I don’t think anyone’s brought this up before, so I’d like to mention the demonization of Amarantha not only as a woman who is fully aware of her sexuality and uses it as a weapon, BUT ALSO as a tool to demonize wlw.
This whole argument centers around a nightmare Feyre has in ACOMAF. I’ll quote the passage in full (from pages 184-185 of the regular Bloomsbury edition of A Court of Mist and Fury:
I tumbled into a sleep so heavy my dreams were an undertow that dragged me down, down, down until I couldn’t escape them.
I lay naked and prone on a familiar red marble floor while Amarantha slid a knife along my bare ribs, the steel scraping softly against my skin. “Lying, traitorous human,” she purred, “with your filthy, lying heart.”
The knife scratched, a cool caress. I struggled to get up, but my body wouldn’t work.
She pressed a kiss to the hollow of my throat. “You’re as much a monster as me.” She curved the knife over my breast, angling it toward my peaked nipple, as if she could see the heart beating beneath. I started sobbing. “Don’t waste your tears.”
Someone far away was roaring my name – begging for me.
“I’m going to make eternity a hell for you,” she promised, the tip of the dagger piercing the sensitive flesh beneath my breast, her lips hovering a breath above mine as she pushed – [end quote]
And then it cuts off as Rhys wakes Feyre up from her nightmare.
The first time – and the subsequent times – I’ve read this scene, it bothers me. A LOT. It’s clearly sexual, from Feyre being naked to the focus on her breasts to Amarantha nearly kissing her in that last paragraph.
This is what bothers me: there’s lots of sexual content in these books. I know that. Lots and lots. But this is the only time there’s anything remotely like sexual content between two women (everything Mor says in ACOWAR seems rather strangely… desexualized) and not only is it assault, there’s no reason for it.
We already know Amarantha used her sexuality in a way that is wrong. Like Ianthe. I believe the term @valamerys uses is Evil Evil Sluts Who Want to Steal Your Boyfriend. But to me, this is on another level. Amarantha never hurt Feyre sexually – just in physical ways, and emotional/psychological ways. To me, there was no reason to make this dream so dripping with… sex. To me, it becomes an association of “two women in a sexual context” with “horrific torture and assault.” This is very different to the way f/m sexuality is portrayed throughout the series. Only a select few (Ianthe and Amarantha, the twins in ACOWAR though OH WAIT IT’S IMPLIED THAT AT LEAST ONE OF THEM ISN’T STRAIGHT) use their sexuality in ways that are wrong. There’s a lot of sex scenes, all f/m (as Feyre is the narrator and she’s presumably straight), all portrayed in a pretty positive light. Even the scenes that border on sexual assault – the one after Calanmai in ACOTAR, the kiss with Rhys Under the Mountain at the end of ACOTAR – are, in my view, portrayed more positively.
And yet here is the only example of two women in a sexual context, and it’s… this.
Does this mean that Feyre associates women having sex with each other with torture? Does it mean that SJM herself does? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that this is the ONLY depiction of wlw (sort of) sexuality in the entire series that has a focus on sex, and it’s framed as torture.
And this shouldn’t need to be said, but that’s not okay.
This is basically the demonization of sex between women, something really common in fiction in my opinion. Sometimes in movies Evil Women™ are attracted to other women, or have sex with them for pleasure. No feelings attached, just sex. Women who like women are evil!! Two women can’t be in love and have a healthy relationship, how dare you think that?
SJM, as the ignorant straight woman she is (because she clearly has no idea of what a relationship between two women is), perpetuates those stereotypes in her writing.
Her stans probably think she means well and I’m not saying she is trying to demonize all sapphic women, but it’s very obvious that she doesn’t really care about wlw so this isn’t a big deal for her.
Depictions of wlw in media are rare and usually not positive. So yeah, she probably didn’t want to hurt wlw, but this is still a bad stereotype that should die.
Oh, and I would like it if she stopped writing unnecessary scenes that involve sexual assault.