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liberated lady wentworth.jpgThis is science folks. And a romance novel from 1979 titled Liberated Lady…? It could be the motherlode. The size of the TV studio camera on the cover screams Lacanian gaze, and Sally Wentworth is celebrated for 101 books on Goodreads. It’s the perfect storm. Talk to me, Goose.

Going in, here are my boy-crazy-yet-feminist (mark my epitaph) hopes for this love story:

  • some consent language, really erotic stuff, that will, you know, teach me to put what I want into words
  • a behind-the-scenes look at a TV studio in 1979
  • really good prose
  • not rape?

I’m not optimistic. First sign of trouble is the inside cover, a total turn on for us rape fetishists who are titillated by forced seduction…

Don’t try to deny what’s between us.

Alex took a purposeful step toward her as Sara raised her hands in a futile attempt to ward him off. But he merely caught her wrists. Briefly she tried to struggle, but he said harshly, ‘It’s too late, the fight’s over.’ And he pulled her into his arms.

His mouth covered hers hungrily, claiming possession, allowing no resistance. Desperately, Sara tried to break free, but she couldn’t escape the passionate torment of his lips, searching, demanding a response.

She made a little sound, deep in her throat an the hand she’d raised to hit him instead sank slowly onto his shoulder and crept around his neck…

That’s right. Just let it go, sisters.

For the entirety of the book he’s mad she won’t admit he turns her on, but then when they can finally agree that she’s totally hot for him, he gives her a job, a part-time PR gig because “she knows something about computers.” Bam. HEA.


the male chauvanist sellers

I need a hero.

But “sensitive, liberated men” aren’t in the cards for mainstream romantics. Take as another example, Silhouette Intimate Moments (1985) The Male Chauvinist by Alexandra Sellers. First off, I love camp shirts, but is he wearing jorts?

Language is important. Liberation, chauvinism. These things need words, and having them makes talking about the issues easier.

Andreas…seemed to epitomize the attitudes Kate had fought to escape–but his potent sensuality drew her into his arms. No “sensitive, liberated” man had ever had that effect on her.

See how we did that? We found the words to explain that male chauvinists are actually hotter.