I do a lot of thinking. Some might say too much. I’ve been thinking a lot recently in light of the Time’s Up movement in Hollywood and around the nation about how my genre of writing needs to evolve—if at all.
I’m a romantic who’s been blessed in the love and family department. It’s not always easy to see life from the viewpoint of the victimized when you live in a safe bubble. I’ve never really needed to be feminist, though I’ve had my own small #metoo moments. Still, I’ve been wondering…how do I as a romance writer make this situation better? How can I write about the flirtation and romance between men and women when so much negativity is associated with such flirtation and romance crossing a line into something much darker?
I’ve always tried to write strong female characters and caring male characters, but I’ve never considered how their romantic interactions could read to someone who has been victimized. Consider the pirate scene in Movie Magic, for instance. Or the scene in Secrets of the Lotus where the rich guy just chooses a woman at random to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve. In Winter Solstice, the two main characters are co-workers. Island Magic is basically about a kidnapping—a good-natured and necessary one, but still. In almost every one of my books, looking back, there is something that might be frowned upon by a feminist or trigger a victim. The only one of my books with a real feminist as a heroine is Escape Magic, which I wrote in response to my disgust over 50 Shades of Grey.
I haven’t solved this romance/feminism quandary, by the way. I’m keeping it in mind in my writing, however, so it’s most likely going to show up eventually.
On to better news. Today, in spite of its possible problematic elements, Movie Magic received TWO great reviews. See below for details and stop by to give my reviewers some love and for your last chance to enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card:
“A sudden storm brings the characters together, and very much like the Shakespearean play, “The Tempest”, the characters are introduced and the story unfolds against a background of nature, the elements, and magic. Movie Magic is a charming romance!” —Jennifer Macaire
“…for the most part I really did enjoy Mrs. Flye’s writing style as she was superior on detail. She carefully thought-out certain passages that when I read them I wasn’t reading them – I was seeing them! Perhaps like my own little movie magic occurring!” —Fabulous and Brunette
You pointed out something that I’ve often found troubling about romances. The relationship between the male and female protagonists often seems non-consensual, at least initially. The man pushes on because he can tell that the woman “really wants it,” even if she doesn’t realize it herself. As you say, it will be interesting to see how romance writers begin to address that aspect of the genre, in view of changing sensibilities.
I’m glad you don’t think I’m being reactionary or too sensitive about this. Thank you for your comment.
I have heard through another discussion that this is something that is frustrating to the female actors who narrate books on tape. So it’s a thing and it probably does need to be discussed.