I see a disturbing trend in romance novels these days, a trend that sets the Women’s Liberation movement back about fifty years or more. Nowadays it seems like every other romance novel wallows in BDSM, which isn’t liberating at all. Over the last several years, BDSM has started become mainstream. I blame Fifty Shades of Gray for accelerating that unfortunate trend.

Hey, fellow authors, there’s a subtle and significant distinction between “dominant” and “domineering.” One can be sexy and allows for give-and-take in the relationship; the other is just bullying.

Romance has been touted as the only genre that has a goal of elevating women to being worthy subjects of books, of making women’s happiness a priority. BDSM gives lip service to that idea, but said women can only achieve happiness if they’re obedient and willing to accept punishment for so much as speaking without permission. Who in the hell decided that was liberating? And in these novels, there’s a dominant and a submissive–guess who’s always the submissive? You got it, honey.

BDSM isn’t about love or even pleasure; it’s about power and control. There’s no give and take, no interaction. It’s all about one person doing something to another person, commanding that other person, assuming the position and authority of judge, jury, and executioner. BDSM in these romance novels reduces a woman to malleable blob of pliant orifices to be filled in any way her master wishes. And since when is pain sexy? I don’t get that either.

Ugh. Maybe I just don’t understand. But shouldn’t a man be strong enough to accept a woman’s own strength as complementary to his? Why should a woman be forced to deny her strength of personality and reduced herself to a mindless sex doll because the man she’s with is threatened by it? Perhaps he should grow a pair and grow up.