Crystal Ball Time: Romance Novels in 20 Years

There has been a lot of discussion regarding feminism vis a vis romance vis a vis sex.  DearAuthor had a great discussion that raised a lot of questions and spawned a lot of passion debates.

When I was in my 20s, I wanted my own software company, a Red Porsche (911 aka the BubbleButt, not 944), and a maid.  When I was in my 30s, I wanted to see the world, have kids and have a maid.  Now, in the 40s, I actually only care about the maid.  (THAT WAS A JOKE.  KIDS, DH, I LOVE YOU MADLY).  I have always believed that a romance novel was a fairly empowering device on many levels.  In most cases, it is the heroine who is the catalyst for changing the hero.  In the best sorts of romance novels, the heroine is a force to be reckoned with.

Kathleen as CEO!

I have read and enjoyed romance novels that I wouldn’t consider empowering, the ones where the hero is all-powerful and the heroine is merely a lamp-post in the story.  By and large, I can’t glom a lot of stories like this, because eventually they do start pissing me off.   What’s fun in one book, starts making me self-analyze in Book 2, and by Book 3, I start questioning why I are still reading this and if it makes me a bad person, much like watching a Scream movie marathon.  HOWEVER, I think the reasons I can’t do a glom is because that in the 20s, I wanted a Red Porsche and my own software company.   Inherently, I recognize the disconnect between my own life goals (at one time) and what I’m reading on the paper and yes, it will begin to bug me.

So, the flipside of this is, if I didn’t have those particular life goals in my 20s, if instead I craved a more traditional life, a family, a husband, I don’t think I would question anything because there is no disconnect in who I am.

As people, we tend to grativate toward newspapers, blogs, friends, who reinforce what we believe is right.  One of the worst parts of the Internet is that we can always find newspapers, blogs, or online friends who reinforce what we believe is right, and we forget that we are all different.

Several years ago, I was talking to my dermatologist and she asked if what I did ever became boring, writing the same story over and over again.  I explained to her that everyone’s story is different.  Each person has a unique love story, because while we may share subsets of belief systems: the same set of goals (i.e. a Red Porsche), the same set of fears (sharks), or the same things that piss us off (Congress), the way these pieces come together is always guaranteed to be unique.

So, while I don’t worry too much about the feminist-anti-feminist mores of romance novels, I do wonder how things like this will shape the future.  Woman have surpassed men In Advanced Degrees.  From the HuffPost:

Among adults 25 and older, 10.6 million in the U.S. who earned a master’s degree or higher were women, compared to 10.5 million men. Women, however, still lag men in subcategories such as business, science and engineering.

In terms of finishing college, women surpass men in earning bachelor’s degrees, by 1.5 million.

In about twenty years from now, sitting in corporate america, women have better resumes than men.  In about twenty years from now, we will see a lot more women in top jobs.  In about twenty years from now, little girls growing up will see a lot more women CEOS and they will be wanting Red Porsches as well.

What I do wonder is in twenty years from now we will see more romance readers wanting career-oriented women (i.e. ‘that’s my world; I want to read about it’) or less (i.e. ‘Calgon, take me away!’).    So, what do you think?

In twenty years, do you think readers will want more career-oriented heroines or will they want less?

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