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The 2 Biggest Problems with I, Gloria Grahame

The media’s portrayal of children is a hot topic. Netflix was boycotted when it released a movie called Cuties which featured sexualized imagery of children. It started a debate about where is the line between art and acceptable sexualization of minors? For some, there shouldn’t really be a line so long as it’s considered a fictional story. Others say it doesn’t matter if real children aren’t impacted

This argument has been raging on since Lolita was published and likely before it as well. I, Gloria Grahame had me thinking about the argument again. Where is the line? Some would argue that art transcends the need for a line and that putting limits on expression is censorship (I disagree for the record) while others would say that we need to have strict, unimpeachable guidelines for fiction (I disagree with this as well). Like most things, the answer likely lies somewhere in between.

There’s so much potential with the premise of the novel. It just can’t get past its two major problems. The first, is the sexualization of minors and the second? A fight against wokeness that ends up pushing the boundaries of being anti-diversity.

Let’s get one thing straight. I, Gloria Grahame doesn’t feel vindictive like Consensual Hex or even softly vindictive like Shine is. The novel also has better writing than either of those.

The Set-up for I, Gloria Grahame

For context, I, Gloria Grahame is a novel by Sky Gilbert that I happened upon while looking at the new book section at the library. I was thrilled when I found the book. A new queer novel described as “a scandalous, humorous novel about taboo desires and repression”. It’s about a gay professor named Denton Moulton who has a rich fantasy life as Gloria Grahame, the old time cinema starlet who got wrapped up in a scandal.

I was so excited to start reading it and then the first two pages were about Gloria Grahame beginning to lust after her 13 year old stepson. It’s surrounded by protestations of no, she shouldn’t, she shouldn’t do this, but that doesn’t change the fact that Gloria stays. She lingers and watches her stepson while he’s sleeping naked, letting him replace her husband in her mind.

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Consensual Hex Exploits Sexual Trauma for Profit

Consensual Hex Exploits Sexual Trauma for Profit

We have a massive problem here. Consensual Hex had an issue right from the start with its blurb stating it was “The Craft for the #MeToo era”. Yikes. So much yikes. Those 6 words were enough to turn me off the book, but that’s just skimming the surface of the massive amount of problems this book has. Let’s not be coy and just jump right to the crux of the issue.

A witch is raped by a frat boy at the start of the book. Our main character, Lee, is understandably upset. Her rape leads her to create a coven and fight rapists on campus. At the same time, the power threatens to go to her head. The witch desperately wants to get revenge for her rape.

We’re already off to a terrible start and I haven’t even started on the real life drama surrounding this book. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

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Discussion Post: Does It Count As Diverse if It's Sterotypical?

Discussion: Does A Book Count as Diverse if it’s Stereotypical?

Let me just start this off by saying that it’s good that there are so many more diverse books out there. I used to have to research and scour stores in order to find good Diverse fiction and now it’s easily accessible. It’s mainstream and I’m living for it. That said, there are a lot of books I’ve been reading lately that I’m sure were written with the best intentions, but end up perpetuating stereotypes. These stereotypes can be anything from cringeworthy to harmful, depending on how far they go with them.

I’m thinking about this because of Little & Lion which has a pretty decent goodreads score, but ended up demonizing mental illness and making a love triangle with a bi character. Which yay, bisexual representation, but it feels like it’s always a love triangle. Even worse, in this one it’s the bi character who’s pursuing both people at the same time keeping up with the slutty bi person trope.

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