Posts Tagged With: feminism

Bay Area Book Festival by Alice Gaines

On June 5, I took part in a panel discussion at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley.  (Yes, that Berkeley.)  The second annual festival, and the first time they invited a bunch of romance writers to speak.  Only a little slow.  🙂

The gave us the fabulous subject Romance and Feminism:  From Bodice Rippers to Trailblazers.  Here’s our panel.  grouppic  In the back, Beth Barany (moderator) and Aya deLeon and in the front Moi, Kristin Miller, and Gail Carriger.

Although I adored the subject, I had to laugh a bit.  I started reading and writing romance in the heyday of bodice rippers, and I have a fewe books with covers to prove it.  The women in romance novels were always trailblazers–independent women with goals of their own who required their men to fit into their lives, not the other way around.  This is nothing new, but it’s nice to have the outside world notice.

I have to admit to some trepidation when I consider taking part in literary events other than those specifically about romance.  I’m always afraid someone is going to look down his nose (likely his, not hers) at what I write.  I expect questions like “Are you ever going to write a real book?” or “Romance is just porn for women, right?”

None of those things happened.  We had an overflow crowd with people standing in the hallway outside.  The audience was receptive and enthusiastic.  It was a fabulous experience.

goodpaneI decided to address the subject of feminism in historical romance.  It seemed an apt topic because in historicals our heroines live in societies where they had relatively little power and freedom.  But our heroines manage to stick up for themselves very well.  I mentioned my own historicals, which include such heroines as a professional orchid nurserywoman, a jewel thief, a wealthy American who wants to follow Darwin’s journeys around South American, and an American heiress who wants to sleep her way across Europe.  No shrinking violets these ladies.

Here I am holding up one of my bodice ripper covers.me and bookOverall, it was a fabulous experience, and if I’m asked to do it again next year, I’ll jump at the chance.  If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, be sure to check out the book festival.

And by the way, I’ll have two releases next month, so I’ll be raffling off more of my handknitted items to someone on my mailing list.  Here’s one of the items:

IwristwarmersIf you’d like to enter to win these wrist warmers (and a couple of other things), visit my blog.  The form is on the front page.  http://www.alicegaines.blogspot.com

 

 

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The F word

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I count my blessings on International Women’s Day. That would be today. I like to think I count my blessings every day but I don’t think I do because so many of the things I’m thankful for are things most of us take pretty much for granted.

I was born to parents who wanted a baby. Not a boy or a girl, a child. I was told I could study anything I wanted, be whatever I chose to be. No profession, no field, was out of the question just because I happened to be a woman. I could vote and run for office. I had rights protected by law. I could choose my partner in life, and I had the choice of not having one, never marrying. I could choose if and when I wanted to have sex. I could choose if and when I had children. Their future is not dependent on what’s between their legs any more than my was. The world is open to them as it has always been for me. I’ve been free and I’ve had choices and I’ve had the freedom to choose.

Imagine not having that. Any of it. From the cradle to the grave. The course of your life, your story, dictated by others. Not being seen or heard. Not by your family, not by judge and jury, not by society itself. Every time I hear someone say they have no use for feminism, I can’t help but think they’ve forgotten. Forgotten how lucky we are. Forgotten how to be grateful. Forgotten the fate of their female ancestors, not so long ago. Forgotten how fast rights left unguarded come under attack.

Forgotten that what we take for granted is still a distant dream for many. Forgotten what words like compassion and solidarity mean. Forgotten how to stand up, raise their voices and fight for the rights and freedom of those who have none. Forgotten that the plight of some degrades us all, that helping out your sisters is doing yourself a favor. None of us will be treated equally until all of us are. All of us will continue to be threatened, verbally, physically, for as long as some of us are allowed to be.

So you have no use for feminism. On this International Women’s Day, please consider lending all that surplus of yours to those who still desperately have.

XO, D.

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” ― Gloria Steinem

Illustration a free stock image from 123RF.com

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