Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Not a Review...Sorry

I've been spending a bit too much time on the newly launched Romance Wiki site putting up pages for my favorite books, etc. And as I was digging around in the history of romance pages I found this.

If there is a perjorative term in romance fiction, "bodice ripper" is it. The term, officially, refers to a specific era in romance fiction where the hero forcibly "takes" the heroine, or rips her bodice in prelude to raping her. It is not clear why this particular scenario gained popularity, but today's romance authors and readers view the term "bodice ripper" with disgust due to the violent implications of the phrase.

There was a post a while back on Smart Bitches' web site talking about reclaiming the word bitch (as the only word in the english language that's exclusively female, their words, not mine) from it's pejorative history. If they can do it so can I. I'm a romance reader and I don't think of Bodice Ripper with disgust. I guess I always thought it was funny. Now...I haven't been lambasted in any media form for writing trashy bodice rippers lately, but it feels to me like the romance world is a little touchy on the subject. I fall pretty heavily into the 'don't-like-sex-scenes-without-pretty-overt-consent-for-both-parties' camp, but I think the term Bodice Rippers is quaint and funny. Am I wrong??

8 comments:

Wild Feng said...

Wow, MEG... you go girl! The power of blogging.

Just found this site, following the link from your daughter's. Glad to know you're all hanging in there.

Stewart said...

Um, I don't know about all this "pejorative history" stuff, but I *do* know that Anne and I are working on the plot outline for our own latest romance novel, "Never Fist a Friar", modeled after Liz Carlyle's "Never Lie to a Lady".

There are no bodices involved in this one- friars prefer robes.

In other news, we got your "gift" in the mail, and now I am going to retaliate with Barbie. You were warned, you were warned!

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

Hi Feng! Thanks for dropping in, hope you enjoy. :)

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

So you mentioned Lady Skidmore is your heroine for your NFaF novel. Hmm. Why beat around the bush (so to speak) why not just name her Lady Skidmark.

By the way I much prefer Anne's original title, Never Canoodle a Count. More panache, IMHO.

Bring that Barbie shit on, man!

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

BTW, is that wild Feng, 'P' or wild Feng 'C'?

Lyvvie said...

Nothing wrong with the passion of the moment popping a few buttons. I've never thought "Bodice ripper" was a rape phrase, it's passion. It's the absence of fumbling fingers and just get damned garment off so I can have your naked skin! kind of heat of the moment. Nevermind that she'll have to spend hours sewing that back together or try and explain to Madam Bustier how it got ripped in the first place. That's the real issue...

Kay T said...

Hi H(&A), I too never was "disgusted" by the term bodice ripper, but it was a phrase coined by people who did not read romances to describe the flavor of romances which featured heaving bosoms on the covers. Definitely perjorative from that perspective. I agree with lyvvie, though, I always thought it was just urgency, not necessarily rape. It was true, though, that in many of the 70s romances the hero and heroine got together in a rather forceful way (Rosemary Rogers comes to mind). I always thought that this was the result of having to overcome the supposed ingrained innocence of the heroine by showing her what she really wanted. She was probably just too ignorant to know what she wanted. I don't know. BUT you can always edit that page to take out the term "disgusted". :)

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

Hi Kay T,

Nice to see you here! Don't tempt me, I really thought about it. But I guess I'm willing to be brutal to someone's typo's or lack of organizational structure, their opinion is another thing altogether. Though I was sort of set back by how authoritative this particular quote sounded. :)

Glad you dropped by. Hope you find some of this stuff useful. :)