12 February 2013

Attitudes to romance novels

Last week's blog looked at Maya Rodale's video on where some of our attitudes to romance novels come from. This week is episode 2 on the same subject :)

This episode from a radio program shows attitudes about "career girls" in the 1950s. Female workforce participation rose dramatically during the 20th century.

Ms. Rodale: "I  nearly spit out my coffee when I watched this video from the 1950′s in which a woman is rated a bad businesswoman because she reads romance novels and likes the idea of romance. For what it’s worth I know plenty of talented women executives who also happen to read romance. And I must add: telling off the boss and good in an emergency? Sounds like a romance heroine to me!"

I'll add that in many cases that attitude hasn't changed. I don't tell people at the work what I do on the side (write romance), because even telling them that I read romance makes some of them treat me as less mentally capable afterwards. 

Lastly, I'll let Ms. Rodale field the comment frequently thrown at the romance genre: It's just porn for women.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that romance novels are naught but misleading fantasies that delude innocent young ladies, pornography for the feminine sex, and rescue fantasies for idle women, all of which end in marriages that snuff out the feisty, independent heroine.
Or so we are encouraged to believe.
We readers know instinctively these stories are GREAT and that none of the above statements are true.  But have you ever wondered where these stereotypes come from and why they persist? Have you ever wanted to utter a devastatingly witty and smart retort whenever someone questions your preference for “trashy bodice rippers”?...
 ...One revolutionary element that sets romance apart from “Serious” Fiction is that the heroines have sex and do not die in the end....
...Politically and culturally we are instructed that we should feel shame for our own sexual curiosity and arousal...
...What’s wrong with a woman enjoying consensual love making with a partner of her choosing...
...Romance is not porn for women. Porn is porn for women."

Read full here

Next week we'll take a step away from romance, my penchant for cringing at romance covers, & look at sci-fi & fantasy's embarrassing covers instead. Hey, if you're going ot pick on genre's, pick genre's you love :)

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