Late last week there was an item in a few of the newspapers about stereotyping in movies of those with facial disfigurement- scars indicate a baddie.
If you are interested in the campaign to change this attitude, then you'll find the BBC News article here and the Changing Faces website here, where you can watch their short film that is being shown in 750 cinemas across the UK.
But it got me thinking about how disfigured people are viewed in romantic fiction.
In the classic, Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester is injured and blinded in a fire. Apart from his intention to commit bigamy by marrying Jane, while his first wife is still alive and locked up for her own safety, he's not seen as a baddy, he's just a man in an impossible situation.
In an historical romance context there are going to be scarred heroes and minor villains...
Before guns, men used swords, and in a fight or a battle if you didn't die from the vicious sword wound you'd probably die from blood poisoning. And if you did survive there would be scars- yes they would fade a little in time, but they would still be visible.
Wounds would be sewn with a needle and thread, and the neatness of the scar would depend on how good the doctor (or whoever was doing the stitching up) was with their stitches...
No doubt there were people in past times who turned away from those who suffered disfigurement, or heavy scarring, just as many still do now days.
Certainly in some of the American historical romances I've read over the years, the heroine drags the scarred and/or disabled hero back into the light, and back into society by the healing power of her love.
The baddies in these stories often lack scars, in fact they look just like anyone else- they can even be women!
So no cinema stereotypes there, quite the opposite in fact...