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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guest post: "Romance & erotica: A reflection of society & women's role within it?" by Jane Hunt

Today I'm excited to present the second in a series of guest posts about the value of romance and erotica. Today's post is written by Jane Hunt, author of paranormal/fantasy romance novels, The Dragon Legacy (available now) and The Revenge Masquerade (The Dragon Legacy #2; coming this winter). That's right: She's written dragon romances! :D

Read on for a historical and personal perspective on the relationship between women's sexuality and the romance/erotica genres.

"Romance and erotica - a reflection of society and women's role within it?" by Jane Hunt

It's lovely to be part of this discussion about the value of the romance and erotica genres and why it is worthwhile to read and write it.

I have read romance since my teenage years and have been writing it on and off since then. Now a full time author, I write sensual romance in the paranormal/fantasy and suspense/thriller genres and avidly read and review all types of romance and erotica.

Romance novels and erotica have always been a reflection of society and its perception of women's role within it. Men ridiculed romance novels in Regency and Victorian times because they threatened the male dominated establishment. It's easier to deride what you fear and do not understand rather encourage and invite open discussion. The women who wrote and read these first romances saw a different role for women in society and the bedroom; the concept of the alpha male tamed and changed by a woman. They threatened the Regency and Victorian society norm that sex was man's right and a woman's duty. This stereotype continued into the second half of the twentieth century.

I grew up in England during the sixties and seventies. There is a notable difference in attitudes towards young women and their sexual relationships then and now in 21st century England.

My morality was called into question by numerous small minded individuals when I wanted to live with my boyfriend because 'good' girls like me didn't do that. So after a couple of years 'living in sin' as it was colloquially dubbed I got married at 21. Luckily for me my partner and I were prepared to work at all aspects of our relationship and we're still together many years later but others were less fortunate.

The escalating divorce rate of the eighties onwards must in part be attributed to young women getting married to preserve their reputations often to the wrong person. The romance stories I read at this time reflected this prejudice and sex outside of the marital home was absent.

The exception to this was the 'blockbuster' now more aptly named 'bonkbuster' novels of the seventies onwards. These novels looked at romantic and sexual relationships from a new perspective. The women although often from poor or abusive backgrounds were strong and career driven. They proactively looked for what they wanted from men rather than waiting to be asked. These books were far more sexually explicit than the usual romance of the time. The settings were glitzy and often depraved but they provided escapism and role models for women and most were runaway successes.

I've read all genres romance from sweet to erotica and my preference lies with sensual romances with strong heroines determined to get what they want even if they have to fight their own fears and insecurities. I also prefer heroes who let their emotions show and appreciate that the man isn't always the strong one in a romantic relationship. I'm all for escapism and that's why I read and write romance but who wants to escape to a place full of dominant men who never falter or believe they can be wrong?

In the two paranormal romances I have written my heroines are sometimes naive but never weak or subservient and they reflect both myself when I was younger and many women I have met over the years.

The current variety in romance and erotica reflects society's diversity and the wide range in both age and beliefs of its readers. The popularity and immediacy of the E book has allowed romance readers to sample all kinds of books and if the book you want to read isn't there you can always write it.

Romance and erotica are important fictional genres for writers because they provide a platform for self expression. They are also a way for likeminded individuals to connect through book clubs and on line groups to share ideas, beliefs and receive support. The rise of self published books in this genre is significant because it allows more ideas to reach more people, without the filter of multinational publishers.

Thanks for inviting me to express my ideas Jeanie.

My pleasure, Jane! Thank you so much for your contribution to this discussion. :)

Ways to connect with author Jane Hunt:
Jane Hunt Writer Website
Jane Hunt Facebook
Jane Hunt Writer Facebook Page
The Dragon Legacy Series Facebook Page
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Facebook Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Jane Hunt Pinterest
Jane Hunt Google+
My Books Google+ Page
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Google+ Page
Jane Hunt Linked In
Jane Hunt Tumblr

Where to buy The Dragon Legacy:
Crimson Frost Books
Amazon.com Amazon UK
All Romance E-books
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for inviting me to participate in this discussion Jeanie. I look forward to the other posts in the series. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Jane. I look forward to them, too! :)

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