Saturday, June 21, 2008
Diversity of characters in romance
I want to start off by thanking everyone for making our launch week so fun! We really appreciate all the support we've had the past week and hope we continue to entertain you here at Three Wicked Writers. Regina's contest winner for yesterday is Ivette! Please contact Regina at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now to my post for the day...
I was visiting a romance group when I saw a discussion where a reader mentioned that she wanted to see more books with "big" women, women with more curves, with meat on their bones and who aren't shy about it. Another reader replied to that thread by saying that she preferred books with skinny heroines because she can relate to them, and to HER they are more realistic. In her words if the heroine is heavy she finds herself thinking, "No way would the hero really want her" and ends up putting the book down. While I completely disagree (regarding that opinion not only in books but also in real life) I still respect her right to that opinion. She has her own ideas, as do I, and you as well. Most likely they're all going to vary in one way or another. But her opinion did get me thinking in a number of ways. I think it obviously helps feed the negative self image for us heavier set women. For myself, though I'm not completely happy at my current weight I don't let it rule my life. I'm proud of who I am and I have a wonderful husband who loves me and supports me in every way. He thinks I'm sexy just the way I am. He still fell in love with me despite something that some people consider an imperfection. But I can't help but think about the people who don't have that positive self image. Who want that man who will love them but think, "No way. He would never really want me." I think romances help with that way of thinking. Part of the reason I love romance so much is because of the diversity of characters. Yes, bigger women are outnumbered by more petite heroines but books with bigger heroines are out there. Just like there are books with black characters, white characters, red heads, blonds, mix-raced relationships, single moms, older characters, younger characters, blue collar or white. There is a diversity in romance novels that calls to me not only as a writer but as a reader. I may not be able to relate to a super skinny heroine or a wall street woman, or whomever for whatever reason but I can relate to them as a woman. That's what's important to me. I relate on the feelings of attraction to someone new, the first kiss, insecurities in a new relationship, so many different levels. I don't have to relate on all levels and just in my opinion, physically I don't really have to relate at all for a book to be realistic. That's the job of a writer to make the book and characters realistic no matter what (and I'll say it again, why isn't it realistic for a bigger woman to be with a gorgeous, muscled man?). Plus, those diversities, or those little things that may not happen as much in real life CAN happen in a book and that's part of the beauty of the story, isn't it? That the guy from the wrong side of the tracks can get the "spoiled" little rich girl or the heavy set woman can win the heart of the town hunk. That is part of the reason WHY I read romance.
We want escapism, right? Diversity? Characters that are like us and characters that aren't? Isn't that part of the fun?
To all of us our ideas on what is or isn't realistic in a book is different. This was her opinion, mine however differs on what is realistic and what isn't. What I want to know from you is do you like books where a couple that seems impossible really isn't? Books about people and couples different than the ones we see everyday? Heroines who aren't conformed to a strict idea of what society considers beautiful?
Man, I do. What is beautiful to me might not be to you but that doesn't make either of us right or wrong. It doesn't make my idea of beauty more or less beautiful than someone else's.
Okay, I better stop now. It's late and I could talk about this forever!