I should have stopped reading Mariana Zapata a long time ago. All of her books have elements of internalized misogyny that make me uncomfortable. Her heroines tend to be “not like the other girls” and the other girls are “whores” or bitches. Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin adds in some gross gay panic and transphobia to the self hatred. And I read the whole thing. I feel like shit.
I should have stopped at Lingus when the main character constantly called other women whores, hookers and bitches. I definitely should have at the first transphobic joke in Rhythm,Chord & Malykhin. Why didn’t I? Why have I kept coming back to a problematic author? She writes good slow burn romance. In this case it was a build towards friendship turned to lovers romance. I don’t know, Mariana Zapata is like that shitty pizza that you crave sometimes because it’s salty and greasy and you can’t stop eating it and then you feel awful. I knew this book was bad for me when I picked it up, but I was craving that kind of salty, shitty crust but super cheesy pizza.
I could continue to read this book unharmed because I don’t see other women as sexual competition and I don’t have to worry about being murdered for being a transgender woman. I can roll my eyes and keep reading without internalizing any of the harmful messages, and that’s what made me feel like a shitty person.
Fuck this book and fuck shitty pizza. There are better authors out there who deserve my money, attention and eyeballs more. We all deserve better than to marinate in someone else’s unfunny self loathing and fear.