Smashin’ Frivolous Myths

Let this serve as a reminder of what I do. A writer I know posted this on Facebook — it’s originally from The Best of Tumblr.

My thing is to smash the MYTH that’s decreed romance heroines should only ever be in their 20s since women over 40, don’t have sex anymore, and if they dare to knock boots it’s, as I heard one publishing executive say, “granny sex and who wants to read granny sex?”

Nope, I’m NOT going to let that publisher’s comment go. That there feeds right into the ageist and stereotyped bullshit I’m smashing. It also reminds me of something I read when I was doing my Master’s thesis. Now, I tend to keep EVERYTHING research related, but do you think I can find the reference about younger women populating romance while older women (that is women 40 and over) are kicked into Women’s Fiction? Do you think I can find the quote that says something like, ‘after 40, women are no longer interested in the frivolity of love?’

AS IF love is truly frivolous! It’s what everyone on the plant needs and wants and hopes for.

I’ve spent half the morning looking for the quote on my newest laptop. I have to assume it’s at home, still buried with all the masters stuff on my ancient (as in I had it in 2008) heavy, white MacBook with the dead battery and wonky touch pad. When I find the reference,  I’ll post it because the premise that so often makes others look down their noses at Romance fiction is that the genre deals with love, which, for some reason, suddenly becomes frivolous if the protagonist is female and the writer is female.  We all know when it’s a tragic tale of love, it’s literary, but if it’s written by a woman, and has an optimistic, positive ending where love triumphs, it’s not creative or literary, and if the protagonist is female, then the tale’s focus on love is not creative or literary, but frivolous.

AS IF love is frivolous.

Yes, I know. The impact of this post would be so much better if I could find the bloody, frivolous quote.

In the meantime, I’ll go back to writing True to Your Service, the third book in my In Service series about a middle-aged female butler and the spy who loves her. The first book, At Your Service and a companion short story, Your Sterling Service, are out now.

2 thoughts on “Smashin’ Frivolous Myths

  1. Did you see that Entangled has started a new romance line featuring heroes and heroines in their late 30’s and 40’s? I’m so excited. I’ve already bought one of the 4 books that was released this week. The line is called “August”, (which I hate! Who comes up with these names anyway?), but at least the concept is a step forward.

    • Hi Jen,

      I know all about August! Kudos to Entangled for trying the category line. I am so very grateful for that — readers who want older leads have been left overlooked for so long, despite asking for the stories, so this IS huge. However, I want it all and I want it yesterday. I am pleased to see August saying it is now open their leads being 40 and beyond. This was NOT the case previously. Ahem, I wonder if what I have been vocal about with the agesist, the ‘who wants to read granny sex’thing changed their mind about setting an age limit, which was once 30-45. Their press release said:

      “Today, Entangled Publishing is launching a new category-romance imprint, called August, that features characters who are “more seasoned in life and love.” These heroes and heroines will be in their 30s and 40s.

      To me 30s aren’t exactly older or seasoned, so this is a little misleading. Their submission guidelines now say 40 and above and that August is now a Single title line rather than category, but teething problems. AND HELL YES I hope this imprint does take off and they push it so that it does. That’s the key here, the publisher marketing it for discoverability.

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