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It cracks me up that some reporters, reviewers and assorted ignorati still use the expression “bodice ripper.” They mean it as an insult, not just a description, but even if they were just making conversation, sheesh . Talk about married to a cliché! And an outdated one at that. When was the last time a bodice was ripped in the name of romance?

Maybe it’s high time one was. I’ve been trying to think of a good plot for a modern-day bodice-ripper. One where the hero has a good reason for ripping said garment. Maybe he and the heroine are in the woods, surrounded by bears, and she accidentally spills honey on the front of her dress. Can’t blame him for some fast action in that situation.

And actually, as long as it’s between consenting adults, is it so bad in any case? If I were as well-endowed as some of the female cover models, I might want to put on one of those dresses and do some fun role-playing: “Oh, Rhett? Could you carry me up these stairs? I fear I have a case of the vapors.”

And if some of those covers are to be believed, those bodices were really ripping themselves, with no help from you-know-who.

To the extent that any villain or so-called hero of yore actually attacked an unwilling woman in a romance novel, I’m the first one to insist that he should be strung up by his own endowments. But otherwise, the ripping of the bodice might just have been the historical equivalent of unhooking a bra. Let’s face it, most guys can do that with one hand these days. But if they were confronted with whalebone and laces and such, who knows the lengths to which they might resort once they get the green light?

I’m getting more convinced by the minute that we shouldn’t let this “insult” go unavenged. Not the insult where the bodice is ripped, but where the detractors use it as a pejorative, when it might just be a perfectly reasonable reaction to a complicated situation.

Someone should write the Great American Bodice Ripper. Any good ideas out there? Maybe that should be the next contest I hold.




( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
Bodice Ripper, Hear Me Roar!
Just like the gay community has co-opted the word "queer" and the some factions of the black community (primarily hip hop and rap) have co-opted the N word, I, as a romance writer have proudly co-opted the words PORN and BODICE-RIPPER.

When people ask me what I write, I proudly toss my head back, give them a big smile, and say, "I write porn." They give me a blank look. And then I say, "You know, bodice rippers." And then an embarrassed chuckle emanates from the other person and then my smile gets bigger.

Who said it? "The best defense is a good offense." Also known in military circles as a pre-emptive strike.

And all my bodice-rippers are actually flak-vest rippers. Heh! :-)

May. 12th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
Re: Bodice Ripper, Hear Me Roar!
Flak vest rippers -- I like that, especially because the female can just as likely do it to the male as vice versa!

Thanks for stopping by, Karm.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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