The Romance Novel and the #Metoo Movement

In the last couple of years, the news headlines have been filled with dominant, male figures being taken down by a string of accusations of sexual misconduct the question that comes to mind during the movement of #Metoo is what about our romance novels? We as writers have the job of creating escapism for our readers. In that we want our readers to be entertained while escaping from their everyday lives, and in some ways, as writers,  we also need to escape. But in the age of #Metoo can our leading men still be domineering or do we have changed how we view our male characters?

When we as writers study the genre of romance, we are shown countless times that we want as women strong men in our lives. That we want to be taken care of and that we also have desires that need to be filled by the males in our lives. But when we are told that sexual misconduct is not okay then are we being told as writers that we have to change a genre that has been around for years? Or are we being told that we have to be more conservative as writers with our works?

I feel that the romance genre should stay the way that it is with our strong male characters, dominant or less dominant, and our female characters needing to be swept off their feet by a male character who will take care of them. This still includes giving into the impulses of sexual desires. Please, not that them not talking about the sexual tendencies that are in Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m talking about our general romances that can be found in the local supermarkets.

I agree that sexual misconduct is not acceptable but should the genre that we enjoy have to change along with it? While there are no guidelines under the #Metoo movement of how relationships with males should change, except that men need to undergo a change in how they act and treat women. However, should fiction imitate real life events? Therefore, if the answer is yes, then the whole genre of romance will have to get a facelift and that would be devastating to a genre that helps fill in a void for so many women that want that strong male to fill their desires that we don’t get from our every day lives.

As I have mentioned before, we should not be writing to trends and that we should stay on point with our genres and what expectations our readers have within a given genre but so far as today we should not have to change how we write our romance and if we are told that we have to change then we can say why? Why should we change when we are creating art? Why should we change when we are giving our readers what they want most? Of course, we could be challenged with the question of why not change? The answer then should be because our readers don’t want us to change.

2 thoughts on “The Romance Novel and the #Metoo Movement

  1. Wonderful thought-provoking post!

    My 2 cents is that writers do not need to change power dynamics in romance any more than writers need to change gore in horror, or murder in mysteries.

    Fiction is where we can *safely* explore thrills ~ thrills that would stop being thrilling in real life, such as a stolen kiss, or finding a dead body in a walk-in cooler, or following a clown into a sewer.

    In fiction, I want to follow that clown into that sewer! Just like in romance, I want powerful, naughty, risky, and even crazy romance.

    If someone models their real-life behavior based on fiction (murder someone after reading a murder mystery), then that sounds like a personal problem to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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