A writing philosophy?

A blogger who reviews romance novels recently drafted an essay which I found interesting.

Feminist romance was the topic.  From what I perceive to be the perspective of mainstream feminism, doesn’t it seem oxymoronic?  Aren’t romance novels disempowering of women?  Aren’t they too traditionally feminine to be considered feminist?

Is this even an issue?  It isn’t an issue for me, because I just don’t tend to think about feminism on a day-to-day basis.

But I wanted to challenge myself by answering her question, “how would you define feminist romance?”

A central story in which the characters and/or the author demonstrates a commitment to empowering women and men in their romantic relationships.  The main plot centers around individuals falling in love under circumstances where women and men bring their best selves and become the best they can be.  Patriarchy enables men to recognize and act upon their best strengths while enabling them to support women’s strengths and protect women’s needs in relationships.

An emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.  Lovers who dedicate themselves to building their relationship upon a foundation of love, care, and respect are rewarded with happiness and stable relationships that persist for the rest of their lives.

Why no language of equality?  Women define their personal goals and visions for feminism and their relationships in different ways.  Some want equality, some want protection, and still even others are more dominant in their relationships.

I write sweet romances.  So my characters might be seen as anti-feminist.  They are in college, but they want to graduate with their Mrs. Degree, work, and have their first children by their mid twenties.  They would rather become stay at home moms, work from home, or work part time while their children are small.


Copyright Barbara James.  All rights reserved.