3 things for today

1. Weeks ago I promised I would only be reading romantic fiction from X day forward; this proved not to be true, but you can get your sweet & dirty romance-novel-themed summer playlist here (courtesy of @mrsfridaynext for NPR). It's officially the only thing I like about summer:

2. 25 Alice Munro stories you can READ ONLINE RIGHT NOW (c/o Lithub). What a world!

3. I'm still making my way v, v slowly through 1980s episodes of General Hospital, full seasons of which exist on YouTube. I've also been searching for some kind of academic intel on the soap opera genre, which occupies the same gendered cultural space as romance novels, gossip, and boy bands; i.e., "exclusively female," therefore fundamentally unserious and disposable. Unsurprisingly there's not much out there, but here's a general primer from the Museum of Broadcast Communications:

In the United States, at least, the term "soap opera" has never been value-neutral. As noted above, the term itself signals an aesthetic and cultural incongruity: the events of everyday life elevated to the subject matter of an operatic form. To call a film, novel, or play a "soap opera" is to label it as culturally and aesthetic inconsequential and unworthy. When in the early 1990s the fabric of domestic life amongst the British royal family began to unravel, the press around the world began to refer to the situation as a "royal soap opera," which immediately framed it as tawdry, sensational, and undignified.

Particularly in the United States, the connotation of "soap opera" as a degraded cultural and aesthetic form is inextricably bound to the gendered nature of its appeals and of its target audience. The soap opera always has been a "woman's" genre, and, it has frequently been assumed (mainly by those who have never watched soap operas), of interest primarily or exclusively to uncultured working-class women with simple tastes and limited capacities. Thus the soap opera has been the most easily parodied of all broadcasting genres, and its presumed audience most easily stereotyped as the working-class "housewife" who allows the dishes to pile up and the children to run amuck because of her "addiction" to soap operas. Despite the fact that the soap opera is demonstrably one of the most narratively complex genres of television drama whose enjoyment requires considerable knowledge by its viewers, and despite the fact that its appeals for half a century have cut across social and demographic categories, the term continues to carry this sexist and classist baggage.

I'm eternally fascinated by the ways in which the world discounts the inner lives and interests of women while elevating historically "male" pursuits to hysterical status.

4. Related, and heartening in re: respecting the tastes of teenage girls: this Bob Lefsetz post on seeing Harry Styles in concert (+ Rob Sheffield at Rolling Stone & Two Bossy Dames forever)