Feminist Romance – Part 2 – What Defines Feminist Romance?

Trigger Warning: this discussion and comments may contain triggers for sensitive readers, as it addresses feminist issues including sexual assault, sexual themes, etc.

In the first part of this series on Feminist Romance, I discussed why I want to both read and write romantic stories that contain erotic sex scenes within a framework of feminist values. In this post, I want to focus on defining Feminist Romance as a sub-genre. I can only define it in terms of how it’d suit my desires and tastes, so while I will attempt to be open and inclusive, it’s inevitable that other people will have different opinions on what they’d like to see. Some will say I’m being too general or lenient, and others will say the opposite. But hopefully many of us can come together to create a fair list of what we believe Feminist Romance should and should not include.

To that end, if you create your own blog posts on the topic, please share and I’ll update as needed with a list at the bottom of this post. My goal isn’t to tell people what they should or should not want, but to foster a community of like-minded women and men who want to read great love stories without being put off by the typical anti-feminist tropes and clichés that unfortunately tend to typify the romance genre.

First of all, it’s important to declare some firm rules to which I believe most feminists would agree:

Feminist Romance must never contain any of the following:

  • Positive portrayals of rape, sexual assault, any non-consensual sexual act, or physical abuse.
  • Glorification or lauding of any perpetrator of rape, sexual assault, any non-consensual sexual act, or physical abuse.
  • Positive portrayals of empty objectification of anyone as a sexual object alone.
  • Positive use of any sort of hate speech (not limited to feminism: I believe most feminists would be equally appalled at racism, homophobism, etc.)

I’m not saying the above concepts can’t exist in the story; in fact, clearly some of them are prime motivators to feminist action. It’d be quite the fantastic world where rape or bigotry do not exist. The key is they must not be presented in any way that even implies that they are acceptable. A rape survivor can reclaim her inner strength and move on, but at no time should a rapist be shown in a sympathetic light. A suitor can tell a lady she’s beautiful in a lovely romantic scene, but at no time should a woman’s fuckability be held up as a defining characteristic. Characters who objectify in that regard must be portrayed negatively.

As far as I’m personally concerned, any sex scene in which any party is cajoled into it through false, manipulative means or by being incapacitated constitutes non-consent. I’m not interested in reading about sleazy seductions unless they’re framed as wholly negative acts from which the heroine rises later as a newly defined, wiser, stronger self. I don’t want to see her go back to the seducer at all. I don’t want him forgiven later just because he’s ostensibly changed his ways. I don’t find such story lines romantic: I find them nauseating.

The same goes for abuse: if one partner beats the other, they’re a villain and there can be no redemption for that in an equitable love story.

Next are things I’d like Feminist Romance to avoid, but I concede that others may disagree with some elements, so further discussion is warranted.

Feminist Romances should avoid the following:

  • Positive depictions of sexual humiliation – I personally don’t want to read BDSM even though others might be into that. If it is included, it needs to be 100% consensual, and even then, I don’t believe that humiliating aspects of some sexual kinks are conducive to a romantic love story between equal partners. That falls more into erotica, which is a separate genre. Further, any of this sort of thing would need to have trigger warnings, which in and of themselves aren’t very romantic.
  • Strong female protagonists giving up their strength or independence in order to pursue the romance – Don’t set up a character as having a wonderful trait only to make her abandon it so the guy will love her. Don’t make her give up her bow in order to be a proper princess. Don’t make her sacrifice her independence to find true love (because true love is two independent people sharing their lives, not taking each others’).
  • Glorification of patriarchy, of male dominion over women, or of willing female submission – Again, it’s one thing for the story to take place against a patriarchal backdrop, since that will include most known societies, but I don’t consider it the least bit romantic for a woman to give herself over to a male power figure. If the story has the male protagonist in a higher position of power than the female protagonist – which again will inevitably be common because life works that way more often than not – both sides should be aware of the power difference and be actively working to mitigate it. A man boffing his secretary on his desk is neither romantic nor sexy to me, but a boss who falls in love with someone in his employ and wrestles with that as a moral and philosophical dilemma does interest me, as long as when they come together it’s done in such a way that she’s clearly not being subjugated by the process.
  • Positive use of misogynistic slurs – I don’t find it the least bit sexy for a woman to be called a bitch, whore, slut, or any similar term. Again, others may not mind so much, but I don’t want to see those words used in any positive context in Feminist Romance. That’d put me off a character quickly, especially if used during sex scenes.
  • Pandering – Don’t stick a traditionally male trait or role on a woman (“Look! She’s a mechanic!”), tack on a conversation between two women about some feminist concept you dug out of a Wikipedia article (“Patriarchy bad!”), have a lady-on-top sex scene, and say, “There! Feminist enough for ya?” Because no, it’s not. Just like those of us who are geeks to any other topic can tell when we’re being pandered too, so too can feminists, and nobody likes it. Don’t even bother.

