as a RITA judge. In addition, we signed the open letter to RWA prepared by Romance Sparks Joy on behalf of readers. This open letter was signed by more than 1300 readers, and pledges to boycott events and works by RWA national and its current Board members until RWA demonstrates that it is taking specific action to thoroughly evaluate what has gone wrong at the national level and to course correct in transparent and meaningful ways (please see the letter for specifics).