Yes, men have been writing romance under feminine pen names for years. It’s OK. They’re allowed. Yet even today, it’s still controversial with some fans.
Why Is This Still a Controversy?
This came up on Twitter this weekend. The post was deleted before I could read more. From what I saw, some women felt deceived and manipulated when men wrote romance under a feminine pen name. A few thought it was creepy.
Stop. It’s 2023. I’m surprised it’s still an issue, and I’m not alone.
Yes, romances were once marketed as books “written by women for women.” But that was just marketing. Stop making romance exclusionary.
People used to sneer at romance fans like me and say, “You know, a lot of those books are probably written by men anyway.”
Male Authors Are a Part of Romance History
Even before romance was defined as the genre we know today, men were writing Gothic romances under feminine pen names. Clarissa Ross. Edwina Noone. Madeleine Brent. Edwina Marlow. Caroline Farr. Those pen names made it easier for them to sell their love stories.
One of the first romances to compete with the pioneering works of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers was Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde. Jennifer Wilde was Tom E. Huff, a schoolteacher who wrote Gothic romances before the era of “bodice rippers.”
I haven’t read a Jennifer Wilde book yet. (There’s always a first time!) But I feel a soft spot when I come across Jennifer Wilde books because I saw Tom Huff a talk show, and he was a trip! You can learn more about him from a post by librarian Steve Ammidown and a photo shoot in Life Magazine.