It seems I’m going to write about politics for the second time on this blog. I never imagined my country would embrace demagoguery and hate. I haven’t been able to sleep the last couple of nights. Last night I got up and watched The Devil and Miss Jones, a delightful Jean Arthur comedy. I couldn’t help noticing that it was made in 1941, when darkness had descended on Europe and Asia. Then, America was the last best hope of freedom-loving people. Now where does that hope lie?
I’ve always been a fan of dystopian fiction. Little did I imagine I’d be living it. I was thinking about three of my favorite dystopian novels, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Hunger Games. They all feature young women who appear powerless against the dark forces in their societies. The heroines find the strength and resilience through their own courage and through their relationships with others. Entering these dark days, I plan to use them as role models. Hopefully, we’ll all emerge into the light as stronger and better people.
I try to separate my writing life from my politics, but recently I’ve felt like our presidential election has taken too many unprecedented turns to ignore it. When a video was released where Donald Trump boasted about forcibly kissing and grabbing the pussies of women he found attractive, many people of all political stripes condemned him, but there were also those who dismissed his words as “locker room talk.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised that some men-and women-leapt to Trump’s defense. For me, one of the most surprising and confusing counterattacks was that women shouldn’t be disturbed by Trump’s words because they bought so many copies of 50 Shades of Grey. This goes back to the idea that when women express their sexuality, through reading erotica, wearing a revealing top, or perhaps even admitting they enjoy sex, they’re inviting rape and deserve what they get.
Julia Nelson, the heroine of my erotic romance Goddess, enjoys having power in a sexual relationship. That’s what I generally like writing. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with portraying BDSM, or enjoying it in real life. It doesn’t mean you’re inviting strangers to tie you up and rape you, or even kiss you. If a woman wants to relinquish control in a relationship, that’s her choice. When a man demands control regardless of what a woman wants, that’s assault.
So, please, let’s continue to enjoy erotic romance, and let’s speak up for the rights of women everywhere to control their bodies however they choose.