If it didn’t matter then there wouldn’t be a need for vanity sizing in clothing. In fact, we wouldn’t need sizing at all because if it didn’t matter then we would all be able to buy the same exact piece of clothing at one uniform size and have it fit us perfectly.
What does size have to do with art? Size is a major part of the double standard in writing. It’s that hypocritical man has to be perfect but woman has to be accepted no matter what she looks like mentality that I see a lot.
The men in romance stories always seem to be required to have firm abs, strong arms, and a narrow waist. I’m not saying it’s not out there, but I have yet to read a romance of any subgenre where the leading man has a rotund gut that hangs over the waistband of his pants and the leading lady is still tripping over her feet to get to him.
Yet I see many women get upset if the leading lady is petite. I see them complain about the sizing. Some of them want larger women. Some have complained because the women are either very big or very small and there’s no middle ground. I like having characters that represent me too so I get the desire to see more diversity in books. What I don’t get is the double standard.
People have said that romance is for women and they need to be attracted to the hero in the story. If that’s the case they’re saying they can’t be attracted to him if he’s overweight. Yet he has to be attracted to the female if she’s overweight. I don’t understand that line of thinking. If they can’t find it attractive on a man, then why should he find it attractive on a woman?
My mother and I had this discussion and she asked me why I don’t write books with heavier men. I told her because I’m not attracted to that. But I am also not a double standard kind of woman. If I expect my leading men to be in shape then I expect my leading women to be there as well.
In shape does not refer to sizing; it refers to how they take care of their body. I have characters that workout daily and eat religiously healthy like Clair in Dangerous Obsessions. And I have those who workout moderately and eat relatively healthy like Sahara in Hiking for Danger. They are leading ladies of differing sizes, but both are still conscious of their body and their health.
I like writing a mix that I can moderately relate to, but I don’t want to jump on that double standard band wagon. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.
That’s not to say that perfectly in shape guys can’t like perfectly out of shape women or vice versa—some actually do in real life, but in romance there just seems to be this line of hypocrisy where the leading man must be perfect, but the leading woman must be loved just the way she is.
Part 2 of Does Size Really Matter will be up tomorrow and part 3 will be up on Friday. I hope you’ll follow all the postings.