Me Too movement, Romance fiction -- Effect of Me Too movement on, Women in literature, Publishers and Publishing, United States--Social conditions
Romance has been a mainstream genre for centuries that has evolved and redefined itself throughout its existence. Often, especially in the last fifty years, readers of romance, and the genre itself, face the stigma of only being for bored housewives and therefore less legitimate than other fiction works. This is due to several factors: how controversial the content can be when it comes to consent in intimate moments, that the storyline can disturb the status quo of a patriarchal society, and that the female protagonist and her needs are considered more important than her male counterpart. Because of this stigma, a counterresponse has formed within the romance community validating the genre and its readers' intelligence which is often attacked. One example of this counter-response is Smart Bitches Trashy Books created by founders Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan who wanted to offer a safe space for readers to express their love and also critiques of the romance genre. One of the larger conversations that occurs within the Smart Bitches Trashy Books community is that of consent in romance and how the history of the genre is very flawed when it comes to this matter.
Since the 'me too.' Movement, started in 2006 by Tarana Burke, regained popularity in 2017, many readers have taken a hard look at just how much the romance genre has really evolved when it comes to the matter of obvious consent and sexual violence. Formed in 2005, Smart Bitches Trashy books was created just one year before and thus became a great marker for the evolution of the romance genre in terms of consent since the 'me too.' Movement began. This paper examines the development of the topic in the romance genre through the writings of the staff of Smart Bitches Trashy Books as the 'me too.' Movement grew alongside it.
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Williams, Mary, "Consent Is Sexy: A Look Into the Influence the ‘Me Too.’ Movement Had On the Romance Genre Through Smart Bitches Trashy Books" (2021). Book Publishing Final Research Paper. 63.