I think the romance genre is full to the brim with damn-near carbon copies of male-sexed characters. Personally I feel the need to do something different with my writing.
There’s a difference between writing ‘unrealistically’ (like corny, sexist, and/or overdone romance novels, half-baked or overcooked heroes, powerplay and cliche male characters, etc.) as opposed to conceptualizing realistically and idealizing a little. Its called originality.
None of my experiences with most men have been very positive. I admit that right off. Growing up in a single-parent household with my mother and two other siblings and not having met my father until I was eighteen, I believe, has prevented me from having one of those super daddy’s girl complexes and that it has disillusioned me to idealizing men romantically and seeing them as heroes or the means to my completion. I think I’m better to myself for it and I’m definitely not sitting on my ass waiting for some man to come and ‘complete me’. (Although sometimes I trick myself into thinking it would be nice from time to time–fleeting fancy.)
Its not that I don’t believe in soulmates; I believe that two or more people can be more together than they are apart and it seems like some folks are just destined. I also believe, on the other hand, that there aren’t many people who actually need someone else to make them whole–they just think they do because that’s what they’ve been taught, especially young women and girls. Look at Sex in the City as a pop culture reference, which is totally several seasons of a group of white middleclass women looking to be ‘completed’.
As a artist who writes romantica, I believe that maybe the only reason the same type of men exist in such a quantity in the world and in literature is partly because we keep writing, acting, and speaking them into existence. If that’s only true in the smallest way, its still true. For writers, maybe if we ‘conceptualize’ realistically, as opposed to replicating archetypes of male-sexed characters, we can ‘sort of write them into reality’ in more of a variety.
Maybe this is just to airy and intellectual! This is all coming to me as I begin to write more gender queer male characters that I find very beautiful and attractive physically and in terms of personality and spirit.
Still lost? I’ll be brief then.
‘Man’ usually means something very specific and limiting. Maybe if we loosen, or dare I say, lose the concept of a ‘man’, we can move towards presenting a person, a human being, with a full range of emotions and experiences.
I think an ideal like this changes romance as we know it. Maybe romance writers are completely portraying male characters realistically but why should people with broader tastes than the usual brawny man-aristocrat-sensual-lover cutouts settle for the stuff the market is feeding us?