|"The Reflection" by Edward Simmons|
Today I'm sharing an excerpt from a recent Bustle article in which author Sarah MacLean discusses how widespread disdain for romance novels stems from society's underlying disgust with honest, positive portrayals of female sexuality.
The article is excellent. You can read it here.
In the years since I began writing, I’ve come to realize that the judgment that romance readers and writers receive for the genre they love is not about the writing. There are great romances and terrible ones, just as there are great works of literary fiction and terrible ones. I used to think it was about the fact that the genre was by and about women—and certainly that is a part of it. But let’s be honest, romance gets the literary stink-eye because of the sex bits...[S]ociety tells us that decent women shouldn’t be thinking about sex, let alone reading about it. Real ladies should be ashamed of desire. Of sexual identity. Of sexual pleasure. And, by extension, we should be ashamed of anything that supports female sex positivity.
What I have learned in my years as a romance writer is this: people are, by and large, terrified by the idea of a woman taking power. Wielding it. Winning with it. And there is nothing at all more powerful than a woman who acknowledges her sexual identity. A woman making choices that prioritize her satisfaction. A woman claiming herself as a sexual being.