Those are the things that occur to me off the top of my head that I’ve seen in romance novels that put me off the genre. There are no doubt other unpleasant elements, so I’ll add to the list with an Update note as necessary.

In terms of what I do want to see, there are no absolutes beyond the obvious things I expect of any story such as good writing, professional editing, solid characters, rich plots without gaping holes, etc. I want good love stories with fun sexy scenes without the nonsense listed in the points above, but I’m not looking for formulaic feminist polemics. I definitely don’t require any particular percentage of the book be dedicated to feminist principles. I don’t believe authors should be restricted to specific themes or elements, so long as they leave the nasty stuff listed above out. However, below is a list of things that would please me if I did see them, be they small parts of sub-plots or dominant themes.

Positive things a Feminist Romance could include:

  • Redefined traits without gender attachment – It’s easy to cast a female protagonist as being tough or having a particular skill usually attributed to men. Fine. But feminism isn’t about taking on traditionally male tropes and reshaping them to fit women: it’s about redefining what being female is without sexist constraints in the first place. Give the princess a sword and let her fight, but don’t prevent her from crying when her friend falls in battle. Likewise, when the prince’s friend falls, he should cry too. I’d love to see more juxtapositions of both supposedly male and supposedly female attributes, casting them all as part of the human condition and not limited to a particular gender.
  • Self-Rescuing Princesses – Or generally speaking, women that solve their own problems, at least partially. A good partnership love story will obviously have room for both parties to assist and rely on each other throughout the plot – be it as part of grand adventure or more inward, personal struggles – but empowering female protagonists to lift themselves out of pain and danger is likewise empowering to the female reader.
  • Survivor strength – Regardless of how a female protagonist managed to survive an ordeal, her recovery should show at least some level of self-determination and empowerment. That doesn’t mean she has to go it entirely alone without support from those who care about her. Again, a romance with a balanced partnership ought to include a loving shoulder to cry on should she need it, and there’s nothing wrong with needing that from time to time. But I – and I’m sure other feminist readers – appreciate heroines who overcome trauma by using love as a foundation from which they can grow in their own way, on their own terms, and using their own inner strength. This is particularly true for misogynistic trauma such as rape; a female protagonist who has gone through that horror is more compelling if she’s active and powerful in her healing process in a way that doesn’t dismiss the trauma as inconsequential.
  • Discussion and contemplation of gender roles – I don’t require protagonists to be perfect feminists (if there even was such a thing), as long as they recognize problems and work to correct them. I personally have a thing for heroic men who struggle with what their role is in a relationship with a woman who routinely saves herself from danger. I don’t want to see the man being positively portrayed for resenting that, but I find it very compelling for him to have to reconsider social norms in that context. Likewise, I enjoy seeing women discuss gender issues from opposing yet sometimes equally feminist viewpoints, bringing classic debates down into the microcosm of individual lives. Having characters question themselves and each other on specific plot points and how they each deal with them is fertile ground for feminist discussions, and I’d like to see more of that.
  • A version of The Bechdel Test – That test was made for movies, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t at least be loosely applied to Feminist Romance. I say “loosely” because any heterosexual romance is going to necessitate a lot of conversations about the male protagonist. But since I prefer rich plots in which the love story is a central aspect – as opposed to stories that are solely about the relationship and sex – I’d love to see a lot of Feminist Romances that pass the Bechdel Test. That could mean something as basic as two women talking about something tangentially related to the love story, or perhaps about wider feminist ideals as noted above.
  • LGBT normalization – I’m mostly straight so I’m personally looking for heterosexual sex scenes, but that doesn’t mean LGBT themes should be absent. I appreciate inclusion of LGBT characters not out of tokenism but out of casual, normal, daily life, particularly in cultures that are permissive of openness. Obviously, there will be a certain segment of the Feminist Romance audience that specifically want lesbian love scenes, so that will no doubt come up on many lists of requests for this genre.
  • Shared child-rearing – Few things make my heart beat for a male protagonist more than if he has good fathering skills beyond being willing to throw a football on Saturdays or occasional diaper changes. Give me stories of men who perform heroic acts for children not merely out of duty and certainly not to impress the ladies, but because they have big hearts and can’t bear to see a child suffer. Tell me about a man weeping in joy when he first holds his newborn child and I’ll be crying along with him. It’s fair to expect any male protagonist in a Feminist Romance that includes children to be a decent dad, but I’d appreciate it if authors went beyond the typical to really delve into fatherly love and gladly taken responsibility. Clearly not all Feminist Romance would even include children at all and some would argue that motherhood in a feminist context is a whole separate discussion, but if the love story does include children, I expect them to be raised in an equitable partnership. Dumb-Dad Syndrome is equally offensive to women and men and doesn’t belong in a Feminist Romance at all.

