chapter  14
14 Pages

Embodied Soulmarks and Social Expectations

The Materialization of Romantic Love in Soulmate AU Fanfiction
ByKinga Kowalska

A curious variant of the trope has recently emerged in the form of a fanfiction genre called 'soulmate Alternative Universe (AU)'. The soulmarks are bodily manifestations of a deeper spiritual connection; a predestined ideal romantic love that has nothing to do with sexuality or reproduction. Another concern frequently discussed by soulmate AU authors is the strong belief that having a soulmate constitutes the majority of an individual's social worth. However, as is the case with fanfiction in general, the soulmate AU is not always just simple escapism, supplying relief from the demands of reality. Escapism by means of soulmate stories is possible because they respond to the expectations of the target audience, that is, fans. Methods of choosing a romantic partner in Western culture have changed significantly in a short period of time, creating a new set of fears and expectations involved in the process.