This episode is s little late going live, but if you love dissecting the relationship between culture and fiction, I think you’ll love our interview with Dr Lauren Rosewarne, an academic and social commentator, whose writings have featured in mainstream Australian media. We’re so chuffed that she took the time to chat with me and Rudi, to share her insights on feminism, writing, and pop culture.
We start by asking: why is it that so many cultural taboos are related to normal functions of the female body — masturbation, menopause, menstruation? Why is there so little masturbation in romance fiction? We discuss the portrayals of anal sex, and the lack of education around how anal sex works. There’s that bit where Lauren talks about prank calling photographers about staging bestial orgies. (My phone pranking game was clearly lacking as a teen — the most I ever did was call my crush and pretend to be someone else.) We look at the ethics of writing problematic stories. Lauren’s response to this raises some very good points about finding the balance between storytelling and politics, and this leads to a discussion about managing feminism in the face of competing allegiances, and the nuance of consent. Rudi asks why infidelity is such a problematic trope for romance readers, and Lauren talks about how this relates to the disproportionate number of single fathers in Christmas films. Rudi also mentions a Cara McKenna book that frustrated her, because she didn’t realise it had a sequel. The title of that book is Willing Victim, and the sequel is Brutal Game (links below). We finish off by talking about what I consider the final taboo in romance. See if you can guess what that is, and let me know if you agree or disagree.
At the end of the podcast, we mention some of the feedback we received from our bonus episode about podcasts. We have included a list of your podcast recommendations below — thank you for sharing these with us!
- BT | Amz — Part-time Perverts by Lauren Rosewarne
- BT | Amz | Aud — Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James [ review ]
- BT | Amz — Willing Victim by Cara McKenna
- BT | Amz — Brutal Game by Cara McKenna
- BT | Amz — Asking For It by Lilah Pace
- BT | Amz — Cheating on the Sisterhood by Lauren Rosewarne
- BT | Amz — Nicholas by Elizabeth Amber (features hero with a polite double penis)
- iTunes | Amazon — Black Swan (Film)
- iTunes | Amazon — Game of Thrones (TV)
- Darren Aronofsky — Director of Mother!
- Narcos and the Anal Taboo by Lauren Rosewarne (The Conversation) — Changing portrayal of heterosexual anal sex in popular culture; references Lauren’s journal article School of shock: film, television and anal education
- Rape choreography makes films safer, but still takes a toll on cast and crew by April Wolfe (LA Weekly)
- I am the guy with two penises. AMA. (Reddit)
Podcast recs from Book Thingo listeners
- Witch Please (iTunes) — Recommended by @Bluestocking_a
- The Generation Why (iTunes) — Recommended by @Kaetrin67
- Touchdown (iTunes)