Again, those are elements I’d personally enjoy and there are no doubt more so as with the negative points above, I’ll add update notes as necessary.

What about you? What does Feminist Romance mean to you? What elements do you crave? What’s lacking in the love stories you’ve been reading? What typical tropes make you angry or otherwise ruin the mood? What would make your heart pound in delight, and what turns your stomach?

Please share in comments or point me to your own posts on the subject. I sincerely hope to start a wider dialogue in this area. I believe if more writers know we want this stuff, more will endeavour to create it!

And if you have book recommendations that fit these criteria and suggestions, please share those as well. Authors are welcome to do so, but please be honest. I believe my novels fall within these guidelines, but if fellow feminists have concerns about anything I’ve written, I’m open to constructive criticism.

This is the second part of my musings on a potential sub-genre in the romance field. Part 1 is here.


Further Reading

Why Aren’t Romance Novels Feminist? Ask David Wong. by April Line Writing

Feminist Friday: Kimberly Chapman and Feminist Romance by Allyson Whipple at How can the poet be called unlucky?

Feminist Romance Group on Goodreads – Come join the conversation!

Do you have a blog post, article, or other relevant item to share? Please let me know and I’ll list it here.


Please note that while conversation is encouraged, no comments attempting to hijack this discussion away from feminist topics will be approved.

17 comments to Feminist Romance – Part 2 – What Defines Feminist Romance?

  1. MIckey says:

    Ever since your first blog on the topic, I've been contemplating what I (as a 3rd generation romance reader) read, what I like in a romance book, and books/authors I read who might fall into this category.

    I would add a few things to your list, such as:

    The hero's attitudes towards women should either be portrayed as not sexist to start with, or he should be shown to struggle with and ultimately reject his own patriarchal tendencies. This is a recurring theme in a number of supernatural romances I read, particularly the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. The vampire males in her books are by nature intrinsically protective of their mates, even to the point of being patriarchal about it, but ultimately end up with mates who kick ass in their own right, if not physically then in other ways, and ultimately come to accept their mates as equals.

