Just in case you thought that us romance authors created all of the drama, tension, and dramatic showdowns for our novels out of nowhere, 2019 has started with a bang within the romance community as one of our members makes some pretty wild statements that have offended…well, thousands of people.
I’m never one to get involved in the drama directly, but I thought that it was important for my loyal readers (that’s you) to know where I stand on this particular debate.
So let’s dive in.
Someone who I am not going to name (remember, I don’t want to get involved!) posted on Facebook about a very contentious and emotional issue: weight. The person is a male cover model for almost 1000 romance book, particularly historical romance which is what I write, and he is very well known in our circles. What he posted wasn’t very nice.
What did it say?
I’m not going to repeat it or post to it: suffice to say that it shamed people for being overweight, blamed them entirely for it, and used words such as ‘disgusting’ when describing them. This, as you can imagine, did not go down well.
Why did he do it?
Sorry, I have no idea. He’s very into his own fitness, which is fine, but I don’t know why he chose to attack a type of person, especially as he doesn’t seem to have a lot of compassion or understanding about why someone may not be in ‘perfect’ shape…whatever that is…
The reaction has been pretty bad, then?
Yup. At the time of writing, he has almost a thousand comments on that post – some of them supportive, but the vast majority questioning why he is even getting so personal and so negative about people that he doesn’t know. Many authors have shared the post to alert to their author friends AND publishers that this is the guy’s feelings, and hundreds have sworn not only that they will never use him again as a cover model, but also that they will have any covers that do include him re-made without him. Some people are suggesting that for this guy, he has just signed and sealed the end of his career in the cover model industry.
Why does this matter?
I am not overweight so I didn’t feel personally attacked by this man’s post – but you know what? That doesn’t matter! I don’t think it has to be a personal attack for you to feel that a way of speaking to someone is wrong. There are so many journeys of life out there that it’s impossible to know or understand them all, and to attack someone for the way that they look, or how much they weigh, with a blanket judgement that doesn’t take into account – oh, I don’t know, accidents, physical health challenges, mental health, pregnancy, depression, thyroid issues, menopause (I could go on) – is just plain stupid.
What’s more, many readers of romance, and historical romance are women, and I firmly believe that we get enough negativity about the way that we look, no matter WHAT the numbers on the scales. We’re too fat, too thin, eating too much of that and not enough of that, and the thin ones still have cellulite, and the fat ones don’t take care of themselves, and why didn’t you buy that make up or use that type of shampoo, and it is ENDLESS.
I am grateful to my husband, family, friends, and readers for loving me as I am. Not everyone is that lucky, and posts like this man’s could really hurt and affect someone.
Blimey. It all sounds very intense.
It is. But in many ways, it isn’t. He was no friend of mine to begin with, so I haven’t lost that; none of my covers feature him (I’ve checked!); and none will in the future.
Please do not let him be a representative of the romance community: all the romance authors I know love their readers, however they come. As a community, we will move on from this, and we’ll keep writing amazing books.
And if you see some of this drama, you’ll know where I stand: on your side.