It’s the third Saturday of the month! And that means we have a special reader guest, here to share her (or his, if/when that happens) thoughts about romance novels, or anything. Stacie’s here with a really interesting topic, so stick around! (Oh also? Stacie is freaking awesome she sent me this post way back in April. April 11, to be exact. We also scheduled this post in like :X January or February of 2011. I had to convince her to be a guest blogger. Although you might remember her from her 2011 RT Recap!)
Also, both Stacie and I would like to note, that the covers shared here are romances that don’t have thin bashing. They’re books Stacie enjoyed.
Oh No They Didn’t!
That was the sound of a trade paperback being thrown across the room. I don’t think I had ever done such a thing before. After all, a trade paperback isn’t cheap. But I did just that a few months ago.
Why would I do this?
Buckle up, Buttercup. I’m about to rant your pants off.
It is no secret that romances have historically had a problem with body shaming female characters. The majority of that body shaming has been targeted at overweight heroines. During the course of the story the unhappy/unloved/virgin character sheds her shameful pounds and ends up falling madly in love with her hero. Yes, she had to change her appearance to be worthy of the hero. This was very common in older romances.
In the past several years there have been many authors that wrote curvy heroines who were happy with themselves. The heroes who fell for these strong women loved them for their curves. This has been a wonderful way to empower a body type that had been vilified in the past.
Unfortunately, some authors emphasize the hero’s love for the voluptuous heroine by mentioning how disgusted he is by thin women. The words used to describe the thinner body type are almost always negative. Skinny, bony, anorexic (don’t get me started) are some of the adjectives used. The book that I launched across the room had a secondary hero that described thin women as “skeletons with skin.”
Full disclosure time. I am thin. VERY thin. I have body issues like any other woman. Probably more. Paying $15 for a romance that basically tells me I’m disgusting does not make me a happy camper. This isn’t the first time an author has made a crack about my body type but this instance was the most shocking. It took several days before I could start reading the rest of the book (which I ended up enjoying BTW).
Thin shaming has become more common as the popularity of curvy heroines has grown. Is it necessary? Do authors need to put thin women down in order to make curvy women better? Why can’t it be okay to be one or the other? Why is one good and the other bad? Authors, if you wouldn’t describe your curvy heroine as portly or rotund then why is it okay to describe the thin character as skinny or bony? All of those adjectives are insulting. You do realize that thin women read romance too, right? Why alienate part of your audience? Why not celebrate all body types?
I had an epiphany about a month ago. I had been on an m/m romance binge and I finally figured out why. I could read an m/m romance without having to keep my guard up. I wasn’t worried that I was going to read something hurtful. How sad is that?
This is one of my pet peeves in romance lately. What are yours? What would make you so mad that you would turn your book into a projectile? Is there a topic that pushes your buttons?