Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why does romance get such a bad rap?


MSNBC ran a poll a year or so ago to see how many respondents enjoyed reading romance. Great, right? An opportunity for those of us who love uplifting stories with a happy ending to show the world our support of romance novels, right?

Well, yes and no...

Romance readers and writers turned out to vote their support of romance novels, and when the poll closed, those who voted yes, they read romance, outpaced those who did not.

My beef? (And I do have one!) The tone of the poll, the wording of the question and response choices made my skin crawl. Clearly the poll was created by some yahoo who'd never read a romance and could clearly need a little light and love in their otherwise jadded and cynical life.

Romance novels - yet again- were called bodice rippers. To vote yes in the poll, you had to click the choice that said "Yes, yes, yes! Bodice-rippers are my ultimate escape."

To vote no, you were to click 2. "No way. I don't touch those books."

You could almost hear the distain behind the word THOSE.

And the third choice was "Sometimes while on vacation at the beach." As if reading romances while on vacation at the beach was the only time any sane person would lower themselves. Give me a break! How condescending!

Not only does the term bodice ripper sets my teeth on edge, it shows the author of the poll relied on stereotypes and out-dated cliches rather than giving the poll any effort or research. The tone of the poll was offensive to me and many other romance readers.

So romance continues to get no respect in the mainstream media. Maybe the recent news that despite the recession, romances continue to sell well will make naysayers think twice... but probably not. Sigh.

Those poor critics just don't know what they are missing...
Beth C- devoted romance fan and romantic at heart. Long live romance!

7 comments:

  1. Hmm, well, my son isn't much interested in romance, but I might be finding out why. He reads fantasy. We took a trip and I brought some audio books to listen to, figuring they were all fantasy, and maybe he'd like one of them. I don't read them. All are big time authors. First one...men are being washed down by women, then one becomes aroused and she takes hold of him and sticks it in her... ewww...no romance. Just sex, and not even good sex at that. Switched to another fantasy CD, same problem. Switch to another...the hero is thinking about what he's going to do...and for chapters and chapters it's all about thinking thoughts, then blood/gore/potential rape, more thoughts for chapter after chapter, more blood/gore/potential rape. Okay. So these kinds of fantasies are not my thing. Give me a good romance and a HEA and I'm happy!!!

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  2. It all boils down to the second-class stereotype that still gets slapped on women. If women are second-class, the books they like to read must be, too.

    I face a different kind of prejudice with my books because they're science fiction. Call them paranormal or futuristic if you will, but basically, that's what they are. A lot of women don't care for scifi mainly because there usually isn't a whole lot of romance in it--not the HEA kind, anyway. Look back at the original Star Trek and you'll see what I mean. The only marriage I recall aboard the Enterprise resulted in the death of one of the couple, and on Deep Space Nine, Jadzia and Worf may have married, but Jadzia was eventually killed.

    Not much chance for a HEA, is there? I'm trying to change that, but sometimes it's lonely out there....

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  3. Beth,
    I remember that poll, and it set my teeth on edge too! It sent me (and a lot of other people too) a CLEAR message about MSNBC, and it definitely was NOT positive.

    Terry, I used to read a lot of fantasy until the blood & gore factor became too prevalent. I'm with YOU, give me a relationship with an HEA!

    AC

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  4. Thank goodness the romance authors don't listen to all the negative crap that these so called polls generate! Thank goodness you continue what you do and keep us romance readers happy!

    You keep writing them, and I'll keep buying them! I loved Healing Luke! It made me laugh and cry and I couldn't put it down. I mailed it to my sister because I know she'll love it too!

    :)

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  5. Sorry for coming late to the party but you're right. I wrote MSNBC a nasty email about their poll. I think a lot of us did. When you figure out how many people do read and write romance, MSNBC wasn't doing themselves any favors. It's no wonder their ratings are dropping. Pretty soon, they're going to have to start paying people to watch.

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  6. I remember when this poll ran... it cause quite the stir in the romance community. Nonetheless, the media has taken notice--1 in 4 fiction books sold in American is a romance novel, and it's continually a billion dollar industry. You'd think that'd count for something! But as long as there are people buying and enjoying romance, who cares about a poll? What matters are the readers out there giving your books a chance to shine and show everyone not to take romance for granted!

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  7. Sorry to be absent this weekend! Thanks for the comments and support of romance! I was in Dallas this weekend at a literacy tea. Romance writers and readers supporting literacy...because romance rocks!
    Happy Monday!

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