    If the hero rescues the heroine from a situation just by dint of something like superior physical strength, it should be counterbalanced by her rescuing him from a situation by dint of her skills as a woman and a human being, such as aiding him in struggling with his own emotional wounds which a patriarchal society has left him ill-equipped to deal with.

    I agree wholeheartedly about your feelings regarding LGBT normativity. I would add, though, that these may come up in the background of a heteronormative culture, and while the characters may struggle with feelings of same-sex attraction, they should not reject them out of hand due to said culture. Again, getting back to the BDB, one of the arcs in the last several books has been the character Blaylock coming out to his friends, his unrequited love for his best friend Qhuinn, and Qhuinn's realization of his own love and attraction for Blay when Blaylock enters into a relationship with Qhuinn's player cousin. I had thought that Q&B's story would never get to play out, but while I was researching this comment, I found out that their book will be coming out next spring, so YAY! This may be the first example I can think of where a primarily hetero-romance-writer has actually written a gay/bi romance, so I'm kinda squee-ing about that.

    Interesting take on the whole shared child-rearing/fatherly love thing, have you read the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn? Eloise's book, "To Sir Philip, With Love", has a very interesting arc about a man who is cold and distant towards his children, not because he doesn't love them, but because he's afraid of his own anger, and fears repeating upon them the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. It resolves rather nicely, I thought. I guess my question here would be, if shared childrearing would be entirely historically inaccurate (I do loves me some Regency romances), must it be featured in a feminist romance? Can historicals even BE feminist?

    I may come back to this later, as I'm busy with the Ravellenic Games, but I just wanted to chime in quickly.

    • The question of whether historicals can be feminist is something I consider a lot. I believe that they can, as long as the author does sufficient research to ensure that they're casting those notions within a proper historical context.

      For instance, in Jason's backstory, he is first exposed to the notion that women ought to be educated by a Quaker friend in the mid 1800s (that's Trish's great-great-etc-grandfather). I've done a lot of research and that organization went through several up and downswings on feminist issues over the generations. I believe it's fair enough to include those discussions and ideals in that setting. Not that that story is much of a romance from Jason's POV, of course, but there's no reason someone couldn't write a story incorporating of-the-time feminist ideals for that era, even if the word "feminist" isn't being thrown around specifically.

      I actually would love to write more LGBT stuff myself but fear that I'd come off as pandering because I'm not engaged in that sort of thing enough to provide valid comment (except for the political side, of course, which is really a different sort of story anyway).

  2. Emma says:

    As someone into BDSM who identifies as submissive, I have to disagree with your inclusion of BDSM as something feminist romances would avoid. I've gotten to the point where I won't date someone who isn't into that up front, so any depiction of my dating life (or of many of the people I know) would inevitably include that aspect. If you haven't, you should check out Bitch Magazine's recent blog series on BDSM and feminism. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, of course, but are trigger warnings ("DO NOT TURN THE PAGE: THERE IS A MONSTER AT THE BACK OF THE BOOK") really necessary? I would think the packaging on the tin would indicate the contents, so to speak – someone for whom that is a problem isn't going to pick up Exit to Eden by mistake.

    As far as general romance, have you considered the work of Jenny Crusie? She avoids all the no-nos. One book does feature an employee/employer romance, but the problems of that are explored. Her characters are good fathers, some of the books have an LGBT element, and I think all of them (except the early Harlequins) pass the Bechdel test.

    • To clarify: I didn't say BDSM should be avoided. I said humiliation should, which is generally one-sided and not mutually consenting, which BDSM is supposed to be. I did say that if BDSM is included, it should be labelled.

      Because of my own rape experience, I have always found BDSM descriptions to be very triggering. I don't want to get into details publicly, and I recognize that BDSM is a consensual thing, but suffice to say that every time I try to read it, I end up feeling very sick inside, near to panic if certain elements are mentioned.

      I tried to read an erotic story someone recommended last week that had no BDSM warning and I ended up quite upset. I can intellectually recognize that the woman was completely consenting and that it wasn't rape, but the scene was too triggery for me.

