In romance novels, we expect our hero and heroine to be beautiful. Maybe not traditionally so, but at least to their love interest. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of “larger” women in stories, as well as big noses, horrible hair, or other traits that could be seen as less than perfect. Typically it’s the female characters who can be imperfect and still get Mr. Hot-As-Hell. I get it. The readers are women who see themselves as less than perfect, so this makes sense.
So, Can I take it a step further? What about amputees, someone “confined to” (or liberated by, as the case may be) a wheelchair? How about disfiguring scars from a traumatic accident? Can these people become beautiful to the reader? I think the picture here kinda proves it happens in reality.
And so, I’m now exploring this. I have a military veteran who suffered a spinal injury, a woman who lost her leg in an accident, and another who was badly disfigured by gang violence. My problem? I kinda don’t know anyone who has lived through such a thing.
Yep, research. The LAST thing I want to do is marginalize a group of people in some misguided effort to prove I can write it. I can’t even imagine the grief, anguish, and depression that would come with something like this. Wrapping my mind around viewing the world from waist high is nearly impossible. And what about the reliance upon others? Loss of independence would have to take its toll.
I think that so many “imperfect” people are now posing as models (typically seen as examples of perfection) is wonderful. I’m giddy to see our idea of beauty transforming while I’m still alive. I want to embrace this, to bring it into our love stories. The way I see it, if I can make the reader – for even a moment – wish they were someone who is typically pitied, then maybe, just maybe, it means something.
I’m not really sure what, but I know that love rarely knows any bounds and that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. They say that love conquers all. Can it defeat our cultural prejudices?