Today’s ask is a suggestion from BeckyK. She suggested we ask about body positivity— Do you enjoy books with plus size heroes/heroines? Which books/authors get it right? Which don’t? (This is a topic that elicits strong emotions from some–I ask that you respond to this post with compassion as well as honesty.) And I’d note that the very concept of body positivity has evolved–now many encourage instead body neutrality which stresses acceptance of one’s body without positive or negative feelings.

AAR has 68 romances tagged as plus sized heroine. (We don’t have a tag for plus sized hero–perhaps we should.) Of those, 18 are DIKS. The first, Taken by Lori Foster, was published in 1998. Most have been published in the past five years–eight in 2022, seven in 2021, twenty in 2020, six in 2019, and five in 2018. One, One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London, garnered an A+. The majority appear to be contemporary romances. (I am limited in my analysis by our tags–if we haven’t tagged it as plus sized, I’m unable to include it here. If you know of any we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments.)

Most romances, however, do not have fat heroines. (It is interesting to me that there are fewer people on the covers of romance novels, cartoon or otherwise. I wonder if this makes body positivity easier for authors to include in their stories.) Thin is still in and, with the advent of the sought after weight loss drug, Ozempic, plastic surgery, and many more ways to try to get slim, it continues to be the state many seek. Many romances that have curvy heroines define curvy as having boobs and a butt–more Nicki Minaj than Lizzo.

How do you feel about romances with plus sized heroines? Do they call to you? If so or it not, why? What authors do you think do body positivity well? Poorly? And if you love them, what is your favorite?

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Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.