The Harlequin Blog Celebrates National Women’s Month
Today is International Women’s Day. In fact, it’s National Women’s Month in America! To celebrate, the Harlequin Blog is going to feature a month of blog posts that reflect on how we in the romance world celebrate the achievements made by strong, empowered women.
I’m kicking the day off with my own reflections, but check back throughout the month to read posts from our editors, fellow bloggers and friends!
I love my man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me.
—Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)
I studied Mary Wollstonecraft’s treatise on the rights of women in university. Back then, it was just a mouldy old text written by a poet’s wife (although she did also give birth to one of my favourite writers—Mary Shelley!). I didn’t give it much thought other than, “Wow, was she ever ahead of her time!”
Now, I see it in the context of my own life and my work. My favourite romance novels have a touch of Mary’s wisdom in them. Because, if there is anything I cannot abide, it is a heroine who cannot stand up for herself. You know the one—I like to call her the wet noodle because all she does is flop around!
But it didn’t take Mary’s words to get that; I think I’ve always known in my heart what sort of heroine—real or fiction—I’d relate to. The obvious indicators came from books and television: I rooted for the Jessica Rabbits, the Elizabeth Bennets…the Bridget Jones’s! The romantic heroines I have always admired have been fearless and tenacious. And no matter what they might look like, what obstacles are thrown in their way, even in the darkest moments, they have always stayed true to themselves. Critics may deride the message of a romance novel as fantasy, but they’re wrong. We read books that reflect our lives, our characteristics. I’m proud to say that I read romance novels.
The only difference is now I get to help sell these stories. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I always have a suggestion to make if they’re looking for a book; and it often involves a really cool heroine who knows who she is and doesn’t take any guff.
I know that there are countless women’s issues in the world that still need addressing today, but I hope you’ll take a moment and reflect just a little bit on the amount of progress we’ve already made. Harlequin romance exists because of women who read and write great stories. Without them, where would we get our happily-ever-afters?