Ep. 70 Penny Reid and Maureen Lee Lenker on Toxic Masculinity

We’re joined by Penny Reid and Maureen Lee Lenker to have a conversation about toxic masculinity. We also delve into why Penny has in the past deliberately written characters who start their arc exhibiting these traits, how we’re much harder on our heroines, and some of our own experiences with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Check out Penny’s latest incredibly timely book, Motion!

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About the Author
Jenny Nordbak earned a B.A in Interdisciplinary Archaeology from the University of Southern California. After graduating, she spent two years leading a double life, working in healthcare construction by day, while secretly working as a Dominatrix at a dungeon in LA by night. Her memoir, The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an LA Dungeon (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), is a candid look into that time in her life. Jenny is an advocate for sex positivity and female empowerment. She writes the Stocks and Bondage column for Penthouse and has been featured as a sex expert on The Doctors. She contributes to Men’s Health and has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook. She is currently working on developing her memoir for TV and finishing her next book, a romance novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

One comment on “Ep. 70 Penny Reid and Maureen Lee Lenker on Toxic Masculinity

  1. Jo says:

    This whole conversation is gold, and more closely expresses my opinions on the complexities of the toxic male and ‘unlikable’ but realistic female in romance better than any other that I’ve come across so far. To me, Alpha means a strong leader style personality, and this does not have to include the horrendous levels of possessiveness, cruelty, bullying, domination and general f**kery that is so often told even in so much CR. A true Alpha also knows when/and is not scared to the pass the buck (delegate) or share the limelight and/or responsibilities to the most qualified person as s/he knows when they are not the best person for every single job job. A leader leads, and does not control and micro-manage at every step of the way. I’ve actually come across quite a few ‘Alphas’ in my reading journeys, who are actually really lovely cinnamon rolls at the same time. And I’ve also had the pleasure of coming across a few Alpha female characters, which is such a joy to read!

    I’ve been on a romance podcast binge today and I’ve heard quite a few other authors and podcast hosts still swooning over the ‘alpha’ (AKA a**hole) male and how there is not enough conflict with a more beta or cinnamon roll (AKA well rounded person who treats not just his FMC but other people with respect) MMC to attract and keep their interest. It honestly flummoxes me, as I agree with much with what Penny, in particular, has said.

    In terms of HR, I’ve read some, but have steered clear until very recently of regency/aristocracy based books for a number of reasons including the horrible depiction of ‘historically accurate’ behaviors of the times including misogyny and sexism. Now I’m coming to understand that there is so much more to be had and have had two fairly good experiences and one excellent one with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley which totally blew me away. I’d much rather read something less ‘accurate’ to the times that appeal to my contemporary sensibilities so I’m in that camp. Rape-tastic and all round bigotry is not what I chose to spend my money or time on, and is why even in my 40s I’ve never even considered picking up one of the old school historicals of the bodice ripper variety.

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