Women, are never the same, they come in individual flavors, says author Reshma Ranjan

Author Reshma Ranjan


How do you think heroines of vintage romance stand up to the acceptability test of modern day women?

To be a part of the book club itself is a milestone in my life and to be able to write a guest post is the cherry on top for me.

For me the soft feminine heroines of vintage romance hold more lure than modern ones as some of the heroines now are slowly shifting. They are trying hard to prove they are no less than men, and the real feminine self is not portrayed. Whereas with the Vintage heroines, their femininity and softness yet that strength is very appealing and their innocence, their naivetĂ© is all a big pull for me. 

Yes, it is true during that time it was the fashion for a girl or a woman to faint at the very drop of a hat or have a weak stomach for slightest rough or violent environment. And now it is turning into a fashion for women to fight anything and everything against men and I guess at times it reflects in romances.

But I have a different take; women are basically very soft and have vulnerabilities which are also in a way their strength, that is a part of them. They are strong or they wouldn’t be able to manage men and their kids in their life. Of course bringing a new life is in itself a power she enjoys. As I heard an ace director mentioning ‘Women are far more evolved!’ Very well articulated.

For me the old romances are still very relatable. In our society; ‘Indian society’ where still the majority of people categorize women as good or bad by the marriage they choose. An arranged marriage: a very obedient daughter and a good girl, a love marriage: rebellious and a bad girl. We give girls education, expose them to more and more knowledge. We let them think and have an opinion, but when it come to the major decision of their life they are to follow what their elders say. They are thrown into a room with a stranger and that is termed culture.Especially in a land known for the Swayamwara’s at a time when throughout the world women were to marry the man the head of the family points at.

I know I am going to get so many raised eyebrows here( not amongst us ;-) but others. But isn’t our society becoming regressive in the name of culture. People making and bending the norms according to the misogynistic attitude and calling it culture. From what little I have picked up about culture( I have become confused about the semantics of the word ‘Culture’) from my parents or elders, we had one of the most open and absorbing social system which took the positives from around the world or things they came into contact. But suddenly it is becoming so restrictive. Women are given freedom yet they are tied down in the name of society and told every other moment they are a woman. Where women once wore just a piece cotton cloth to cover their breasts, but now if they wear a kurta( a top) without dupatta they are called immodest and is considered against culture. It is ok to wear a saree where your midriff is visible, but wearing a completely covered top and jeans are immodest and against culture. From the smallest thing as choosing an attire to every time they have to take a major decision, they are termed outcast. And now they have ended up being a rebel and it has come to a point where the rebelliousness or the anger and hatred have become a fight or challenge against men.

And ‘that’ is being called feminism. I am a feminist, but not that kind of a feminist. I believe in the essence of a woman being soft and feminine and yet having a mind of their own and going for what they want, but not as a fight or challenge against men but as what she wants to have as a person, as an
individual. I know it ends up as a fight against the misogynistic ways of life. So I like to read about women who are what they are and are seeking what they want and if it is a romance even better.

Sorry! Back to the point. My great affinity for vintage romance heroines, they don’t hate men, but in their soft way they manage to win them over and get what they want on their terms. I totally agree to what Rubina had put in words that feminism is not about whether she can fight the social norms or men but in her own soft, feminine and individual way getting what she wants. And that is exactly what you find in vintage romances. My all-time favourite is Barbara Cartland and trust me! I am heavily influenced by her books. I have been said many times that my heroine of 'Love Sees No Reason' has that flavour and you won't find such woman in today's time any longer.

I strongly disagree, women who are too timid and weak exists then and even today. In that era it was a fad to be so, fainting at the drop of the hat or at the slightest form of violence their stomach goes weak, start tearing at the slightest variation in the voice of the person speaking to you. The swooning delicate women in that era were fashionable, but now it is not. They do exist, even now. But it is how she overcomes those weaknesses and attains her love is what matters in romances, then and now.

But in vintage romances you have them without the need of explaining why they are so. In the books they get everything under control by the end. I have to quote what Rubina Ramesh said, "They may cry or swoon at the drop of hat but the men who came so strongly as cruel, and rough were just putty in their hands." Absolutely by hook or by crook, by crying or being the always sacrificing and the docile woman, she will at the end of the book have the men around their finger and if you notice you will see the men were eager to please the ladies and they would let them do or be what they really want. Their opinions mattered to these men in love with them.

Stating such women are not realistic, is very ironic. Women, or any gender for that matter, are never the same they come with very individual flavours. And we reading fiction especially romance is for pure bliss of escaping from reality. If a heroine so docile finds her romance in the book, why not accept it as a fiction and enjoy it. I don't say they are the only best romances, no! There are so many contemporary romances which leave a mark in our heart.

But the vintage romances and their heroines are always so special and close to my heart. Any moment I am ready to plunge into those vintage romances. They take you to that era with those
innocent and sweet romances. Where women didn't know about being sexy and they had to be taught from love, seduction, kiss and to what physical pleasure is all about. There is an old world charm to it. Now a days you don’t find or cannot relate to that kind of innocence. I still imagine the flowers coming in ;-). Not that I don’t read or like romances with a more physical intimacy portrayed. But the old romance where even a single touch, may be the hero just touches the heroine's elbow or even better he would have trapped her by a wall and still he has not touched her, but still it sets the butterflies in the stomach to flight. It may never go beyond a ‘kiss’ or an ‘embrace’ (I can see the two flowers coming in;-)) but you are taken to the point where it’s so beautiful.

So no matter what day it is I am always in for a dose of a vintage romance heroine. I take her as she comes, docile, damsel in distress, always crying, sometimes dressed as a man, trapped in a pirate ship, forced into a marriage of convenience, forced to take up responsibilities they never were trained for, but at the end of the day she is the one who gets her cake and eats it too.

About the Author

Reshma Ranjan is a passionate romantic who loves literature and has been driven by the romance around her. She has made up her own happy endings in her imagination for every movie and for every book with a sad ending.

“Slowly I started to create my own characters and situation, creating a world of romance and happy endings to my liking. But for my laziness, I would have penned umpteen numbers of stories with unexpected people meeting and falling in love and uniting for a lifetime. “
Also a voracious reader but for which she believes she could never have started writing.

“ If I can bring a smile and a happy sigh on at least one reader’s lips I will feel a blessed writer. “
Her next book " Blind, Certainly Is Love is soon going to available in Amazon Kindle.


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9 comments:

  1. Loved to read this as I love a bit of heroines who are as feminine and as strong they can be.

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  2. Very bold and strong opinion without a hint of hatred .....

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  3. very nice Reshma. You made me fall in love again.

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