Silly Romantic Bitches

blogging-cat-memeThis is a follow up—if not a continuation of—my rant  Silly Women: Stupid Is as Stupid Does?,  so I may step on some toes. OK, here we go.

I’ve been reading stories lately that, frankly, make me want to spew. Not because they are gory or are excessively violent, but because they are so syrupy with romantic goo that I can’t take it anymore without an insulin IV drip!

I am reading these supposedly “erotic” romances, and the women are some of the most obnoxious, whiny, cry baby bitches I’ve had the misfortune to encounter. Don’t give me some bullshit female character who’s supposed to be all independent and tough but completely falls to pieces at the slightest sign of trouble.

I really can’t believe how women still want to read about women like this, but they do and these books sell. I read a line like this:

“Mary Sue’s life would be complete if she could only find a man to love and care for her.”*

Vomit. Barf. Gag.

I’m reading stories FULL of a bunch of weepy women who literally SIT AND WAIT for the man to come save them. Yes, I do mean “literally.” Not only that, they are bursting into tears every few pages. It’s like these women are suffering from PMS through the whole story. These are the female protagonist!

It doesn’t stop there. I’ve read several stories that contain male characters who are prone to getting tears in their eyes, or getting lumps in their throats, or their “heart soars” with such frequency they should be tested for high blood pressure. Obviously, the author wants to show how their male protagonist(s) are sensitive, which is fine, but they are equating sensitivity with sentimentality in an all-or-nothing manner. Why not consider the dynamics of a D/s relationship? Just because someone is submissive doesn’t mean they are a doormat.

MenWhatHappened

I’m not saying men can’t cry, but I can’t think of a woman who wants a man so “sensitive” he crumples like a used Kleenex. A man can have a sensitive side, but he should also sac up and be a grown man.

Or these authors write about über alpha males displaying so much testosterone, I wouldn’t let them in my house without laying down newspaper.

As a result, you get one-dimensional perhaps two-dimensional characters that are nothing but lazy stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. No amount of paranormal powers, billions of dollars, or non-existent/failed relationship story themes will change it.

Listen, I get it. I’m not cruel and heartless. I’m a married woman and my husband romances me a lot. I consider myself quite lucky. We all need and/or want some kind of human companionship. But for God’s sake, ladies! Your life is useless just because you don’t have a man? Really? If that’s the case, go pick a homeless man and give him a home. I am sure he will appreciate it. Hell, he may even love you for it.

Oh, is that not what you mean? Yeah, I thought so. Beggars can’t be choosers.

#Irony.

And don’t get me started on the dialogue that reads like Valentine’s Day card rejects. I’m talking about shit like this:

“I feel complete when I know that I have given you this pleasure.”*

This is not erotic. It’s not even romantic. Not in my opinion, anyway.

But now I get to what really pisses me off. The women writing some of this stuff can write good—in some cases great—action scenes that are fast paced and full of suspense—but they’re giving those scenes to the men! I shit you not! It’s like they believe, consciously or subconsciously, that women can’t (or shouldn’t) do these things. It’s not lady-like. Leave it to the man because they are the romantic lead and need to save the woman.

The male characters are allowed to curse and be violent and vengeful, but the female always represents the nicer, charitable element in the story. Female characters are either admonished for doing the same thing, or more often than not, they scold (nag) the man for doing it.

Even if she has been subjected to some of the meanest, unjustified behavior, she is expected to be forgiving. She is not allowed to feel angry (at least not for long) without her “realizing” or someone telling her that she is being childish or spiteful, or just plain wrong. A lot has been written about the double standard when it comes to men and women and anger, so I’m not making this up.

Don’t complain to me if what I’m saying sounds sexist. If anyone is being sexist—it’s the author!

For fuck sake! Am I the only person who’s been around men and women who can swear like sailors, get mad, get violent, have thoughts of revenge, and—depending on how ingrained these things are in their psyche—can still be nice, caring people?

Even if you’re reading to escape certain realities of life, it’s still nice to have a sense of reality and authenticity to make the story and characters more plausible, if not believable.

I don’t know if these authors are trying to convey a certain message about the role of women in society or not. These stories are masquerading as erotic romance.

Is it hard to wonder why lots of people and other authors see Romance, or any subgenre of it, with disdain? It doesn’t have to be this way, but with silliness like this, I am very doubtful. I just wish these authors would stop feeding into it.

How can this be fixed? One way is by giving the character an Achilles’ Heel. For example, Mary Sue is an independent woman who can hold her own in any situation…but if she sees a spider…

there_was_a_spider_i_panicked-164083

THIS…I can believe. Is it clichéd and sexist? Sure, but THIS is plausible for Mary Sue’s character. Her weakness can be anything. It doesn’t have to be sexist at all. Maybe she has a weakness for meatball subs, or her world stops if the Steelers are playing. Whatever, as long as it fits her character.

Some people reading this post will think I’m a “mad, raving feminist” where “feminist” is a pejorative term. Just because I’m a female who’s sick of reading about women with less backbone than a jellyfish—why do you feel the need to label? But if that rocks your jock or blows your skirt up, so be it.

delicate flower

“Well, why are you reading this stuff? Read something else and quit your bitching.”

As a writer, I need to know my market and my competition, but I’m not just a writer. I am a reader and a consumer. For the last several years, the market has been flooded with ebooks and print books. Some are cheap, some are free—some aren’t. Hey, my stories are out there too, and more are on the way.

Every reader has standards about what makes an enjoyable story, whether they admit to it or not. I do too. Stories like these make me want to reach into my head, scrub my frontal lobe, and start again.

Before you flame me for being a snob, consider this: Unless an author and/or publisher markets a book as targeted for certain ages or education level, an author never knows who is reading their book. It could be a rocket scientist or a grade-school dropout. Don’t try to pass off Barbara Cartland for Colette and get mad when someone calls you on it.

OK, call me a snob if you want.

I will end my rant with a couple of ravings. I’ve discovered some authors who are new to me that I’m enjoying. Jax Lusty, Bryce Calderwood, and Eric Keys, to name a few. I hope to find more as time goes on.

But I’m open to recommendations. Leave them in the comments, or better yet, friend me on GoodReads.

What kind of stories am I looking for? Sexy, edgy, smutty, smart. Just look at what’s under my name at the top of this blog. 🙂

*I have changed the name and the wording in the above quotes to protect the guilty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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