      I also know that I'm not alone in this, but other victims aren't inclined to speak up about it. There's a sense that if you're not into BDSM, you're not part of the cool-kids table because of 50 Shades.

      So yes, I'm afraid clear BDSM trigger warnings need to be there for folks like me, if other authors in this space want us to buy books with confidence. You can't always tell by a cover image. And because this has happened on 4 out of the last 5 stories recommended to me, I am now in a position of not wanting to read any of the genre unless it is specifically described to me as not containing that. That's not fair to those who aren't including it.

      It's a trust issue. It's why I've posted my cheeky warning/advertisement on the front page for my novel: I don't want someone to buy the book and then be upset that it contains sex, swearing, and violence, but I recognize that some people dig those very things. It's also why it's in the Adult category on Smashwords, and if Amazon etc. had a way to do that, I would. I've also indicated in the blurb that the female protagonist has been severely harmed in her past. It's simply being fair to the reader.

      But I do recognize that other people want BDSM and that it can exist in a feminist context, so that's why I believe that it needs to be labelled (as surely as I'd put a nut warning on a baked good for those who are allergic) but shouldn't be excluded.

      Although to be clear, I don't think a casual reference to BDSM needs a warning…only if it's explicitly discussed as part of a sex scene. And I don't mean a big neon sticker on the cover: a mention in the blurb will do. Nor does it have to scream "OMG TRIGGER!" Simply making it clear that it's in there is fair enough.

      I can foresee how future ebook sales might become unified with tagging, which would fix the issue entirely if folks like me could simply tell our searches to exclude anything with that tag.

      I wasn't aware of Crusie but I'll definitely look into her work now. Thank you for the recommendation and discussion!

  3. md says:

    This has so many issues that I cannot possibly respond to them all, but I’d like to direct you a couple websites:
    http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/
    and
    http://www.dearauthor.com

    There is a big community out there that dislikes exactly the problems you are describing (forced seduction, heroines giving up independence etc), reviews LGBT romance on equal terms with “straight”, and highly praises multi-dimensional heroes, independent women, survivor strength and so on.

    But: everyone there by now is very tired of the stereotypes that you describe in this article, because they were true 20 years ago. They are still true of some books, but definitely not of all the romance.

    So, I am a well-educated feminist woman who reads a lot of romance that does not cater to stereotypes (and some that does). I strongly believe that there is such a niche. And I really wish you would do a back up post after reading reviews, discussion pieces (and preferably some books) from those websites, and thus make the discussion specific that way, if you still think that it does not fit the definitions you laid out.

    • I'm almost certainly finding the wrong romance books. That's part of why I started posting about it: I need to find where the better ones are, and not keep being accused of being a party-pooper or thinking too much when I've asked in some other spaces.

      I knew about the Smart Bitches site because I've read some reviews there, and mostly they were pretty negative because the books included so many of these elements or were otherwise badly written. I'm sufficiently terrified of them to ever submit my book there for review…not because I think I've included the yucky stuff, but because their guidelines clearly state that they're out to be vicious and don't want people to submit and expect anything else.

      But I wasn't aware of Dear Author so I'm going to check that out now, thanks!

      And believe me, if I find a romance that satisfies, I'll sing it from the rooftops. I haven't been naming the ones that bothered me because I don't want to be seen as bashing specific authors. But I've started reading 5 in the last few months, all recent releases with good reviews on Goodreads, and 4 of them creeped me out very early on. The 5th was just poorly written and dull and failed to catch my interest.

      Edit note: My bad, I was aware of Dear Author, sorry, but didn't realize they were specializing in this sort of thing. They actually rejected me for review but didn't say why other than not having a reviewer available at this time. But I'll go check their Top 100 recommended list now.

