This blog https://sarahholz.com/2022/05/20/of-pirates-and-persians-chariton-of-aphrodisias-callirhoe/ made me aware of this painting.
It’s called “A Girl Defending Herself against Eros” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Eros is (was?) the Greek god of love who shoots people with love arrows to make them fall in love.
I imagine in this scene that Eros has already tried to shoot the girl a few times and she ducked and dodged and/or kung-fu chopped the love arrows out of the air so now he’s coming at her stabby style. She’s not into it, she doesn’t want to be in love, she has things to do.
I’ve been showing this around and one person asked why Eros was trying to kill the girl and I explained that it was “just” a love arrow stab not attempted murder. It made me realized how messed up the power to make people fall in love would be. “Oh, you’re in a relationship, well WHAM now you love this other person! How you like that?!”
My first thought was that it’s a violation of free will it is! But that’s not right. Because you don’t choose who you love. Or maybe you do sort of but it’s still not cool to love-arrow people.
I vaguely remember a guy in Marvel comics who had some kind of love power. I think he was in the She-Hulk universe. He just used the power to sexually assault ladies though. Mainstream comics don’t normally touch on those sorts of things but they throw you a weird curveball every now and then like that whole Dr. Light thing.
Or when that guy hypnotized Superman and Barda into making a porno so he could blackmail them afterwards. Which makes no sense because if you can hypnotize Superman and Barda why do you need to resort to blackmail? Maybe the subtext is that his power was that he could only hypnotize people into making porn. There’s definitely weirder powers in DC than that.
A person told me that the most unrealistic thing about my writing is that Martialla and Ela make jokes about porn. No woman would ever do that, they said.
Taylor Tomlinson has a funny bit about how proud men are of themselves when they fall in love. She really got me with that one. I do kind of feel proud of myself sometimes. The other half of the joke is that in contrast, women congratulate themselves on not falling in love with a guy on the first date. I don’t know if that’s true but it was funny also.
Anyway, I’ve explained love to you all so now you know.