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.

However…

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?

Or

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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)
  5. This was convenient, since her thirties coincided with the rise of fourth-wave feminism. (Hoen)
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. “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…
  12. “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)
  13. “Isn’t feminism about freedom of choice, anyway?” he asked. (Hoen) I ask that very question
  14. “Aren’t feminists allowed to take breaks too?” (Hoen)
  15. “Your whole ‘woke feminist” schtick has gone a little far,” said Roger. (Hoen)
  16. “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?

Discuss:

47 thoughts on “The Arc of Feminism

  1. This was so funny and cringy at the same time😂.

    “Do you think books throw in certain topics so that they can seem weighty or relevant?”
    Rather I think some people (like this author) try too hard to appear to identify with these topics and ideologies.

    You’re so patient to have continued reading the book😅

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Best part of this entire post: “What has had more waves: Covid or feminism?”! My take is that feminists don’t talk about being feminist, nor do we think of it in waves. Feminism has stopped being a movement and it simply is, but, I suppose for many, labels are still important. I also think there’s a problem with any book that has to push an ideal to that extent. Why be so overt? Seems to be a rom-com posing as a treatise regarding feminism.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Talking about feminism so much in this book was distracting. Most books can’t sustain two different plot lines and this author wasn’t good enough to do it. A book about a weird dating site would have made for a much more entertaining book. I don’t need to always overthink

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you think books throw in certain topics so that they can seem weighty or relevant?

    I’ve seen this happen with some authors who write light reads but want to be taken seriously as a writer.

    A “feminist” wellness club? What even is that? Why? Oh God. Trying hard to be “woke”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It reminds me of my first book club book. The author threw in transgenders, lesbian love, race and modern day sexually transmitted diseases — and it was set in the 1850s!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know. Plus those things added zero to the story. It was a major distraction. I have a friend who is a writer and works part time in a library in the kids’ section. She said she reads all the new books that come in and they all have same sex parents or something along those lines.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I just want the theme to make sense, and not throw in ridiculous plot lines. I don’t care what sex/gender anyone is. Just make it readable and interesting and not ridiculous

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Words have so redefined that they have no meaning . She’s using “feminist” to mean so many different things! Face it LA, we’re old. This world doesn’t make sense anymore. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s what I was thinking…what point is she trying to make? Are we so neatly divided into what type of feminist we are or aren’t?

      Like

      1. We definitely are not . I want women to be able to make their own choices . But we can’t overcome our own hormones long enough to stop making everything about us.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, I have several opinions on this topic. As a widow over 60, who for a reasonable time after my husband passed, was thrust into a single world again. I learned very quickly that if you did not at some point, mention your feminist ideology, you wound up being surprised at how much misogyny is out there. Most Men of a certain age still think like it’s the 1950’s. (Proof of that was the 2016 election where so many men were threatened at the idea of having a woman as President). So I do understand why perhaps the authors of certain books need to make sure there is an underlying feminist theme. Was the book you mentioned over doing it?? Maybe. But until you are in that single world again, and suddenly come across the dating scene, you don’t realize how divided people are on their opinions of Women’s rights. It’s an explosive topic.

    I’ve always been a feminist. We just didn’t overtly talk about it like they do today. But after seeing how backwards so many men in my age bracket were, I decided that I’d rather not date. It wasn’t worth it. No, I don’t think women need a man to live a fulfilling life. But love is certainly nice. And it’s difficult to start a new relationship if you discover the person you are dating is an old school misogynist. When you are young hormones do most of your thinking. In middle age your brain and common sense guide you.

    I do think the wellness club bit was pretty silly. Her subtext could have demonstrated her character’s strength and independence by her actions rather than through adjectives. But I understand that the author was trying to get her message across. Perhaps her editor should have enlightened her on how to do this in a better way. Then again, it almost seems like the writer was told by her publisher to stick in some feminist phrases to attract a wider audience. So we don’t really know.. But some of the quotes you sited were almost unnatural or seemed forced, as if the writers were instructed to put in that message. Those stick out ( like the spa comment), and a good editor would have told them to make it more subtle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! They seemed forced. I wondered as I read it if she started out as a dating in the 21st century but had to feminism , or if she wanted to write about feminism and needed to add the dating part

      Like

      1. LA, I know! Talk about NOT seeming authentic! Sheesh! It’s very unclear what she really had in mind. A true feminist doesn’t obtusely push forth an agenda in such a phony way. By today’s radical standards my feminism would be considered out dated or too understated and I find those comments by many young women rather offensive. Who is to say what is progressive or correct for anyone? Especially women who were fighting and making progress long before some of these young women were born. In my mind putting other women down only pits women against women and how does that help push forward equality?
        Every generation had its freedom fighters. We need to embrace them all. Susan B Anthony wore a corset. Some of my peers in the 60’s burned their bras. But nobody denounced anyone least of all, our founding mothers. (Just because their fight wasn’t as radical by modern standards).. Jane Austen was radical for her time because her characters refused to marry unless it was for the right reason. That was courageous for the time. And Louisa May Alcott’s amazing Jo March was originally written to travel around Europe and never marry. Instead her publishers insisted she write that Jo got married at the end of Little Women or they wouldn’t publish her book. So Alcott caved. (But stated when interviewed, that she refused to have Jo marry Laurie and thus created an intellectual equal with the professor. Compromising her original story . So to get published women evidently still have to give in to get their works in print.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. The thing about these “waves” is that they come and go….whether it’s COVID, feminism, or whatever the newest issue/topic becomes. They’re not sustainable. So perhaps this was an effort to remind others about something that no longer garners much interest. From your examples, it seemed like overkill. And pointless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, the dating service piece was quite interesting from a theoretical perspective…I thought that was thought provoking. I sort of skipped the bs parts

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! For me, what matters are the actions people take, even in a book. When a book uses language too much to “certify” a concept, I am always. wary. We can write about feminism without ever using the term feminism, is my point. Same with any other concept.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m afraid the book would fail the two-page test, even without any absurd references to feminism. Good on you for staggering through all that bad writing, because you thoughtfully raise such an important point.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s