I saw something on Twitter not so recently that said readers of romance were far less forgiving of heroines than they were of heroes, and you know what, that has stuck with me. Not because I felt convicted but, because it’s true. Coincidentally, the three books I read over Thanksgiving break happened to all have difficult heroines. It wasn’t by design, these three just fell into my TBR pile this way. I didn’t even realize the similarities until I finished the third book and had a whole cuss in my spirit about my sis Tali LOL. It was along the same vein as the cuss I had for both Jo and Anais. As I was gearing up to add the books to my reading challenge on Goodreads, it hit me.
After reading each of these tales, while satisfied with the endings, the heroines had me steaming mad. It was not outside the realm of possibility for me to hop in my car and roll up on these women for putting my book bae’s through hell before getting their shit together. But make no mistake, I loved each of these books. Let me tell you why (and don’t worry, no spoilers are up ahead). First of all, each of these authors can weave a dope ass story. That’s number one. These are some talented women whose work I’m an honest-to-goodness fan of. Second of all, I loveloveLOVE well-written books featuring hard-headed ass women who by default make their men bear crawl through hot coals just to be with them! I do, I do, I doooo (word to Kel, who loves orange soda).
It’s no lie or exaggeration to say that the (majority female) romance readers love themselves a heart-breaking, bad-mouthed, difficult-to-love, broken man of a hero but don’t keep that same energy when it comes to the heroine. They get exxxxtra conservative when the shoe is on the other foot and suddenly, things that didn’t matter, now do. Open up the reviews of any romance novel featuring either and you’ll see the stark differences in the sentiments. One of the authors of the books I mentioned above even had it said in a review of one of her books that she “hates women” because she creates heroines who always have shit that has to be muddied through before they can get to the love (this was a paraphrase, y’all). I’m a firm believer that this double standard is the fault of patriarchy but that’s a whole other post for the thirty-fifth of Nevuary.
BUT, in my best impression of August Alsina I just want to say that I love this shit. Not only do black women deserve to be loved out loud, but the hard-headed, stank attitude having, smart ass mouth possessing, emotional and childhood trauma carrying, mental illness suffering, and rated-E-for-Everyone-hands having women deserve love too. I appreciate these women for writing books that show that and all other women who are writing those books as well. Go read those books I mentioned above because they are damn good, and if you find yourself getting pissed at the antics of the heroine, just keep the same energy you would have for your favorite “bad boy” book bae.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. *drops my mic*