African American Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romance Novels

Why Romance Novels Need Strong Heroines

I was kidnapped this morning, and reminded of the importance of strong, independent female heroines in romance novels.

Yup, while online researching for another blog post, my attention got blindfolded, gagged, and dragged away by an advice column headline:

My Husband Refuses to Give Me My Stimulus Check…
What Can I Do?

I admit to all sorts of devilish thoughts. GTFOH. This must be a joke. No, it’s not a joke? Okay, point the bastard out to me. A good swift kick to his tiny twin—

And all that ran through my brain before I’d clicked to read. There, I discovered the husband’s reasoning—she didn’t earn it, so she doesn’t deserve it.

By now, I’m picking up the phone to call my posse. Ladies, we got a job—like I was a mob boss.  But I didn’t need to. The financial advisor took care of it for me.

No, the advisor said, your husband cannot do this. But that’s beside the point.

Gurrl, you in danger

Not handing over the check is the least of it. You’re a domestic abuse victim.

Online articles abound detailing four, five, or six types of domestic abuse. Most are familiar to us: verbal abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, etc.

The financial advisor laid it out.

Hunty, he’s financially abusing you

I had never heard of financial abuse, defined as exercising control over one partner’s access to finances, making the abused person dependent.

Truthfully, all domestic abuse boils down to one thing. CONTROL. One partner having inappropriate control over the other.

While I read, I was reminded how powerful the pen of a romance author can be. And this, my friends, is why we not only need strong female leads in real life…I’m thinking Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris.

But also in fiction–in film and literature.

And especially in romance novels, which many young women read. They need to see women who take charge of their lives—professionally, financially, mentally, emotionally. Women who might struggle at first (like all of us), but hold onto or regain their sovereignty, even while navigating romance and love. Women who know the difference between interdependence and dependence.

Because no matter which of the several types of domestic abuse, women need to see women like themselves survive and thrive and come out the other side kickass and confident. Perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.

What’s the latest romance you’ve read with a take-no-prisoners heroine?

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