I sort of lost it a bit on another romance blog the other night. I reached my limit of tolerance for the wilfully ignorant and irresponsible trends favoured by both romance writers and readers at the moment, and said something I knew I would regret in the morning!
But eh, it’s said now.
I’ve seen it discussed in a few places recently (also, I’ve discussed it) that too many romance authors couldn’t really care less about the realities of whatever ethnicity or nationality they give their characters, and that these people are interchangeable. Hence your category romances where the Russian is the Sheikh is the Greek tycoon is the Italian stallion (by the way, did you know Sylvester Stallone is part Ukrainian – weird, huh!).
I think this is why there is so much insensitivity in dealing with major social issues and major world issues in so many books. Nobody bothers to care.
If you want the world to take the romance genre seriously, then you have to take the world seriously!
Russian militant (left) and arms dealer romance heroes are SO 2009! How about romantic Islamic State heroes for a change?!
Yep, I’ve gone on about this before, and just because I bet you’re not sick of it yet (ha!) I have a post about misogyny in the genre coming up soon. Pencil it into your diaries, folks! You don’t get Man Candy posts on this romance blog! Well, not unless you get turned on by Kim Jong-un…
Three things that are totally IN when it comes to romance fiction at the moment seem to be misogynistic heroes, criminal heroes and heroes who work for murderous regimes.
And I can TOTALLY see why men in that third category are considered sexy by US readers in particular. Because you know, these people just love America so much:
Saint Petersburg in March. And US flag doormats at a shopping centre in Moscow at the moment. X
And it’s that last one I’m addressing here, because, authors!
Boy DO I EVER have some story ideas for you!
Nobody can get enough of Russian billionaires. It’s a real turn-on to fantasise about sex with the very men financing the invasions of their neighbouring countries AND terrorism in the Middle East. There’s a reason for all those worldwide sanctions!
Moscow last year.
But you know where else you can find billionaires backing Stalinist regimes?
Where are all the sexy North Korean billionaire romances?? Authors: you could be writing these!
The Russian spy is definitely all the rage, and has been for ages. You know what other dictatorship has lots of spies doing bad things?
You guessed it: North Korea again! It’s an untapped market of sexy operatives!
But really, there are so many unused KGB/Kremlin potential plotlines authors haven’t given to their spy romance heroes, you don’t even need to leave Moscow just yet.
Like the sexy spies who poison other world leaders when they don’t agree with Putin:
(Made it small, because seeing what happened to him upsets me.)
And the oh-so romantic spies who torture and drown Ukrainian teenagers:
R.I.P. Yury Popravko
And the spies who execute opposition leaders in the middle of Red Square:
I can totally see why so many people write and read romance books about these guys…
Now, we have all those other sexy guys with guns from these shady regimes. The military guys.
Those militants and arms dealers romance writers tell us are swoon-worthy? Apart from the millions of refugees in Ukraine:
There’s another country where right now a militant regime has created millions of refugees: Syria!
The Syrian terrorist romance market is totally underused.
And, finally, speaking of terrorists operating from and for the Kremlin:
“Orthodox or Death” Christian terrorists. They also drive tanks with “Orthodox Jihad” written on them…
Well, the world just has an endless supply of terrorists – no need to limit yourself to the former USSR. Gosh darn it, but romance writers are ignoring the poor guys in other parts of the world when they’re creating their romance heroes! How about jihadists in other places? The Taliban? ISIS? Where are these books and why is nobody writing them?
As you can see, I’m a little over deliberate, selective ignorance of real world events in the romance community in order to romanticise things that should NEVER be sanitised. Take some responsibility when choosing your romance heroes!