These days we spend a lot of time talking about abstract concepts like toxic masculinity and rape culture, and whether discussing them in the realm of politics or in a more geeky way as we do on this site, we rarely spend any time defining these terms or arguing with people who say that these concepts aren’t real. Fortunately, for people who want to either understand these concepts a little better or who want real-world examples of how these concepts work, there’s the internet. Today’s web crush is for people who want to laugh and educate themselves on intangible concepts at the same time.
For someone who doesn’t particularly like rom-coms, I sure do read a lot of fanfiction where romance is prominently featured. This could be because rom-coms, particularly Hollywood rom-coms, have become mostly clichéd retreads of the same old tired story where attractive cis lady meets attractive cis man and then they get together. There’s no suspense in it. Fanfiction, though, allows the writer and reader to explore the stories that Hollywood and primary gatekeepers of “worthwhile” media have deemed unsuitable—stories about people of color, queer people, polyamorous people, etc. It’s because these stories aren’t the ones normally seen on the silver screen or on television that the issues surrounding them become new, interesting, and, if done well, representative of more marginalized groups.
Fanfiction has in turn developed a lot of its own tropes. One of these tropes is the soulbond trope, or soulbond AU (“alternate universe”). In the soulbond AU, two (or more) persons find that they have a magical bond connecting them to their soulmate. Now, this is a trope that could easily become a cliché, but the development of the trope has, interestingly enough, taken on an increasingly intersectional feminist turn as it’s been allowed to change through the internet.