No Shame in Romance
Somewhere within the time frame of “last week”, I was talking with a friend about how some people are ashamed of reading romance novels, possibly thinking of it as a guilty pleasure. This, in turn, led me to thinking about my role as a romance writer, not just a reader, and had me wondering if some authors of the genre, or even authors who’d like to write something in the genre, ever experience the same type of shame.
In the past several years, this attitude that reading/writing romance is shameful has alleviated a bit, though it hasn’t vanished completely, especially in personal settings (i.e., around family and friends). For example, I have a number of family members who don’t know what I write in specific (and I’m fairly sure some of them don’t know I’m a writer at all). This isn’t because I’m ashamed of the genre I’m writing, but more or less a question of content and being reluctant to let my mother read a story I’ve written descriptive sex scenes into! Not that my mom doesn’t know what I write. She actually owns my first three books in paperback! I simply told her that if she reads them, she’ll have to be wary of the naughty bits, because they are there and I refuse to hide it.
But let’s say you’re out in public, and you just purchased a romance novel with a cover/title that shows it. Would you crack it open and read while waiting on the bus? Or would you decide to wait until you were home? Would you have the stones to buy it in the store to begin with? Or would you rather look it up online?
Believe it or not, I’ve seen several people state that they’d rather wait until they were alone, regardless of their love of reading, before diving into the story, all because the cover or title would give everyone a hint of what it is they’re getting into. This may not be a problem for a romance with a cover featuring scenery and an ambiguous title such as, I don’t know, Going for Broke or something similar.
But a man’s pecs, abs, and low slung jeans on the cover of a story called Ride Me?
Perhaps a lot of this has to do with the way society at large views sex, and how most of us have been taught to hide or avoid topics related to sex, specifically in public–which is all well and good. But getting that scalding sense of indignity when a friend sees a book on your shelf entitled Do Me Dirty and starts ridiculing you for it is an entirely different story.
So the question becomes this; What’s so shameful or wrong with it?
Really think about it. Why is it so terrible to read a story about romance? Companionship, love, trust, and/or acceptance is something a vast amount of the world’s population wants to find, and it’s always nice to sit down and read a tale that involves people looking for the same things. Seeing how it all comes together in the face of adversity is enjoyable, and yet it almost seems as if that’s the very reason someone would be ridiculed. “Oh, you like those books, huh?” Or “Why don’t you try reading a real story for a change.”
That last one makes me hot under the collar like whoa–but! Different topic for another post!
The point is there’s really no shame in reading romance, and whatever’s left of this attitude that it’s somehow not a “real” genre of fiction or in any way lacking in comparison is what needs to change. So I wanted to post something for anyone who’s so inclined to use that might show off their love of reading romances regardless of the genre, which is located above. (Feel free to snag this image if you’d like :) ).
I’d also thought about making some smaller, static images for different genres, which I will if I get enough requests/the time!
Thanks so much guys, and I hope you enjoy your weekend! Cheers! :D