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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Romance novels are good for women

I was reading various blogs yesterday and I came across a humor blog that showed a romance novel cover with questionable images.  I skimmed through the comments and found several disparaging the romance writing genre. Aren’t they just porn for women? Romance novels are trash/bad for women—the same BS I heard growing up.  That’s when I jumped on my sex-is-a-good thing band wagon (and ended up having a very interesting email conversation with another author, but I’ll keep that to myself).  I started thinking (I do that too much) and I realized it wasn’t just sex that has a bad image (depending on who you ask), but romance novels too (again, you gotta consider your audience).
So today I’m on my romance-novels-are-good-for-you! bandwagon.  I started writing the stories in The Devil Made Me Do It when I was in my 30s. Even though I was never taught sex was bad, I somehow thought it was, and the idea behind those stories is that I need someone else to blame (i.e. the 'devil'), so I wasn't responsible when I liked sex or wanted to explore my sexual nature. Today’s romance novels show women who have a healthy interest in sex and they’re not afraid to enjoy it or express it. This is especially true of Sara Jensen, my heroine in Secret Storm (shameless plug). Sara and Jack have some issues in their relationship, but sex isn’t one of them. 
I’ve been addicted to romance novels since puberty, and I couldn’t give them up even when I tried.  They provided a place for me to explore my sexuality when I had nowhere else to turn, no one to talk to.  Sometimes I call them mindless escapism, but even more than that, romance novels are my refuge.
These two blogs make my point better than I do:
Being a feminist romance reader I sent this one to my mother-in-law and she said it confirmed her position that intelligent women read romance.
Okay, I hope I’m done thinking now.  I gotta get some work done!

How do you feel about romance novels? Are they just mindless porn or have you learned something from them?

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog, Amelia. I'm glad those two posts hit home for you. I posted them because, like you, I was so frustrated with people's reactions to romance, especially when they proudly admit they've never read one. I'm absolutely fine with intelligent critiques of the genre, but most people are negative without putting in any effort to back up their judgments. And that's just insulting. I've learned loads from romance novels and even more from the friends I've made through writing romance. They're a bunch of strong, intelligent women.

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  2. @Kat Latham Thanks for your comments. My most negative critics are my own family. My in-laws are great. They're very supportive and encouraging, but my mom is one of those who thinks that romance writing is porn.

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