Check Out This TED Talk On Why Romance Books Are Feminist
Romance novels are feminist. This TED Talk proves it!
Romance Novels Are Feminist!
Most romance fans have heard people say that, as a genre, romance books are trashy, anti-feminist drivel. Of course, the vast majority of folks who say or think that have never even read a romance! Fans of the genre know nothing could be farther from the truth and this TED Talk on why romance novels are feminist backs us up!
Said TED Talk was presented at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay by Associate Professor of English, Writing, and Women's and Gender Studies, Jessica Van Slooten. The nearly-seventeen-minute video is an excellent dive into the way romance novels provide women a way to explore their desires and fantasies.
Too often, women who enjoy reading about relationships and love are seen as one-dimensional, airheads, or worse. Van Slooten touches on this when she relays a story about her love for Ally McBeal and the negative reactions when she voiced her love for the show.
But the relationships we have in our lives--both romantic and otherwise--play a huge part in our lives and there's nothing wrong with enjoying reading about the different ways our relationships impact our lives. I don't think I've ever read a romance that didn't include interesting relationships the main characters and their friends, siblings, parents, coworkers, and more. This is all on top of the central romantic relationship, which are often nuanced and compelling. There is also the huge focus romance novels have on career and family, things we all deal with.
In the TED Talk, Van Slooten talks about how many romance novels go beyond stereotypical assumptions about the genre and also focus on race, sexuality, gender and gender identity, class, ability, and more impact a person's life. Especially modern romance novels. She brings up Alyssa Cole during the TED Talk, discussing the various ways characters' identities intersect in her books and reflect the modern world we live in.
Romance does a lot for it's readers. It's escapism and entertainment, but for many of us, it's also a connection to who we are. A Black queer friend of mine once told me she liked reading romance because she can find more books featuring Black queer characters than she can in other genres, though romance still has a long way to go just as all genres do. I even wrote about how reading romance helped be accept my queer identity, allowing me to finally find a bit of inner peace after a long internal struggle.
While I won't tell you what to do, I definitely recommend you check out Van Slooten's video on why romance novels are feminist. You won't regret it!
Let's Keep the Conversation Going
What do you think of the video? Do you agree with Jessica Van Slooten's conclusion?