I recently read The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen. The book talks about a very involved matchmaking site- and we see the story of the two main characters Ursula and Rafael as they get matched up on the site, and their ensuing relationship.
As a Rom-Com, this book is somewhat light and reasonably enjoyable. The style of the matchmaking app gives the reader much to think about regarding dating in the 21st century, and relationships between two people.
You knew there was going to be a however…
The book manages to mention feminism 16 times. 16 times in a book about dating, a book that features a woman who wants a partner so badly she goes to an expensive and completely over the top dating app. I’m not saying that a feminist can’t be married. I’m saying that during one of these waves of feminism, isn’t there at least one that says that a woman is complete without having a man?
Does a rom com need to prove how feminist it is?
Is the author embarrassed that they wrote a rom com, and wants to make sure her feminism card isn’t revoked?
As my new thing is to give you quotes from books that I read, here’s the ways the author used feminist/feminism:
- White Carrara marble and rose gold dominated the palette at The Stake, the nouveau feminist wellness club where she and Issa convened as often as their schedules allowed- usually once or twice a month.(Hoen) Do we need to call a wellness club feminist? Is getting a massage and a mani bad, so we need to call it feminist to take the edge off that sometimes woman may want to treat their bodies because they might be stressed out, being a feminist and all?
- Some argued that rather than advancing the feminist cause, The Stake bastardized it. (Hoen) Ok- we can see here that quote 1 was not satire- the book is trying to make some sort of feminist statement. Wellness spas- friend of the feminist or foe?
- Right, like you get together at your feminist wellness club and drink green juice and complain about dating.” said Issa. Are we mocking feminism here?
- Orla’s engagement crumbled in the ensuing weeks once Chip realized that not only would there be no inheritance, but that Orla also had what he called a “latent feminist temperment” that he found troubling.” (Hoen)
- This was convenient, since her thirties coincided with the rise of fourth-wave feminism. (Hoen)
- Is he a real feminist or just a self-described ‘feminist‘ who actually wants to teach you how to do things you already know how to do? (Hoen) Is this how we judge men- trying to figure out which type of feminist the guy is?
- On my own, I am this well defined, strong, feminist, career-driven person.(Hoen) So -can we be a feminist and be in a relationship? Or is the implication that once I becomes we, we is no longer feminist?
- He has feminist values, but he doesn’t brag about being a feminist in that annoying way that some men do, when they’re just doing it to curry favor with women? (Hoen) Can men be feminists?
- It was a good investment on Mike’s part, although the irony was not lost on Ursula that all of the funding for this feminist-wellness empire came from middle-aged men hoping to profit from it. (Hoen) If this was the only time that feminism was mentioned in the book, I would be happy with it. This is a solid thought and observation, but it gets mired in the rest of the feminist bull.
- When I think about what it means to be a working woman and a feminist, you’re the person I think of. (Hoen) Can you be a working woman and not be a feminist? I mean, isn’t the whole bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan cause I’m a woman W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again the theme that feminism was based on?
- “Our child will be too busy leading a post-capitalist feminist revolution to worry about things like racquet sports.” (Hoen) This one just annoys me. Talk about a man trying to curry favor with a woman…
- “You don’t have to singlehandedly solve for the ills of the capitalist system, and you don’t have to win Most Valuable Feminist every year,” said Rafael. (Hoen)
- “Isn’t feminism about freedom of choice, anyway?” he asked. (Hoen) I ask that very question
- “Aren’t feminists allowed to take breaks too?” (Hoen)
- “Your whole ‘woke feminist” schtick has gone a little far,” said Roger. (Hoen)
- “I think fourth-wave feminism has veered a little off course,” said Issa as they drank their moon water and stared into the flames. (Hoen)
Do you think books throw in certain topics so that they can seem weighty or relevant?
If we are reaching for a light/beach read, do we want to be listing the pros and cons of feminism in our heads?
Is the true meaning of feminism live and let live- do as you please with no judgement? Or do we use the veil of feminism to continue to judge other women?
What has had more waves: Covid or feminism?