Romance Novels: Feminist Manifestos?

Well, I’m late posting, and I really hate being late, but let’s all admit last week was pretty insane no matter which side of the aisle you occupy. Even if you aren’t American, I have the feeling the US election resonated around the world. The fear and uncertainty is real even if some don’t want to acknowledge it.

How does the state of the country apply to romance novels, you might ask? Aren’t romance novels fantasy fluff for women? Certainly, romance novels should be inclusive and entertaining. After all, genre fiction is a form of escapism. But that doesn’t mean that genre fiction, and romance in particular, doesn’t have an underlying theme and something to teach us about honor and respect and what it means to be a hero.

At their core, romance novels are basically feminist manifestos. By examining romance novels through the lens of Joseph Campbell’s Journey of a Hero, the *hero* is identified as the *woman*. A romance isn’t a romance unless the WOMAN obtains her goals, which can be defined on the highest level as sexual, emotional, and material satisfaction. In a romance, the woman always wins.

And if you read romance, you believe in equality! You believe that women deserve respect! You believe women shouldn’t be marginalized! You *want* women to win!

How does this theme work its way into the books I write? By allowing my heroines to save themselves. By giving the rest of us (myself included) a blueprint for how to handle an abusive relationships (personal, workplace, etc.) By giving my heroines the words needed to stand up for what she wants. By giving an example of what a respectful, loving man can be. And, hopefully, by showing women that they deserve to “win” their goals, whether that’s a healthy relationship or freedom from an unhealthy one.

In my opinion, romance novels are going to gain in importance, and it’s vital for writers to not get discouraged and keep writing. It’s just as vital for readers to keep reading and to pass on their love of romance novels to their daughters.

The written word is a powerful, life-changing medium, and we’re going to need it!

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