Saturday, April 12, 2014

Love and the Science Fiction Action Heroine

I'm over at Fantasy Cafe today to take part in the always awesome Women in SFF month! As you might surmise from the title, I'm taking on the subject of romance in Science Fiction and the Devi books in particular. Here's a sample...
"There’s a deeply rooted belief in our culture that falling in love and admitting it makes a person weak. I can understand the logic. Loving makes us deeply vulnerable, and even the euphemisms for it—softer feelings, going mushy, melting for someone—are all in the language of surrender. That’s scary stuff for a character like Devi who is so invested in being strong and invulnerable, and I understand how a reader could view my decision as an author to have Devi succumb to these softer emotions as a betrayal. It doesn’t help that falling in love is also seen as a stereotypically female weakness, making it a double punch to my strong leading lady. So yeah, I get it. I also think it’s wrong."
Fun huh? Go on over and read the whole post! To celebrate, Orbit Books is also giving away a full set of the Paradox trilogy, so head on over for your chance to win, and I really hope you enjoy the post!

- R

3 comments:

Meg said...

As it won't let me comment on the original post...:

Hi Rachel,

Another interesting post, as per usual! This is a point I've never particularly ruminated, but I think it's really thought provoking. The perception that love makes you weak can be really hard to overcome!

I'm currently trying to write a female character who is wilful and headstrong and I find it difficult to marry that with her growing affections for another character. I absolutely don't want her turning into a swooning ninny! I dread people picking up my story and, when they get to this part, switch off, thinking "Ew, feelings," and all the rest of it.

It's sad that people have these stereotypes that close minds to genres that can actually be amazingly well crafted. Could the rather dislikeable portrayal of women in the media (I'm thinking romantic movies here, or hero-and-his-woman type movies) as weak and feeble damsels in distress have further harmed the image of 'romance' as a genre in the modern (supposedly equal) society? :-/

Also, just wondered what you thought - love and lust are two seperate things. Love is seen as a weakness... what of lust? Is that more/less 'weak' than love?

Rachel Aaron said...

Hey Meg!!

This is a great question. Unfortunately, I think love and lust are both seen as weaknesses in women with lust being the more socially acceptable one. Looking back, that might be part of the reason I made Devi so in your face tough and "I don't care I'm going to have fun"--if you address it right at the beginning, no one can call you out for it later.

Ultimately, though, I really do think these cultural stereotypes can be overcome with strong writing and well rounded characters. I think it does help to keep the stereotypes in mind so you know what expectation gaps you're going to have to fill in, though.

Good luck with your book. Hope this helps!!

- R

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