So. . . I dove into that stack of books pictured in the previous post, and OMG, what a shock! I rediscovered why I used to absolutely DETEST romance novels.
USED TO, I said. I love them now, and am proud to say I write them. The heroines are strong and smart, and the heroes admire them for it.
Not so twenty-five years ago. Heroines were naive and weak, apparently even the ones who ran successful businesses. Small businesses, of course - let's not get carried away here. They might know their customer base and marketing strategies, but still can't see the glaringly suspicious behavior in bad guys that even my dog wouldn't miss. No wonder the hero is so patronizing. Little Fluffy-head needs someone to look out for her.
But here's the really bad part, the part that I would never want a daughter of mine to read for fear she might think it was an accurate portrayal of romance - sexually, the stories were just like this picture. (With the exception that Fluffy would not put her face there without a full page of horrified blushing.)
Women were submissive. They might even need to be physically dominated first, because they're going to like it, they just don't know it yet. They'll thank him later. As I said, OMG! If a man in one of my stories treated the heroine like that, he'd be reaching down his throat to retrieve his nuts after she kneed him in the groin. Then shot him. It's called rape, sweetheart. Honestly, I had to keep setting the book down until I stopped seeing red.
Those old romance novels are the reason I used to snub my nose at the genre. Thankfully, some authors refused to let their heroines take crap from men, and refused to let their heroes confuse force with affection. Readers agreed, and publishers got smart about selling to those readers, and we now have heroines smart enough to track down terrorists or kick vampire butt - whatever's needed. And to be their partner's equal in the bedroom. Or the crypt; one never knows when the mood will strike. But wherever, she'll be his equal in every way.
Unless of course, she likes force, but I don't write those kinds of books.