Coming-Out-Series (P6): Contemporary Battles & Why The Genre Isn’t So Bad | Should We Pick Books Just For The Rep? ft. Is There Enough Rep In Fantasy?

Yes, let’s talk about my off-again-on-again relationship with the contemporary genre.

If you’ve been following my blog for more than about 0.25 seconds you’ve probably heard me scream about this.

I haven’t actually complained about this for a while, so this post is needed, tbf.

I’ve gone on about this SOOOO many times here and here and here. So, why not talk about it some more??

But yes, I’m reading so many contemporaries and just can’t read fantasy at the moment??? I don’t know what it is???? I mean look… these recent reads are all contemporary.

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And if we have a look at the bigger picture at the past few months of my reading:

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Yeah… not a lot of fantasy and a lot of GAY.

(can we also not mention how long it’s been since I posted and actually went on WordPress?? I’m on holiday and actually doing things / having a life and it’s a new experience and I’m trying to cope over here. The air outside is v strange and v unfamiliar. Someone send help/backup, please?)

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It actually came to my attention that while I’ve been reading more books with LGBTQ+ representation, the number of fantasy books that I’ve read (which is was my main read genre) had plummeted. SEVERELY.

I’ve turned back to contemporary because one) there’s more variety of rep, two) it discusses a lot of challenging topics and can (in fantasy the plot/worldbuilding can take over?) three) it’s easier to find contemporary books with rep, four) contemporary books with LGBTQ+ rep seem to lack a lot of the issues that I have with f/m / cis contemporaries.

Like??? Some fantasy books have really good rep (I’m talking Magnus/Alec here and Mark/Keiran (and omg I just need Ty and Kit to be a thing already) from TMI/TDA here) but I also don’t see that much??? I also know that Amanda Foody’s books are also great with rep and I’ve yet to read them!!

BUT there is a severe lack, that I think is starting to be bridged.

ANYWAY. Still A Huge Lack™Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

So, above, I mentioned the issues that I have with f/m / cis contemporaries. And trust me, they are still very much there. And yes, I can still have issues with m/m or f/f contemporaries too. BUT.

I find that I’m just so DONE with m/f contemporaries?? I find them cliche a lot of the time (yes, LGBTQ books can still be cliche), and not really as interesting?? I want the rep, and everything else is just?????????????????????? no thanks?

I find that there’s MORE in a f/f or m/m book because it tackles a lot more issues than your regular, f/m contemporary. Because even if it doesn’t explicitly talk about them being LGBTQ it SAYS SOMETHING. The fact that it doesn’t, says SOMETHING:

It shows that it’s normal. And it shows that it’s a part of life. And it’s not some world-altering thing.Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

And the thing is… when I go to read a book that doesn’t have any rep and a love interest I just don’t feel AS invested as I could be?? I don’t know what it is, but I can just invest myself MORE when it’s an LGBTQ+ REP book because I relate!! 

I find it really hard to find fantasy books with LGBTQ+ representation, and now, when I start them, it takes me AGES to get into them even though I can love everything about the book???

I would say that it’s me being in a Fantasy Funk or whatever, but it’s not that. I just want to read books with LGBTQ rep and a lot of fantasy books do not have that!!

And I’ve said it before on here, and I’ll say it again: m/m relationships make my still heart beat once more.

… so when the rep isn’t there my heart sheds tears and… yeah.Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

Fantasy + no rep ever = sadness

Because I really want to have some kickass LGBTQ character saving the damn world and it not being a huge thing. Like oh, they happen to be LGBTQ and oh lookie-here, they also happen to be able to wield 5000 knives at once like a BOSS, while also knitting a scarf and saving the world, while also throwing glitter and rainbows around as they ride on a freaking unicorn.

But does this happen?? No.

Does my heart weep? Yes, continuously.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

BUT: Is it right to pick books for just representation? I think that it’s okay because we need to support books/authors with rep!! 

I guess that if it really came down to it if there were two books that I couldn’t choose between and I both liked the premise of and one was (white)f/m while the other was either m/m or f/f or had any other LGBTQ+ rep—or POC and was still f/m—(because there’s a lot of rep to cover, people!) I would choose the one with the rep. 

BUT: that book that I didn’t choose in this hypothetical situation could have been better? It could have been AMAZING! So is it really okay?

Some might say ‘we can’t ask for everything to be diverse‘ HA WELL PPL STILL WANT THAT, AND NEED TO BE REPRESENTED, BYE. But the thing is people could turn around and say ‘we still need white f/m rep‘ and to that, I would just laugh because,, honey,,, are you from a marginalised, targetted group? No.

(this may be controversial or whatever but,,,, I’ve said it now,, oh well,, cool,,, bye.,,.)

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Why can I never end a discussion post with actual opinions and not flail like a fgrdkgr?

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fdjndjfg someone pls join me in my opinions?? What do you think about the rep in fantasy?? do you have any recommendations?? what do you think about rep in general? Do you think that ppl should pick books just for the rep???? SOMEONE HELP. BYE.  

32 thoughts on “Coming-Out-Series (P6): Contemporary Battles & Why The Genre Isn’t So Bad | Should We Pick Books Just For The Rep? ft. Is There Enough Rep In Fantasy?”

  1. hi honestly i feel like it would be SO easy to have diversity in fantasy because you don’t have to include racism and homophobia and stuff bc it’s a new world SO THEY CAN BE HAPPY and you can just have casually diverse characters and people from marginalized communities and IT CAN BE HAPPY and GOOD!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s totally fine to pick a novel for the rep. We ALWAYS need more diversity in our fantasy books and everyone can fight us on this. ❤ I saw someone on social media complaining about the "diversity movement" in books and how people need to stop "whining" about wanting more inclusion in books and that honestly made me so furious because… what? are you even for real

    Another thing that concerns me is when people just smash one Token POC Who Will Inevitably Get Killed And Be There For The Protagonist's Moral Support into their fantasy novel just for the """trend""" (and the worst thing is, you can totally tell when an author is doing this!)

    Lovely post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Same here!! Now I think… why did I even try with that series in the first place??? There was also the “bury your gays” trope in Bk4 which I now look back on and think,,, nopenopenopenothanks

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate how people act like we’re “forcing diversity into books” because really?? it should have been there in the first place let’s be REAL. I don’t get how people are still asking for white f/m at this point because look, there have literally the last 100 years for you to be represented maybe??? maybe it’s our turn??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree we definitely need more rep in fantasy. It’s severely lacking but there are more books now in the fantasy genre with rep than there were a few years ago which is something. I know you said you haven’t read her releases yet but honestly Amanda Foody is brilliant when it comes to rep in her books, and her stories are great as well. I think you’d really enjoy them Lu. 🙂
    I also get what you mean about the typical m/f YA contemporaries are getting a little cliche, but I’m not willing to completely write them off. My favourite YA contemporary authors are Morgan Matson, and Kasie West, and Sarah Dessen and even though there’s no rep in their books I still love all their releases.
    Great post, I loved reading your thoughts on this, and yeah again definitely check out Amanda Foody when you get a chance! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s something at least! Ahhhhh you’re making me want to pick them up even more!
      Yeah omg I really liked Morgan Matson’s book,, I’m trying to remember the title… something about ‘everything’? SHE WALKS DOGS.

      Ahh thank you!! and I will!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I find it frustrating when fantasy just ignores rep. Like, making fantasy worlds completely white/heteronormative is SO ANNOYING! I worked really hard to ensure my fantasy world for my little mermaid retelling was NOT blanket non-representation. Like, my main character is Asexual, and I have an on page established M/M relationship and bisexual female character. So I know it is very possible and NOT THAT HARD to write about ALL Kinds of people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES IT IS. And they’ve got a whole world in their hands and they can make it not homophobic or racist, yet they chose to ignore the arsenal at their fingertips?? Doesn’t really make sense to me????


      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you hit on what I was going to say regarding the question in your title, which is that it seems “easier” for contemporary to deal with certain issues or types of representation because you can make the book “about” that thing. In fantasy, you generally have a more major plot, like “saving the world” or whatever that takes up a lot of space. In contemporary, the plot can just be figuring out your identity, having a relationship, dealing with prejudice, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly.,. And it’s just,,, how is it so hard to have diverse characters but at the same time,,, it’s understandable but at the same time,,, I’m just here begging for rep in fantasy anyway???

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I also wish there was more rep in fantasy. There have been a couple fantasies I’ve read this year that had f/f relationships, but in one of them half of the couple was killed off (ugh) and they were all just extremely minor side characters that had no real impact on the story.

    And I’ll definitely pick up a book just for the rep. I’m not a huge fan of either Becky Albertalli’s non-Simon books or of Adam Silvera in general (I know, I’m terrible), but I still pick up their books because of rep and have What If It’s Us on my tbr list (though honestly I should probably not read authors whose books I consistently don’t like). I’m just so tempted by the promise of good rep that I let a lot of things slide and am honestly less harsh about things I would be harsh about with cis white straight books because I want the diverse things to all be amazing, I guess, even though that’s maybe not a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhhhh yes killing them off…. gotta hate that!! OMG WHAT IF IT’S US. Ok i need that. And i get what you mean because They Both Die At The End didn’t blowmeaway like i thought it would?? i think that if you don’t like a book, that’s fine, even if it’s diverse. If i don’t like a book, but i like the rep, i will definitely still talk about how the rep was great but I had other issues with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. that’s a very good point. There are a few books I either didn’t like or had mixed feelings about personally but the rep was really good so I’d still recommend it to blog readers and also to teens I work with at the library (I’m a librarian). I just feel weirdly guilty criticizing diverse books, especially by really popular diverse authors. Maybe that’s just a me thing though. idk.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. YESS! AND I CANT BELIEVE HOW HAPPY I AM THAT YOU STILL WANT TO READ MY POSTS! I thought no one would care anymore!! 😢😢😢😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

        Liked by 1 person

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