Feminism and Erotica

I’ve been reading a bunch of erotica lately. I’m on a kick. Sometimes I read tons and tons of paranormal romance/urban fantasy. Sometimes I read a shit ton historical romance, one after the other. And yes, “shit ton” is a technical term. And others, I read nothing but classics for stretches. Right now, I’m stuck in erotica playland. And before you even guess, it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey. I read the first paragraph and decided…NOPE. I couldn’t get beyond the writing. There is better erotica out there! I promise.

Anyway, I’ve read some Maya Banks’ Surrender Trilogy and the Breathless Trilogy, as well as Kresley Cole’s Game Maker series over the last two weeks (when I should instead be writing…but I digress). And I have to say that Kresley Cole’s didn’t infuriate me in the same way that the Maya Banks’ books did.

I understand that there is a whole movement for dominance and BDSM. I even understand the appeal. What someone likes in their own bedroom is their own business. I won’t judge you, I swear. You can be a very powerful woman and want nothing more than to come home and have your partner take control. It’s appealing. I wouldn’t call anyone’s feminism into question for that desire. Your kinks are your own. We all have them. My problem with some of these is the emotional corruption that feels almost slimy. There were too many woman in these books with “Daddy Issues” looking for an alpha male to dominate them. In one instance, the woman was homeless and for me, the entire book I questioned whether she really wanted what was happening to her or if she just wanted to eat on a regular basis.

Maybe I’m reading too much into these books and plot lines. However, it seems to me that by framing the situation in the way that some of these books were – it does a disservice to that life style. Because each of the heroines caught up participating in dominance relationships had some type of failure in the male role model category, it makes it appear that a person who did not have these same circumstances wouldn’t choose to play dominance games. That’s not true. Just once, I would like to see a woman who has 0 emotional scars, who is confident in herself and her self-worth, live this type of lifestyle in erotica. That’s why the Kresley Cole books were so much better. I felt like, yes – these women were in dire circumstances but they came from loving homes and the shit that had happened to them happened while in adulthood and they were more capable of dealing with the consequences. I understand that there has to be some conflict in novels or else there’s nothing to drive the plot. I’m a writer, I get that. I also understand that it’s not the author’s job to be an advocate for a particular lifestyle choice. All I’m saying is that we can make the heroines not so emotionally damaged so that it doesn’t feel as skeezy.

What do you think???

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