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!