So, Volume 7 of the Journal of Transformative Works of Cultures is up. I must admit I have not had a chance to read it all, but I would like to point you to this article which is in the Symposium section and is about an acafan’s ambivalent relationship with the hurt/comfort genre: “H/C and Me: An Autoethnographic Account of a Troubled Love Affair” (http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/252/206)
My heart and brain were crying out “yes, yes!” as I read this piece. How many of us have wondered alone why we obsessively searched for stories full of pain and suffering? I know that I recognized this longing in myself by the time I was in my early teens, and thinking back, I know the taste was formed well before then. The novels that drew me in and consumed me always featured a young man who suffered and suffered… and the stories I wrote, too. And I wondered and worried a bit about this.
Or I used to. I don’t worry so much anymore, because I discovered online fandom and realized that not only am I not the only one, but in fact the taste for this genre is fairly common.
I am still curious, though. I think we all understand (those of us who are fans of the genre) how important the comfort side of the equation is…oh, the fantasy of being understood and cared for, of being the focus of everything! It is like ice cream and cake, pizza with extra pepperoni and cheese, fresh bread and cold butter. It’s pure therapy.
And this essay by Judith May Falhallah really hits the mark. I think there is really something to the connection between being “tough” in real life and finding deep satisfaction in the h/c genre. I wonder how many of us who love hurt/comfort are people (women) who are highly independent, strong, determined, people who do not easily show any vulnerability. I’ll bet that number is pretty high.