I recently read an article about how romance books have such a bad reputation. It’s not the most recent article I will admit but I still feel like there is so much stigma with the romance genre. People seem to believe that it is some lower, nonintellectual genre and I’m not going to lie it pisses me off.
So, I’m going to rant!
The article I read (which is one of many with the same views) touched on how people who read romance are seen as less intelligent than those who read other genres. Now, at this point of the article my blood was boiling. How can you judge someones intelligence by their choice of book or genre? I do love a good romance and I can tell you right now I worked as hard as everyone else who does not read romance and I’ve got my three degrees from University to prove it. I can assure you that I graduated with the same grades as those who don’t read the romance genre. I can also guarantee that I am not the only person to do this either! In today’s society where equality and acceptance is such an important part of life why are people being made to feel less due to the choice of genre they read?
There are a lot of individuals out their who think that romance depicts unrealistic views of relationships and life. I’m not going to deny this. It happens and it happens a lot. However, if we were to attach these theories to the fantasy genre for example, doesn’t this genre also portray an unrealistic view of life too? Who in real life is going to get kidnapped by a cursed fairy or go to war with the rulers of the county because of their new magical abilities. Fictional literature isn’t always supposed to be a representation of real life! That is what non-fiction is for. Fiction is supposed to depict unrealistic views of life regardless of the genre.
I have found that it is not just a persons intelligence that is picked on either. A person who reads romance must be obsessed with sex or BDSM or controlling alpha-males. (Honestly, this list could continue but I think three examples is enough and you get the idea). Once again I am going to apply this to another genre. Does this mean that people who read thrillers about criminals are obsessed with criminals and criminal behaviour? I didn’t think so! Just because people like romance doesn’t make them sex addicts just like people who read books about criminals aren’t criminals themselves. If people who read thrillers aren’t judged like this though, why should people who read romance be scrutinised?
Romance has a target audience just like all literature does and not everyone is going to enjoy it. I understand that. It’s the judgemental opinions that really wind me up. Romance is going to have its target audience just like all other genres. Yes! Men are less likely to pick up a romance book just like an adult is less likely to pick up a children’s book. But if they do pick up a book that falls into a different category or genre that isn’t necessarily for them, they should not be given hassle for doing so. Surely, as a reader you should appreciate and respect that people are reading regardless of the topic. As big as the reading community is there are so many people out there who don’t read and won’t even consider giving it a try. Why would they bother when they see news articles on genres being slated? As an English teacher I have faced so many battles when trying to get students to read. It is so hard to do. If someone finally picks up a book and enjoys it enough to continue right until the end and then wants to read another book only to be criticised due to there genre choices it is very disheartening.
Just like in young adult fiction a woman can be strong and independent. They can have hopes and dreams and they can fight for what they want. Just like in horror the female character can overcome their demons. Just like in children’s literature the main protagonist can go on adventures and learn life lessons. The only difference is in romance people fall in love along the way!
I just think that people should stop judging others for their reading choices. Just because you might not enjoy the genre a stranger across from you is reading doesn’t mean you can berate them for it. If you hear someone say they love romance or they’ve just read an amazing romance book you could ask them about it with no judgement. You never know it might surprise you.
For now. My rant is over.