Friday, March 27, 2015

What you should be reading (and an appeal to authors)

In the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey and similar novels, it is tragic to watch the sudden and overwhelming predominance of uncaring men, violent characters, cheating boyfriends and generally dislikeable people making their way into the books we call romance.

Let me bring something to your attention, friends—this is not romance. Men who cheat on women, are violent, tie them up out of some sordid fetish to treat them like animals are not men we should be fantasizing about. They're pricks. Have we fallen so far down in the pursuit of love and romance to think that the only way to obtain joy in a relationship is to subject ourselves to bestial practices by men who know nothing of courtesy, respect, kindness and just good old fashioned chivalry?

We worship the Bad Boy, hunt the man with the tattoos and a the bike and the women chasing after him. Fine. But if that same Bad Boy is cheating on you, hitting you, disrespecting you, then he's not a Bad Boy. He's a wanker. And he shouldn't find his way into our books.

Have you read the Johnny series? What did you think of Thunder, a Bad Boy to the core who nonetheless never does anything to betray or hurt or demean Alice?

That some authors even glorify the abhorrent subject of rape is beyond reprehensible.

New Adult authors should break the pattern, be unique, change the trend. Jettison those asshole characters and write about the Bad Boys who are yet as chivalrous as any knight errant ever was. How romantic would be a scene in which a bad-as-bad-can-get dude rips the heart out of another "bad boy" who cheated on his girl or hit her? There are many creative scenes in which we can yet maintain the fascination with the Man Who Breaks The Rules, and nonetheless not have him be The Only Man I Can Get Even Though He Treats Me Like Shit.

Have some pride.

There's no such thing as dominance and submission amongst humans, only weasels. One of the European weasels, to procreate, rapes his partner. We are not weasels.

No relationship can survive without mutual respect, care and honesty. It isn't true that you have to be a goody two-shoes to achieve that. You only have to be human.

This is a plea to both New Adult authors and readers. Demand brings supply. Authors are creative people. I'm sure we can think of many scenes and characters where the mouthwatering Bad Boy is yet a man worthy of the girl. But we should quit supporting, buying, reading and writing stories where pricks rule the world and women fall for them. I know it's fiction. But it's also not. People look to books for answers, ideas, hopes. They look to them to escape to a better world. If you keep telling them that a better world is one where the only man you can get is a boozing bastard who swears at his girl and catches some action on the side, people might start to believe it.

And it really isn't that way.

It's never easy to break the trend. A lot of work and care goes into writing and publishing a book. Sometimes a lot of money. And we want readers. I believe we will get those readers, get them en masse, if we change our characters and make them likable, chivalrous, and the ideal of what a man should really be like.

A man with ropes and handcuffs is no man. He's an unimaginative coward.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. After 50 Shades made a big splash (and no, I have not read said series, nor do I have a desire to read it), I found more of that creeping into series I used to love. I understand, trying to ride a trend to make a living, but the romance genre has been alive and kicking for a long time. It was disappointing to me, to find some of my favorite characters behaving in this manner.

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