  4. Estrella says:

    I am an amateur writer, and I agree with all your points about what should definitely not be in the genre. However, I'm a bit confused. Could you give me some examples of what "Positive portrayals of rape, sexual assault, any non-consensual sexual act, or physical abuse." "Positive portrayals of empty objectification of anyone as a sexual object alone." and "Positive use of any sort of hate speech (not limited to feminism: I believe most feminists would be equally appalled at racism, homophobism, etc.)" would look like? It seems to me such things CAN'T be portrayed in a positive light, but I want to make sure I know what to look for so they don't appear in my stories without my knowing that's what's happening. I kind of understand what "Glorification or lauding of any perpetrator of rape, sexual assault, any non-consensual sexual act, or physical abuse." means…I think. I think it basically means don't make a person who commits rape or abuse on another person one of the good characters. Is that right?

    • A good word I see coming up in discussions to encompass the positive portrayal of rape is "rapeyness". As in, the male protagonist grabs the female protagonist, throws her on the bed, says something like, "I'm going to fuck you good and hard and you're going to like it!" She starts to protest but then acquiesces and does turn out to like it. Then that's portrayed as him having liberated her from some kind of sexual limitation she'd previously been under.

      I tried to read a story just last week that had that in the second chapter. In a nutshell, the woman was walking through a scene, a man approached her and propositioned her, and she protested that she wasn't interested, so he pressured her until she acquiesced enough to be grabbed and then shown the error of her prudish ways. This was clearly supposed to be a good thing, even a turn-on.

      Another common theme that bugs me along those lines is a sort of positive version of Stockholm Syndrome, the general Beauty and the Beast vibe (I don't specifically mean just the Disney cartoon, but the whole classic storyline). The man is some kind of professional Bad Boy (a pirate, a criminal, a CEO of international evilness, whatever) and the woman is somehow his prisoner, but through the course of the story she decides he's hot, can't decide whether it's okay to have sex with him or not, so as above, he takes the initiative so she is absolved of the decision and then she's happily in love with him after. Then the excuses come in as to why it was not so terribly evil for him to have had her prisoner in the first place.

      I can't think of specific recent examples off the top of my head of empty objectification or hate speech. I listed those mostly as things that I suspect nobody wants to see. But I could imagine it possible that someone might try to put forth a story in which certain communities' values get promoted positively through a character in a way that offend those of us who have the opposite values…ie a very right-wing religious protagonist who is portrayed positively for championing "family values" against homosexuals. I don't want to read that. I'm sure there are others who would.

  5. Hallie says:

    This entry has helped me a lot! I am currently writing a novel about a very strong woman and was having issues writing a sex scene that didn't sound like a cheesy romance novel. I wanted her to remain strong even though she is showing her tender side by having sex with a man she has found she loves. It has been really difficult making it about them and not the sex, so this article has helped me a lot! Thank you for discussing it! I want to read and write novels which include sex but not sex that makes me angry or laugh hysterically.

    Thank you!

    • Excellent, Hallie! I know exactly what you mean: it's tricky to describe a love scene without falling into those standard and expected tropes of male dominance in the bedroom, or without flipping over to the tropes of female sexuality that end up being culturally perceived as negative.

      We definitely need more hot sex scenes where both partners go at each other with wild, loving abandon without worrying about being "manly" or "womanly" enough.

  6. Jackie Horne says:

    Kimberly:

    Thanks for contacting me via Goodreads about my new blog, ROMANCE NOVELS FOR FEMINISTS. I've just joined the Feminist Romance group on Goodreads, and am looking forward to learning more from you and the other members.

    The plan for my blog is in some ways the opposite of yours: rather than lay out a definition of "feminist romance," I'm going to review books that strike me as feminist, and muse about what it is about them that makes me feel that way. And as I come from a scholarly background (Ph.D. in lit), I'll also be discussing feminist literary scholarship about romance. And discussing Pet Peeves, those anti-romance tropes that immediately turn me off from a book when I encounter them.

    Really looking forward to continuing this conversation with you and other like-minded feminist readers.

