alexmulvey

alexmulvey

BA in English. Clawing my way, screaming through my Master of Creative Writing. Wannabe novelist. Certified internet rambler.

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Latest Topics

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Misogyny and the Romance Novel

Romance novels are a billion dollar industry, dominated by women. But the romance genre is often decried by critics as subpar. These attitudes are another case of society shaming women for their sexuality, but many women are fighting back, broadcasting their love for love and erotica for all to see. It would be interesting to look back at attitudes from the past, dating as far back as the creation of the early invention of the modern novel. In the past, fiction was regarded as a "feminine pursuit" looked down on by a patriarchal society while men read philosophy and academia. It would be interesting to explore how those attitudes actually helped female pioneers of the novel thrive and how those attitudes encroach into the romance genre of today.

  • Who ever chooses to write on this topic may want to differentiate between erotica and romance, as most people I know do not consider them the same. I would also question if the modern romance genre is being heavily criticized now because its being written by more women, or if its because authors like Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Alfred Flaubert, Shakespeare and Jane Austen have set a high standard for the genre. (Austen is usually considered one of the best romantic writers with Shakespeare sometimes being held in higher esteem.) I've personally never heard of the genre being held down by a patriarchal society. I have heard that men were accused of being feminine or gay in the 19th century, because they wrote romance and emotive stories, and this lead to romance novels adopting the more masculine/ Byronic protagonist. So it may simply be a trend shift, but I don't really know as you see romance novels come back in popularity during the late 20th century, often getting mixed in with other genres like detective-noire. To prove sexism is really difficult, as you need a direct quote or actions showing that the individual is acting in such a way. But even then does one individuals actions reflect the entirety of a culture? Is it possible that modern women writers are being criticized because they do not write at the same level as their predecessors or is it because there is conspiracy to keep to them out of the writing space? I do not see how that can be proven beyond a single individual holding some women back. But those are my main concerns for this topic. I'd be interested in seeing someone write about this. – Blackcat130 5 months ago
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  • I think this would be an interesting topic to write about! I agree that romance novels are more ridiculed and that some sexism is involved. I think that Blackcat130 made a good point about differentiating between romance and erotica- that is an important distinction to make. Also, perhaps writers are criticized for not meeting standards set by Shakespeare and Austen. However, I agree with your point about sexism, and it would be interesting to look at how fiction used to be a feminine pursuit. – shoafhannah 4 months ago
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Latest Comments

alexmulvey

Fiction gives us a safe place to play with our fantasies and I think that’s such a huge part of it. I think it’s more that we become enamoured with an idea, rather than a person.

Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?
alexmulvey

I will die on the hill of protecting fanfiction! Writers being inspired by other published works can be such great practice and a great launchpad into creating their own original works too! And definitely, in the case of LGBT+ representation, it’s a bit of a case of “fine! I’ll do it myself!”

Fanfiction and LGBT+ Representation
alexmulvey

I definitely think it depends on the genre and what the function of the male hero is in the story. Let’s face it, male characters in romance novels written by women are idealised versions of masculinity; what the heterosexual female reader wants in her male partner. But often in these novels, the male hero isn’t just sexualised, he’s given attractive emotional and behavioural qualities too. The most common complaints I see about men writing women are more about how some men write women’s bodies/anatomy, or in some cases reduce the women to her physical/sexual being. I think there’s a difference between THAT and just writing a character that we think behaves a little unrealistically which I am more inclined to forgive.

Men Written by Women: Dreamboats or Brutes?