Jenna Black's Blog Experiment

Wherein romance author Jenna Black plunges into the terrifying new territory of blogging . . .


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Damsels in Distress

On one of the many loops that I belong to, a writer was talking about a Dear Abby column she'd read where a mother was concerned about her 14-year-old daughter reading romances. Apparently (and I haven't read the column to confirm this), at the end of the response, Abby stated: "Some might argue that the idealized depiction of romance, and women being 'rescued' by powerful, wealthy men, is more worrisome than the sex and eroticism."

This statement, of course, has caused a bit of a furor on the romance loops, but it got me to thinking. I've only been reading romance for about three years, having once upon a time been under the mistaken impression that they would be too "mushy" for my taste. (Who knew I was a closet romantic?)

When I read Abby's statement (and some of the responses to it on the loop), it made me realize how different romance novels must be now than they were in the past. Because these days, when I read a romance novel where a woman is in jeopardy, I always know one thing for certain: the hero is not going to swoop in and rescue her. Today's romance authors--and readers, one presumes--will not tolerate a heroine who needs rescuing. The hero can, of course, help her, but she takes an active role in getting herself out of whatever trouble she's in. And if the hero needs to be rescued himself, that's even better!

I think the strong female role models, particularly some of the kick-butt heroines we've seen on TV (think Buffy, or Sidney Bristow), have significantly changed the way the general public looks at women. And it shows just how much power we "entertainers" can have on the world at large.


At 6:59 PM, Blogger Lexi said...

AMEN!!! Too bad people don't actually READ a romance before they start shooting their mouths off sometimes!

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Mary Beth said...

I have to agree with you. Society has changed so much over the course of the last 25 yrs. If I had to read a romance novel that was completely about the man saving the woman I don't think I would continue to read romance anymore. Thank goodness that many authors have taken notice and made the heroine such a strong character on her own. I enjoy reading novels where the women fight with the men over attitude differences and such. Being the mother of a 14 yr old though I won't let my daughter read my novels right now not because of the way the heroines are protrayed but due to the sex in them. I think this has also changed over the course of the years. 25 yrs ago sex wasn't as in your face as it is today.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Sonja said...

My sister always says, "I am not a frickin' princess in a tower and I do NOT need to be rescued," and I think that's how a lot of women readers (and writers) feel. ;-) Still, there's something to be said for the warm squishies when you know someone is willing to at least try to save you. That's the part I like: the hero is willing to do whatever he can to save the heroine (even though she's capable of doing it herself). In this case, it's the thought that counts.


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