Fleetwood Mac | Dreams | 1977
"He said there were no others, not ever. He said I misheard Volchya-Yagoda, and I was his only love." But more than the lie she had been told, Marya’s heart could not absorb the ugliness of her lover keeping these girls prisoner, year after year, like a treasure hoard.
"Husbands lie, Masha. I should know; I’ve eaten my share. That’s lesson number one. Lesson number two: among the topics about which a husband is most likely to lie are money, drink, black eyes, political affiliation, and women who squatted on his lap before and after your sweet self." - Catherynne M. Valente, Deathless.
The Offering by Théodore Ralli (1852-1909)
oil on canvas, date unknown
Anonymous asked: what do you think about the suggestion that deathless is glorifying abuse? i've seen it around tumblr and was wondering about your thoughts.
I really don’t think Deathless glorifies abuse at all; I think that Valente wrote a very tumultuous warring romance between two larger-than-life characters who shared a sexual dynamic of dominance and submission, and since she didn’t explicitly outline the parameters of the dynamic for her audience (which would have felt awkward; I personally loved the fact that the BDSM was visible without being stumbled over or played up) that some people unfamiliar with the dynamic got uncomfortable, which is totally understandable.
Yeah, Koschei steals Marya away and seduces her into becoming his tsarevna and literally has her eating out of his hand, and that smacks of patriarchy, but remember what a boss ass bitch Marya grows into, and remember how weak and in some ways childish the great Koschei is revealed to be. Their entire relationship is a power struggle between two equals, because for all his immortality and magic Koschei is just as fractured as any human, and through her own will and might Marya makes herself more than human, fights for it, kills for it, sacrifices for it. The dynamic isn’t even set, there are plenty of times where Marya has Koschei begging on his knees or (literally) chained in her basement; that’s their normal.Abuse is inflicted on one party against their will by another from a place of self-imposed authority, BDSM is a shared experience between two consenting parties that are in a constant state of negotiation, so yeah, Koschei ties Marya up and beats her and she enjoys it and consents to it, welcomes it even. This is a story about the marriage of love and power, and as Baba Yaga said, “who is to rule”. Marya and Koschei are constantly wrestling each other for power politically, personally, and sexually, and constantly falling over themselves in abject love for one another, and while their relationship is not the healthiest at times, it is not abuse.
For those still uncomfortable with the more violent love scenes, remember the scene where Marya is really sick and Koschei heals her through various means, including fire cupping and whipping her with birch branches. Pay attention to the tenderness and concern with which Koschei handles Marya, and the therapeutic qualities she finds in the action. You might not “get” it and that’s okay, but hopefully you’ll be able to distinguish consensual violence from abuse.
seaghostsoaring asked: Just a quick drive by to let you know I love your blog. In case you couldn't tell from the dozens of things I'm liking and reblogging from you.
Aw, shucks. Thanks sweetie.
So you, dance and you shuffle, into the eye of the storm.
Eyes all on fire as if, you’ve never been here before.
And you say it’s all nothing, and tell yourself quietly.
But I hear you for miles breathing differently.
marvelousactually asked: I was tab hopping and your blog was open in one of them and my five year old cousin saw your picture and said you're really beautiful and also likes your jacket