    Best,
    Jackie Horne
    ROMANCE NOVELS FOR FEMINISTS http://romancenovelsforfeminists.blogspot.com/

  7. ashbet says:

    I will say I've been extremely pleased with the work of Ankaret Wells (disclosure: she's a friend of mine, but I genuinely adore her writing!)

    She writes romances and comedies of manners set in fantasy/science-fiction settings, with strong female characters, refusal to bow to sexist expectations, positive portrayal of LGBT people (who don't tend to have foreground romances, but it's just lovely to see the heroine of "Firebrand" note in passing that a very handsome young man is obviously the favorite of the ladies who visit his shop, but he obviously has eyes only for another gentleman — but in her mental voice, it's said with warmth and approval and a bit of humor about his frustrated female suitors!)

    TW: "Firebrand" does contain a character who very much thinks that he can take without asking, but he's not portrayed as a positive character, and neither the heroine nor the hero approve of his behavior, and it's explicitly condemned, multiple times.

    "The Maker's Mask" and "The Hawkwood War" are a pair of linked novels (you'll want to read them in order) featuring a bright, capable, mechanically-oriented, funny, well-spoken female character, and they MORE than pass the Bechdel Test :)

    • Wow, thanks so much! I'm going to go add those to my Goodreads list now.

      I too regularly have my heroes and heroines casually mention LGBT characters in positive-passing, even in my fantasy work, because I want it to be normalized like it is in my own life.

      Oh and I personally think it's awesome that you're mentioning your friend's work…we all need cheerleaders who believe in us as writers if we're going to get anywhere, so it's wonderful that you're doing that for her. I'm certain she's quite grateful, as am I. Thanks!

  8. Rak Nay says:

    “I want to focus on defining Feminist Romance as a sub-genre.”
    That’s Hard to do.
    Like I say before about Feminist values;
    One thing that being very popular in the last couple of years are the feminist rant against sex.
    Not the objectification but the sex at all.
    A lot of self-proclaimed feminists are against sex and in their arguments; woman don’t feel any kind of sexual pleasure or any kind of sex arousal.
    So is hard to put feminist and sex together in America.

    The most of the second part of the text is about personal tastes. And I don’t have nothing to say about that.
    About the Positive things a Feminist Romance could include:
    Redefined traits without gender attachment –
    We being doing that.
    Now the woman is the Rambo and the guys can cry.
    Wait: Rambo cries in first blood.
    Yep! Looks like people take that out girls. (Bad joke)

    But this thing about the father is new to me.
    Well, I saw that before, but I don’t give the proper value.

    Like I say
    As a writer I believe we are facing a new sexual revolution.

  9. [...] “Feminist Romance – Part 2 – What Defines Feminist Romance?” goes with post above. [...]

  10. Rachel says:

    What about noticing or commenting on a person's eyes (specifically color)? Would that be objectifying? I usually have my characters notice other people's eye colors when they're close physically enough (e.g. sitting across from each other at a table) because I like to write detailed descriptions of everything including my characters, but I know that objectification involves mentioning or noticing something about a person's body and eyes are a part of the body, but eyes also express emotion, which I would think would have a connection to seeing them as a person rather than an object so…I don't know. What do you think?

    • No, I don't think noticing a person's features is objectifying. It's when someone is reduced to that feature alone that they're objectified. It's perfectly healthy and natural to like parts of the person you're attracted to, or even just to notice features on other humans. It's when it gets into the, "She's a bitch but has a nice ass" kind of thing that it's creepy.

      Although I will say that romance writers need to cut back on overstating descriptions. I read a book once where if I had to see her eyes described as "aquamarine" one more time I was going to lose my pacifism. And it wrecked the part where she was given a gift of cloth to match her eyes and turn into a wedding dress because by then I was thinking, "OH GOD WE GET IT SHE HAS AQUAMARINE EYES SHUT UP!"

      Same goes for hair.

      But that's more about good writing in general than feminism. :)

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