Women Portrayed in Fiction—Readers, What Are Your Opinions?


How Women Are Portrayed In Fiction

What are our reader opinions?

Recently, in one of my Publisher Groups, the discussion of Bodice Rippers, Women, and how they are portrayed in Fiction came up. The series of subjects struck me with such interest that I was dying to find out what real readers…THATS YOU…feel about it. So please, comment so my enquiring mind can lay itself to rest and finally know….


First …

How do you feel about the once published Bodice Ripper books? For those who do not know the term, Bodice Rippers were Romance Fiction portraying women who were not always the strongest type. Usually some dashing and daring man would come along forcing himself on her. And even though at first she is strongly appalled, her body ends up saying…yes…yes…OH MY GOD YES! 



We don’t see many Bodice Rippers anymore…hardly any at all. No more cheesy covers we would secretly swoon over with dreamy eyes…you remember the ones with yummy, yum, yum Fabio Looking Man-Gods sweeping away  damsels in sexual duress….lol.

Characters are less flawed, less shocking and the story lacks those endless chapters of drama, drama, and more foreseen but undefined drama!

Oh we knew there would be trouble but we just didn’t know it would be THAT much trouble or that kind of double trouble, ya know?




These characters of yesterday have been replaced by strong, warrior women  who may have little to no dysfunctional hang ups but are more than capable of forcing themselves on men….even if they are so bodacious they don’t have to. lol

Not unless you steer towards some written works that still portray a girl who can’t think or breath on her own.

But…..which is better?


What do readers really prefer? Do you prefer the women who can kick ass all by themselves or do you prefer the clueless beauty raised cut off from the world until some handsome hunky hottie drags her away and forces sinful pleasures she succumbs all addictions to even though momma said never, never, let yourself do that. Or are the sales and statistics correct….have women given up on women and have instead ran to buy up male on male romances…also known as M/M?

What say you? How are women portrayed in Fiction—to your liking or disappointment?  What do you like to read? Are Publishing Houses seeing to YOUR needs and desires? Please, let us know!

3 thoughts on “Women Portrayed in Fiction—Readers, What Are Your Opinions?”

  1. Well, frankly, I find either end of the pendulum swing dull and boring! I like characters that more than two synapses to rub together and who also are not “perfect” … according to the current norm of perfection. I like sex, even reading it although it’s not really a spectator sport to me, but if that dominates a book then I tend to nod off fairly quickly. The “strong, warrior women who may have little to no dysfunctional hang ups but are more than capable of forcing themselves on men….even if they are so bodacious they don’t have to” are just as dull as the brainless blondes. Particulalry because they do tend to be “more than capable of forcing themselves on men” and usually more than willing to. Yawnsville!

    I like stories where I can get some fellow-feeling with the characters, at least feel I wouldn’t mind going out for a meal with them. Both of the two extremes described above make me want to get my running shoes on without even bothering to meet them :-). I feel no empathy with either, nor would I want to be in either of their shoes.

    I think the young Brad Pitt was delicious eye-candy but I wouldn’t want to go to bed with him … unless it turns out he does have a brain and some conversation after all. Sorry, Brad, if I’m maligning you :-). I’ve never been in a position where my body took over after I’d found the person repulsive. Oh yay, I’ve been taken over by the old hormones but I already liked the person, never has it happened when I didn’t like the person in the first place.

    I don’t like these overly pushy and in-your-face females who knowitall and can do anything either. They give me a pain. They often despise men too and get all feminist and I loathe that.

    I like people who can think, have some foibles, make mistakes, get it wrong now and again – all the time is pretty dull too! – and are somewhat emotionally literate.

    I’m not too fussed about genders or sexual orientation as long as the above criteria are met. I’ve not read much gay fiction. I tried some a while back and found the characters too boring, couldn’t get into their “issues”. Hopefully the more modern stuff has less dysfunctionality and more rounded people. I must try some …


    1. Wooo hooo Elen, WHAT A COMMENT and all hails ya woman for being descriptive enough so that NO ONE could possibly misunderstand! Now THAT’S what I’m talkin bout. Keep em coming peoples!!!! WHAT DO YOU WANT AS A READER!!!!!


  2. Yes, I’m a woman even if I do write m/m romance. LOL

    As a young woman growing up in the late 70’s into the 80’s I was completely horrified when out of curiosity I picked up a Harlequin Romance for the first time. While all the other girls were eating the “bodice rippers” up with a spoon I was busy reading writers like John Saul, Edgar Rice Burroughs, VC Andrews, Tabitha King, Dean Koontz, Mark Twain, etc. Not to mention being a comic geek. My idea of a strong woman then was Storm from the X-Men. *blushes*

    The idea of being helpless (even at that young age) nauseated me and reading through a couple of the romances of the time I rolled my eyes. Why couldn’t women be portrayed as strong yet still be beautiful and flawed?

    As a female writer you would think it would be easier for me to do those type of female characters. Sometimes it is and other times the reactions I get send my eyes into roll-overdrive. I’ve been accused of making my female characters into bitches because they don’t swoon at the sight of a gorgeous man. Whatever…*insert eye roll*

    The series I’m working on right now has two female characters. One is a reflection of the shy geek I was as a teenager and the other is reflective of the woman I’ve become. Love is a beautiful thing, but to reduce a female character to less than what they can be to find love is a disservice to women.

    I prefer my women strong-willed, flawed, and human. They can be gentle or rough adjusting to the world around them as they need to survive, grow, and flourish. I don’t believe that we only have one chance at love and I don’t believe that love is easy or perfect. As my mother used to say anything worth having is worth fighting for.

    I write what I want to see as a reader pure and simple; a balance between tough and loving.


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