A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Have we marginalized romantic heroes too much?

Good morning!

Yesterday I went on a rant about how we, ladies, as a gender seemed to have lost our feminine sense of mystery or shame.  In the process of being feminists, we seem to have forgotten how to be feminine.  I used the example of the woman on the radio show who got into an argument on the radio with a man she'd slept with after one date.  While she had no problems admitting she had sex with someone after one date, she was embarrassed and enraged that he didn't call her for a second date...because he didn't like how she had or had not groomed her private regions.

Friends, there is a reason that romance novels, especially historical romance novels, continue to thrive in an era when all other publishing loses ground.  There's a big reason shows like "Downton Abbey" have a massive and rabid following while "edgier"  TV dramas flounder in spite of their sexual
I can't picture any of these ladies griping that someone
didn't ask for a second date because the man didn't
like the way they trimmed their pubic hair.
content and language.  We, and by we I mean women, crave manners.  We crave polite conversation.  We ache for a romantic hero to come save us from this muddled world.

Thing is, we simply cannot admit it.  We are so busy being independent, strong, capable, that we can't admit what we really want is a good looking guy to die in defense of us. 

This trend is seeping into the romance novel world.  When writing my novel "Lies in Chance" I was in a really dark place in my own life.  I ached for someone, anyone to be my hero.

But my critique group had a different direction.  They told me that in today's world, the woman has to rescue herself...otherwise she's looked on as week and not someone today's modern readers are interested in.

I stood fast and held on to my flawed hero, (Because I love flawed heroes), but yes, my heroine became less of a weak girl and more of a strong young woman.  Still, in making the changes I needed to make to fit today's mores, I still wondered...what's the point of having a romantic hero if he 's not allowed to be a hero?

I have to think, since historical romances continue to sell so well, that the idea of a super...wildly handsome...amazingly strong man coming to our aid is not distasteful.  And I see the continued popularity of classic books like "Pride and Prejudice" or "Gone with the Wind."  Yes, the female characters are strong.  But they need a stronger man to save them.  This is really obvious in GWTW because Scarlett can run her own business, fight her own battles, but she is clueless how to open herself up to true love.  P& P is a bit different since Miss Bennett is ready and willing to stand alone in life for her principals.  Still she needs Mr. Darcy to rescue her from a lonely life, just as he needs her to rescue him from the same.

The concept of a mutual rescue is something I cling to because if I allow my heroines to simply rescue themselves all the time...the what's the point of writing a hero?  And if there's no hero...where's the romance?

Which brings us right back to that radio argument, which was decidedly NOT romantic.

Ladies, and I'm talking to the ladies right now, it's perfectly fine to admit you're not the strongest person in the room.  It's okay to admit you like a guy picking up the check, opening the door, maybe even standing up when you enter a room.  Maybe if we let men treat us like ladies, they wouldn't treat us like objects.

And wouldn't THAT be romantic?

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