Fear of vulnerability

48123-until-loves-vulnerableBrene Brown, a research professor and bestselling author, says that the romance genre is both loved and hated because a key theme is vulnerability. Why is this loved? Why is this hated? Rhyll of the Naughty Ninjas has written an article about Brown’s research, which in part says:

It’s that theme (constant in much of romance writing) that vulnerability is courage. When do the hero and heroine triumph by achieving true connection? When they’re able to put aside their masks and armor and allow others to see their true selves, flaws and all. When they expose their feelings. When they take a risk on love. In other words, when they allow themselves to be vulnerable. While my logical mind can’t accept this, the emotional reader part of my brain craves more.

However, it’s pretty clear that western mainstream culture disdains vulnerability and views it as weakness. Strength, control, perfection and certainty are valued and there’s very little tolerance for uncertainty, failure or risk. Being emotional or imperfect is equated with failure and weaknesses. Instead, people are encouraged (or shamed into) seeking perfection in all areas of life, from flawless looks, to perfect grades and parenting, and ever-upwardly-mobile career paths.

Very good article, and well worth reading. Thanks, Rhyll.

H/T to Amy Rose Bennett, who posted a link to the article on Facebook. Amy is the author of Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, which I had the pleasure of reading recently.


What Elyse said

Elyse writes in defence of romance novels on Smart Bitches Trashy Books.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.

I’ve quoted the last paragraph, but read the whole thing. Cheers and cookies, Elyse.