Basically for the past ten to fifteen years there has been a new women’s movement. I don’t mean that women have started to protest more or lobby the government in mass (maybe they have but I haven’t noticed a big shift), what I mean is the outing of female philosophy. Again, I don’t mean more females are studying philosophy at school, I mean how women view the world is FINALLY having an impact. People are taking notice.
I will admit we still have long way to go...baby, but it is picking up momentum. Why am I talking about this, well the race riots in Baltimore have made me think about it. My husband and I had a discussion about the riots last night. I explained to him there is much more to it then fixing one police department in one city. How people view others is the real issue. That it goes deep down into our psyche. He offered up typical ideas on how the police department could ‘fix’ the problem. I just laughed and shook my head. Because I know what it’s like to be repressed or harmed based on my appearance. There is no one way, or two ways or even twelve ways to fix the problem of hate. We have to fix ourselves before we can even think to help others.
But, I am not here to discuss race relations in the mid-Atlantic region of the US or elsewhere, I am here to discuss half the world population and how they are just starting to get noticed.
Let’s jump back in time to a little less than seventeen years ago. The year, 1998, the day June 6th. The television channel, HBO. On this day in entertainment history a revolution began but no one realized it. A show aired for the first time and a whole bunch of people took notice, especially women. It was called Sex and the City. Not since Madonna strutted across the MTV stage and then proceeded to hump said stage have women been like, “I wanna be like that!”
For the first time ever women on the small screen were talking about sex, openly and with each other. They weren’t talking in euphemisms and then batting their eyes while giggling. They were flat out saying it like it is. All the sexy, dirty and silly stuff that woman do in fact talk about, was on screen for women, and men if they wanted to watch, to see.
It was a hit. Sex and the City and The Sopranos made HBO ‘the’ cable channel to watch. Now, we automatically assume HBO is going to have edgy, quality programming, but back then no one thought that. So, a family-based show, though not really family friendly, and a female dominated show made HBO what it is today.
People, and especially businesses (mainly in entertainment) were noticing that women weren’t just working hard to make it in a man’s world, they were making ‘the man’ money. While the emergence of other female dominated programming from that show was slow, other things happened that changed other industries. Yes, I am going there because it has to be said, Fifty Shades of Grey. It was the book that changed, not only romance, but the entire publishing industry. Suddenly, authors held power or at least, a lot more power than before. This article references how the power shifted because of romance and what affect it had on the author.
Now I am not going to go into an argument about whether Fifty Shades of Grey is just Fan Fiction or Erotic Romance. This is not the blog post to discuss that. I am discussing how that book, by an Indie Author (at the time) EL James, changed publishing as a whole. Her book and self-publishing at Amazon put the power into the readers hand and, especially, the authors hands. It seemed reader’s wanted to read dark erotic books and not always light, fluffy stuff that seemed to line ‘bestseller’ book shelves at retail chains.
One could argue it was timing and had more to do with Amazon making it easier for the author to self publish. But, then I ask, why that book? Why did Fifty Shades of Grey become a megahit and make the author a household name and not some typical male genre book? I can tell you why, because women make up half the population on this Earth, that’s why. As I told my husband a few weeks ago when he got upset that some white guy on twitter had to quit his job because he made a tweet years ago when he was drunk in college that came across as racist, that the internet is color blind. The internet doesn’t care if you are black or white or female or male. The internet likes what it likes and hates what it hates. So, the internet loved Fifty Shades of Grey and the internet didn’t care that it was written by a woman for a mainly female audience.
You may ask why I am writing this ridiculously long blog post about the new female revolution. As many of you know, and some don’t, I write romances. You know, the billion dollar genre that gets no respect. Yeah, that one. This blog post complains about that too. I have only told a few people that I write and what I write because of the tremendous lack of respect the industry gets. Just about every person in my husband’s immediate family have published books. Scientific books, poetry, etc. They are authors and academics with lots of degrees and I keep this part of my life a secret from them because I believe the negative views of my genre. Not that they would look down on me. They are very nice open-minded people, but I drank the negative kool-aid. But, you know what? No more. I’m coming out to the people in my life, my other Facebook account and everyone. I will hold my head high and tell them that I write in the genre that makes the most money by far for the publishing world. That I write about happily ever afters. That I write, gasp, about sex.
If someone is embarrassed for me then that is their problem, not mine. Then they have an ignorant and distorted view of something, that at the end of the day, is meant just to entertain people. It says more about that person with the problem than it does about me. I’m not trying to find the cure for cancer, I’m just writing stories and working on my craft. Everyone has something that they love to do, and this is it for me.
So, if you read romance or write it, I hope you also hold your head high when discussing the books you love. There are some amazingly talented writers out there, who happen to write romance. Share that knowledge with the world because they are in dire need of education.