So while I'd intended to include talking about the majority of romance (across the mainstream, erotic romance, across many sub genres) being women, I was intrigued by how a conversation about gender happened in a BDSM book group I'm in as I was sitting down to write this. I'd been noticing a BDSM book written by a male author, or at least a male pen name, and I'd remembered critical comments from BDSM lifestylers against another male author-written BDSM book; I asked because I wanted to make sure I wasn't confusing the two "men." However in the comments I received, it quickly revered off into a gender thing about men being okay but different as far as writing romance. I had to laugh because my judgment had never been about the author's gender; it was just what I noticed about him. Now moving away from this guy, I think on various argumentative articles I've read recently- sadly I couldn't find any links to share in this post. But I know quite a few of us had been sharing and commenting on articles recently written by men criticizing romance for a variety of reasons, like it being not serious fiction. I've also recently skimmed one article that was talking about how romance being something primarily written for and about women means that it's feminist literature. Beyond my complex feelings about feminism, I struggle with the female-focus of romance because often "women like me" don't appear in romance. Romance including and/or focused on GLBTQI people is still really too small a portion of the genre.
Now that was pretty serious, I'm going to go a bit earthy. I'm guessing that I've already commented on this before on my blog, but I have to again here as it fits. http://www.blushingbooks.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=2718 I remember various comments that Renee Rose made around comments she received on the "period talk" in her story "Unmet Desire" in the "Milestones" collection. While I know I would have been comfortable if she'd pushed her comments past what she had in her final edition of her story, what was there I found enjoyable. Mentioning the character's menstrual cycle makes sense based on the plot of the story. Of course, I see it as a piece of realism in fantasy and I specifically disagree with this notion of avoiding it completely in romance. I think on my own writing- in my serial Vala's Story, the submissives all share one large bathroom where none of the commodes are set off for privacy. I think it's telling that I can't tell you in which of the 9 planned books I have a scene where one submissive is talking to another as she sits on a toilet and starts to urinate- it was just something that happened as a matter of course because everyone has to pee sometimes :D. Then there is the occasional discussion of birth control- "Remember we have Vala on birth control so it's not a big deal if you come in her cunt, my Queen," Simon soothes The Queen when he orgasm inside Vala's vagina and says "Oops." Just a sentence or two and it includes a piece of many women's lives that often don't receive any mention in romance literature.
And finally I get to the uterus that is in my title for today. I talked about "women's issues," but anyone who reads what I write regularly knows that I can't just leave that at the gender binary, the normative construction of gender in our culture. I have known, been close to all too many people with non-standard genders. The fact that I have a uterus doesn't necessarily make me a woman, to my thinking; I've known people that I "read" as a man who also had a uterus.