Thursday, May 2, 2013
Thursday's Coffee: Career-Minded-Closet-Romantic
Are you one?
I was thrilled to read Rachel Kent's blog post at Books & Such about a new movie coming out, Austenland. It aired at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opens in the U.K. in August. It's based on a 30-something who is obsessed with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy of Pride & Prejudice and sets out to find her own Mr. Darcy. I was pleasantly surprised that Rachel described Jane Austen fans as "career-minded-closet-romantics"!
Read her post at http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/coming-soon-to-theaters-austenland/
That description fits me and I believe many other women who love a good drama, great love story, or a cute chick flick. So why do you suppose this is true? Why do career-minded women feel the need to be hidden in a closet about their romantic inclinations and preferences?
Well, for one, feelings and imaginations are private (and there's something to be said about keeping some things appropriately private).
And work is work, and dreams are dreams.
And when we are at work, we are supposed to be applying our minds and skills right? I mean, no one wants me thinking about Mr. Darcy when I'm suturing up a laceration, right!?
But mainly, I think that career-driven women in today's society pride themselves in their more logical aspects and gifts. They like to believe they can solve problems, organize their work projects, and accomplish meaningful work without appearing sappy or starry-eyed. And in their work worlds, women have had to compete with men for these job spots--men who are logical, intelligent, and savvy. It seems perfectly acceptable for a businessman to droll out the mouth about his hobbies outside of work--golf, fishing, hunting, sports--and maybe the walls of his office are even splattered with pictures and portraits of those adventures. But are women less likely to show their softer side at work? I know I certainly don't have my favorite book covers or movie posters plastered all over my personal office space at work--although I have a space reserved for that on my home office wall!!
Do we think that somehow we will be viewed differently? Weaker? Less intelligent? More vulnerable if we admit that we have a yen for romantic stories---let alone that we might actually write them? Gasp! Sigh. Several of my coworkers know I like to write, but why do I feel slightly embarrassed to explain that I write romance? At least the Historical Romance descriptor seems a bit more legitimate right? Oh how silly. Why does it matter?
Well, mainly, it matters to me.
I want my characters to be intelligent women who struggle with the same things that real Thinking-Closet-Romantics struggle with. I believe that is why Jane Austen is so loved. Her ability to write wit showed that though Elizabeth Bennett of Pride & Prejudice is completely blind to her love for Mr. Darcy, it's not for lack of intelligence.
Intelligence and Romance are not incompatible. I don't separate them any more than I do Logic and Science from Faith. Don't you think that makes for a more interesting story, whether it's your personal story or a story of fiction?