By Alexa Day
The first version of this post was much angrier. In the days since then, I’ve walked things back a little. I don’t feel great about doing that because it feels like I’m giving in, but the truth is that I’m exhausted. I’m not interested in going high. As a woman of color and a daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, I have serious concerns about the future, and smiling through it isn’t going to address any of those concerns. I’m grateful to, and grateful for, those people who have fearlessly called out wrongdoing and ignorance. I’m grateful to and for those people who have quietly stood up to support and defend those who need it. I’m so happy those people exist and that they’re coming forward.
But we live in a huge world.
Having said that, I need you to understand that I’m also not interested in defenses, justifications, or any attempts to belittle, mock, or minimize my position. I don’t like the way I’m looking at people after last week. I don’t like the position I’ve been placed in. I don’t like having to walk myself back or talk myself down. Make no mistake. I am still very, very angry. If you don’t see why that is, or if you feel that I should feel something a little more convenient for you, I don’t know that I can help you.
I spent part of last week trying to figure out how I could most be of service now. Where am I needed? What can I contribute?
Like many others, I checked in with friends and colleagues, allies and advocates, to let them know that I stand ready to assist them. A month or two ago, I had considered surrendering my law license. I’m glad I didn’t go through with that. I’ve never been more grateful for it, which is saying something after almost twenty years of calling law school the biggest mistake of my life.
Then, after taking a bit of time to regroup, I returned to my writing. I have projects already in motion, and I can neglect them no longer.
This was not an easy decision to make.
In the wake of last week’s events, I asked myself if there was any point to continuing to write empowering stories about black women. I would never have imagined that I live in a country with so many people who either fully embrace bigotry and hatred, or are simply apathetic toward it. Why should I keep creating strong female characters, especially women who look like me, in this toxic environment?
I eventually arrived at a conclusion.
I have to keep writing romance because women always win in romance.
Last week, I watched the documentary Love Between the Covers again; it’s a film about romance fiction and the women who read and write it. I’ve probably seen it four or five times already, but this time, I heard its message a bit differently. The romance genre is dominated by women. When the stories are not about women or written by women, they are designed for women’s consumption. The world of romance is a woman’s world.
It is immense, and it is immensely powerful. It generates the revenue that sustains genre fiction as a whole. It is a force to be reckoned with.
Romance is home to thousands of women-owned businesses. It enables women to support their households and families.
Romance gives women artists a voice and a massive stage from which to reach a hungry audience of women.
The women who drive romance, both as content creators and as readers, are thriving. Women will desperately need an environment in which to thrive in the coming days, months, and years.
But consider the stories themselves.
In a romance novel, a woman will come out of the darkness, and she will win.
A woman will overcome her fears, and she will win.
A woman will survive impossible odds, and she will win.
A woman will decide her destiny, and she will win.
A woman will discover her power, and she will win.
No matter what happens to her, in a romance novel, a woman will win. The lone exception to this is the male/male romance, and even then, a woman will likely win as a consumer or a content creator.
I predict that romance, which has always been the target of misogynistic abuse, will come under unprecedented attack in the new regime. The new regime fears a world where women are always victorious. It will do whatever it takes to suppress this world. It will try to convince women that this is foolish or unimportant or unrealistic. It will use women as the means to subjugate a world designed by and for women.
I cannot stand by and permit this to happen.
My mission is to continue creating worlds where women win.
Every time. Every single time.
I am delighted to report that I have returned to work.
Follow Lady Smut.
Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.