Let’s Talk About Sex (and Love and then Sex Again)
more cat pictures
I just watched the first episode of Bones which I downloaded from iTunes. I’d been thinking about watching it for some time and was holed up in the basement working on a project and thought that running the show while I was working would be a great way to pass some time. Before I downloaded it, I googled the show and saw that David Boreantz said that what made the show were its relationships
"For me, I’ve always maintained that the show was the [Booth-Bones] relationship, maintained that the show was about the characters and I maintained that the show is about the two of us learning through the crimes and that journey that we take," he said. "That, to me, is the most important part."
After watching the first episode, I agree. The characterization of Bones was forced in places (the ‘I don’t know what that means’ meme got a bit tiresome). The mystery was resolved in about two seconds. I couldn’t decide if I liked the eccentricities of the secondary characters or whether their quirkiness fell under “trying to hard.” But the dynamic between Bones, the scientist who dealt with hard facts, and Boothe, the cop who deals with the soft ones, is very engaging.
There isn’t a TV show that doesn’t revolve around some romantic entanglement and there are few books that don’t have an undercurrent of sexual tension between the lead and someone else. Heck, even the eternal hound dog Lucas Davenport got married at some point in the long running “Prey” series. So why are romance novels, which are all about relationships, deemed to be culturally bereft?
I asked Ilona Andrews, a UF crossover author, who has read gobs of romance in the last couple of years what she thought of the genre. She said “Romance makes you a better writer. Romance is all about emotion. Readers are emotion junkies.”
- Yes, yes, yes! Bodice-rippers are my ultimate escape
- No way. I don’t touch those books.
- Sometimes, while on vacation or at the beach.
Sadly, though, even romance novels aren’t considered to be good enough for a beach read. Beach reads, as identified by some bestselling authors, include The Great Gatsby, Nancy Drew and The Stand. (Thanks for the links Jill F). Maybe they should have asked SB Sarah about her choices like Tango did.
Lynn Kerstan wrote about the fear of the sex based book for women.
All they know are the cliches. The Myths of the Seventies and Eighties have become ingrained in their saucer-deep minds. Romance novels are all about a silly female and her clothes, her advancement in society, her search for a handsome, wealthy tycoon or sheik or pirate to fulfill her fantasies, and sex.
Mostly about sex. That’s what really interests the journalists and the uninformed public. Especially in America, which is simultaneously hung up about sex and obsessed with it. Sex is forbidden, irresistible territory.
I think Kerstan is right. In the past couple of weeks, there was a huge storm that arose over a picture of pink high heels that a young woman wore to welcome her soldier home from Iraq. Apparently there were some who found the picture of the shoes cheap and trashy and wished that the paper had picked a different picture. As SB Sarah noted, ” I’m struck by two things: one, the seeming desire to asexualize a homecoming.”
Again, the idea that the woman was some sexual being was offensive to some. Are we going to be forced back into corsets and coverings from head to toe? I do not understand the fear behind women claiming their sexuality. I would think that men would want women to be more sexual. What is seriously so terrifying about a woman is sexually empowered? Although I’m not sure whether romance reading women are more sexually in tune than another woman – obviously that’s a perception and I have no idea whether it is actually backed up by empirical evidence.
Even among romance readers, the highly sexualized character is not universally favored. The reviews of Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase, a book that is recommended by nearly every reviewer here at Dear Author, have, as Candy has succinctly summarized included this criticism: OH MY GOD THE HEROINE IS A WHORE YOU GUYS THIS IS TOTALLY GROSS.
“I agree with some of the other reviewers who got sick of hearing the heroine call herself a w…… I will not read Chase again, or at least, I will not purchase another one of her books.” LINK
I do not like a book where the main character proudly admits she is a “wh____e”. At that point I stopped reading the book. LINK
i started skipping pages after about 80pgs. who wants to hear a woman say constantly “I AM A WH…? yes she was treated badly, so move on, and find a way to use the letters constructively. everybody has their opinion, but with morals so lax today who wants to read about a courtesan who admits that she is a WH… and proud of it, even if some is for show. LINK
A sexualized female is dangerous to both women and men in large enough numbers that it is still acceptable to insult the millions of women who read romance by reducing their chosen hobby to a couple of sexually degrading terms (‘bodice-rippers’). As Ms. Kerstan said, “The ingrained bigotry chafes my hide.”
What is it going to take for romance to be considered on the same cultural level as say a trite but engaging television show like Bones?