This is an interesting, if not confusing, read. While I’m not familiar with Lin’s books, from the book covers she’s posted of her own work, I don’t think her plots differ very much from the typical romance story. As in, the women are very much objectified. None of them are even facing forward, or looking at the viewer. They are figures to be held or caressed but do not stand alone; there are few active verbs to describe them based on these images.
So… why am I concerning myself with the representation of men in this genre when there’s so much still to be said about the women in it?
Here’s food for thought – works in literary arenas are noted and praised for showing the inner minds and often romantic and sometimes even sexual thoughts of Asian women: Eileen Chang, Amy Tan, Lisa See, Shan Sa. Yet a genre dedicated to focusing on the inner romantic and sexual minds of women is often summarily condemned. But I do admit with envy – their books are printed on better paper, better spines, nicer cover art graced with peonies and birds. Their books are shelved in different areas of the bookstore. When you pick up the books, they feel heavier in your hands and you feel smarter for delving into them.
I do welcome criticisms of my work as works of romance and as works depicting Asian men and women. Also, as a romance author, actually as any author, I do know I will be judged in part by my covers. It is all fair game.
The operative phrase is “criticism of my work”, but since the poster admittedly hasn’t read or really has any interest in reading the books (and shouldn’t have to in any case) there is no discussion to be had.
Except for this – I am concerned about the depiction of both men and women in my writing. And just as with the men, Asian women should be depicted as romantic heroines with active inner lives and conflicts just as Western women are allowed. They should be allowed their sexuality and sexual fantasies. They should be allowed their strengths and weaknesses. I think allowing them (or really I should say us, being an Asian woman) into the romance genre strengthens our depiction — but the quandry is the same one I posed for the Asian male.
There are people who might feel that depicting Asian women in the romance genre — just for the mere fact that they are there — is demeaning. Am I really doing any service by bringing more depictions of Asian leading ladies into the romance genre? There is no way to discuss this if someone is pre-disposed to dismiss the romance genre. Other than, of course, to draw swords: