Monday, December 5, 2011

Why I stopped reading

I no longer read romance books with men and women in them. It’s not that I’m not heterosexual but I can’t stand reading the M/F stories that are out there now because I don’t identify with the women in these books. I’m not being too picky and I’m not bashing women, I think women get bashed enough as it is and I think most authors of M/F books aren’t helping. There are some authors who write M/F that I will read everything they put out. Every Janet Evanovich book that comes out with Stephanie Plum as the main character I’ll read but I probably won’t pick up another M/F romance book again for a long time.

M/F romance books seem to have this unfortunate habit of making the female stupid or a total bitch. And I don’t just mean a little stupid I mean a lot stupid. The woman does totally idiotic actions with stupid reasons backing them up. They are up one second then down the next, it’s like they all need a dose of Prozac to even them out.

Of the M/F book’s I’ve read recently the female’s emotions are so whiplashy that it makes me sick to follow what they are doing. I can’t believe that women are writing these books. Do they really think women are that stupid? It pisses me off that the women in these books are written to act like idiots. They freak out, have sex with anyone, sabotage their lives and otherwise act like total buffoons all for weak reasons and threadbare excuses. Their motivation is thin and it totally ruins the book for me.

M/F books have gotten so cliché that it’s like the blonde girl who runs upstairs in a horror movie only to be cut in two by the scary killer. Why are women authors sinking so low that they are creating characters who are too stupid to live or too bitchy to survive.

Unfortunately some M/F romance authors are beginning to write M/M books that have characters that are nothing more than chicks with dicks. The men act like women instead of men.

I know there are all types of people out there. I’m female and I don’t necessarily act like other women. I hate shopping, I approach subjects logically, and I’m much better with money and directions than my husband. I know some women couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag with a map in hand but there are plenty of men who suck at directions too. Men and women have issues with balancing their checkbook and men and women have issues with depression, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about men written into stories that are so feminine that they have thoughts women have and do actions women would do.

Most M/M books are great. I love GA Hauser stories and Laura Harner writes awesome books about men too. Both Laura and GA are women. They do a great job of writing men into their stories with solid motivation. I also love the total male feel of Damon Suede’s books. Hot Head was so full of masculine characters and it was awesome. The men in GA’s, Laura’s and Damon’s stories don’t always make the best choices but their motivation is true. These authors don’t make their characters into caricatures.

Most M/F books the motivation is so weak it’s pathetic I can’t stand reading them anymore. I hope that more authors start writing believable strong women who aren’t so stupid that they make you want to throw up or so bitchy that you hope they die before page five.

If you are reading this and you write M/F then take a good look at your characters and see if they need a does of Prozac. Characters don’t need to be caricatures. It’s fiction, not a soap opera. If you write M/M books then don’t write a chick with a dick. Men act different than women. When you write male characters make sure they are actually male characters not a female character with a penis.


GA Hauser said...

wow- great post! Thanks for the wonderful praise. I think it's because I have always identified with men, not women. No stereo-typing here- GA

Jean said...

If you're reading high heat levels, then yes, I agree with you, plot is dispensable, it' the sex the readers are after. If you're reading lower heat levels then I don't agree with you. Those of us who write sensual, spice or sweet romances focus on the plot and characterization first. The sex follows naturally from some deeper connection. I'll gladly send you my two books in my Now and Forever series and I challenge you to say the women are dumb and/or weak.

Kate Hill said...

Interesting topic. Personally I don't identify with most female characters in heterosexual romance books, particularly contemporaries and romantic comedies, but I'm sure there are some women who do. I know "masculine" women and "feminine" men, but the truth is I don't like using labels. Each person is an individual. I've read books in every heat level that I like and others I don't. Some erotic romances have great plots and characters and some mild heat level stories are lacking all around and vice versa. I'm an avid reader of GLBT romance, but for me it's more about whether or not the characters have strengths and weaknesses I can relate to or qualities I admire rather than how masculine or feminine they are. I've known too many people in my lifetime who blur gender lines. As both a reader and a writer I'm glad there's a variety of books because in life we're all so different and it's nice to read about people similar to ourselves. This is just me, but I don't ask others to change their style and preferences to suit me. I shop around until I find what I like then stick with it.

Jen (Scarlet Wonderland) said...

I was thinking the exact same thing the other night... there are a lot of great chic lit writers out there but unfortunately a lot of them make the woman needy and a bit stupid/the fella a total arsehole who seems to actually hate women in general the woman a cold-hearted bitch - where's the perspective??xx

Sara York said...

Gosh Kate, you said it so well. Everyone is different and as writers we should try to build characters instead of sticking with the cardboard description with no reason why they behave the way they do.

Jen, sadly that's what I'm seeing too.

Thanks GA and Jean.

Sevastian Winters said...

My recommend? Write the book you want to read!

Ruth Madison said...

Very good points.

Liberty said...

I have noticed many of the same things. Many women I know have stopped reading romance and have switched to SciFi or mystery to find intelligent women.

Thank you for verbalizing this issue.

Sara York said...

I'm glad it's not just me. Maybe the romance writers and publishers will take note and stop writing women like this.

Violetta Vane said...

"When you write male characters make sure they are actually male characters not a female character with a penis."

While this may not be your intention, judgements like this, and using phrases like "chicks with dicks", are deeply disrespectful of transgender, intersex and genderqueer people.

Some women happen to have penises. They aren't punchlines; they're human beings. And in real life, some men act or look like women, while some women act or look like men!

As a fellow m/m reader I understand your dissatisfaction with a lot of M/F.
But let's encourage diversity and stick to criticizing characterization and plot... not demanding adherence to artificial gender roles.

Sara York said...

Wow Violetta - So totally not even the same subject matter. I'm talking about in FICTION books people writing male characters who aren't really male characters. The writer is just following a trend and taking a story that they wrote as a M/F story and changing the female character to male. It has nothing to do with transgender people.

Louisa Bacio said...


Enjoyed your posts, and definitely food for thought. Some of my fav. quick reads are the Harlequin "Italian lover" ones ... some do have strong females; however, so many seem "forced" into marriage because of the circumstances. Of course, the men love them, but it takes a lot for them to admit it. Ah, well ...