There has been too much inner monologue in my life recently, best described through John Grant lyrics ‘but you never learn you get your labyrinth on you lay awake at night..’ in this case not thinking that I was getting old, but about a poem I’ve been working on and how female characters are portrayed in romance novels currently, the response that female readers seem to have to them, which lead onto how modern women appear to see themselves and respond to other women.
Having recently returned to Romancelandia, and more specifically m/m I’ve been thinking why m/m has got my attention ? Certainly in part because the authors I have been reading: KJ Charles, Joanna Chambers, Jordan L Hawk, Alexis Hall write intelligent witty well plotted books, but also because they lack stereotyping, and write-by-numbers.
Why is it that m/m authors can write books that show a romantic relationship of equals and yet m/f seems stuck in stereotypes ?
I have no doubt that there are authors out there who are not doing this,and just as sure that there are readers who feel that m/m is stereotypical as well. When I have come across a believable strong female character they then get vilified. What has happened to us (women) that rather than celebrating a strong woman we moan about them ? Because the criticisms are pretty much always leveled by women.
I know that we are taking about fiction here and that romance is kind of by definition removed from reality, except that these reactions are visceral (and mean). Have women, especially young women stopped being supportive of each other ? I suspect that as individuals the answer is no, but en masse it would appear so.
Some of this I’m sure is a whiplash from the burn your bra hairy armpit sisterhood school of feminism. Mention Germaine Greer to most people I know and they remember Celebrity Big Brother not women’s liberation. Women no longer seem to want to be liberated, we have adopted a kind of pseudo male Armour as protection and in doing so appear to be loosing more than we gain. Is this is what’s being reflected in prose ?
In parallel the cults of celebrity, trending and visuality appear to be combining, leaving debatable issues more marginalized than before.
I read this today – One in five people think it’s acceptable in certain circumstances for a man to hit or slap his female partner in response to her wearing sexy or revealing clothing in public.
Is this progress ?
I started with John Grant, and so I will finish, this song is amazing: