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Topic: Prejudiced against romance?

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Subject: Prejudiced against romance?
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 12,776
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My mother seems to be prejudiced against romance. She has made comments like, maybe you read those books because you are missing something in your life. Maybe you are trying to escape reality. Stupid stuff like that, even if its all true. (Sad to say, my husband is not a millionaire, a duke, a vampire, or a werewolf, nor does he have the body of a 20 or 30-something athlete!)

I get the impression that she has an attitude like there is something wrong with reading romance! What would she say if she knew about my kinky sex books!  Maybe I should leave a stack of Jaid Black books lying around next time she visits. Or Lora Leigh's Bound Hearts books.

I have learned so much history by reading historical romances. I have learned a lot of everything. (Including sexual positiions haha)  Just because other people enjoy reading non fiction or "real" literature, doesn't mean what I read is of lesser value. If they want to read that kind of stuff, great. Me, I'd rather use it for toilet paper than read it. I am so irked by this attitude against romance books!!!! I guess there is nothing I can do to change her. She is like 70 years old LOL


Date Posted: 3/4/2009 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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Any kind of fiction could be interpreted as escapism by someone who doesn't have much appreciation for the genre.  If she reads mysteries, you could tell her that her life must be lacking in intrigue & excitement:P  You could say the same thing about movies, for that matter.  My mom used to wrinkle her nose at my stacks of smutty books, but she never missed a Danielle Steel made for TV movie either - the hypocrite:P

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2007
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Anne, my mom used to read romance too, but now she wants nothing to do with it.  She's also early 70's so romance and sex maybe don't interest them anymore?  You are right though about people downing romance readers.  I read for enjoyment and escape and what's missing.  I admit it.  I don't read to learn, but if I do in the course of reading my romances that's cool too:)  I don't much care for Sci-Fi.  Now there's some TP!

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
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I suppose alot of people are down on romance. Whatever their reasons might be, I think one of them is they take themselves way too seriously. lol

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
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Hey! Don't make fun of sci-fi! In my family that's what I get teased for reading! 

Other than that, it was my mom that introduced me to the romance genre. :)

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
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I suspect that some medications do wacky things to libido.  I wonder if the 70+ ladies who are looking down their noses at Romance novels are on meds that might make them care less about sex and romance?  Just random thoughts...

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
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See, science fiction/fantasy is fine in my family.  But there must be something missing in my life, since I read romance??? Please. There is plenty missing from my life but that is NOT why I read romance LOL! I'm human, I always want more than what I have! I can't afford to buy a ranch and stock it with cowboys, err, horses, but I sure can enjoy reading about one. It sucks, I think, that sexy cowboys are missing from my life. Dammit.

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
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I work at a university, so reading romance novels is my dirty little secret.  Everyone here looks down on romance novels, which is sad.  I mean, I love reading about love.  What do these bitter old people have against love?  :)

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2008
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Yep, the fact that romance books are so looked down upon is annoying for sure.   I'm with Kim, in that all fiction could potentially be judged as escapism - or worse, junk food for the mind.   Personally, I could give a giant rat's behind what people think, but then again, I don't have someone poking at me about the subject.  Depending on what was said, I don't think I could easily shrug it off if it happened more than once or twice.  If it's just good natured ribbing, that's one thing. I can laugh along with that.  If it's of the judgemental variety though, like there must be something wrong with you or your life to draw you into reading such "trash", then watch out.  That's just wrong on all sorts of levels.  I'd want to take someone like that and turn the tables on them.  Unless all they read are textbooks and watch the news and/or documentaries, they have no room to talk.   Personally, I think the people that gripe the most about it are the people that need it the most!  They need to lighten up, take a chill pill, and rediscover some fun in their lives.  Maybe then they wouldn't have the time or inclination to look down their nose at someone's reading habits.

LOL  Speaking of  Sci-fi , I love it but goodness knows, if you say that to the wrong person, they assume you're a complete and total nerd with no life and several sets of Star Trek costumes hanging in your closet - that you wear frequently!  LOL  By the way, I don't have any!  ;-)

Last Edited on: 3/4/09 1:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2008
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My ex-husband told me that I had unrealistic expectations because I've read one too many romance novels.  HA!  (Talk about looking for a scapegoat)
It really bugs me when people complain about or ridicule those of us who read romance.  What's the big deal?  So I like reading about a sexy guy in a book that just about guarantees a happy ending.  I'm in love with the concept of love.  Each book has a different journey, the H/H fall in love in a different way, at a different pace, and if there's some sexiness to the story, that's even better! 

I can't say that I won't read anything else, but 99% of what I read is definitely romance.  What's the point in spending hours upon hours reading a book if you're going to get mad at the ending?  lol  I like knowing that in a romance book, love conquers all.

Luckily my husband now has no complaints.  My reading leaves him more tv time...lol.  And since my tastes run toward steamier books, it's not exactly a hindrance to our sex life.  ;)


Date Posted: 3/4/2009 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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You know, I think former romance readers from the 70's-80's are probably the worst when it comes to misjudging the genre anyway, because that's when most of the bodice ripping trash was written:P  A large portion of those books were rife with rape & brutality, a lot of adultery, etc.  It's one of the things that makes me so leary of going back & checking out old  romances I haven't read before.  I'm sure a lot of people think the genre hasn't much changed over the years, and we really only know better because we read it.  When I finally got my sister to start reading romances again, she was shocked at just how much they'd changed over the years.  She used to read a lot of Rosemary Rogers back in the day:P

Last Edited on: 3/4/09 1:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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Oh I remember the 80's and reading Rosemary Rogers, gave up on romances after that. Two decades of SciFi and Fantasy later I found romances again ( bought a book because I liked the cover ) and i love it. They have changed a lot since the old days, so many more sub genres and I could not be happier. Do not care what anybody thinks and from the all the swapping going on at work there are a lot more of us coming out of the closet so to speak.


Date Posted: 3/4/2009 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2006
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"She's also early 70's so romance and sex maybe don't interest them anymore? " 

Have you seen the STD-rate in nursing homes/assisted living places?  I know we don't want to think about grandma and grandpa having sex, but ...

But back to the topic of those who criticize others who read romance ... just site the study that shows a 30% increase in bedroom action for those who read romance novels (and their partners).  Something missing in my life?  I don't think so, unless it's enough hours in the day for reading and ... other stuff. 

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
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heh.  my grandma read Harlequins right up until she just couldn't see well enough to read any more.  ;)  actually, that's where i got a lot of my romance when i started reading it originally - my grandma and her sister-in-law would exchange these huge boxes of Harlequins a few times a year, and i got to paw through the ones that both of them had read already.

my mom doesn't read romance, but she doesn't give me a hard time about reading it.

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/22/2008
Posts: 16
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Hello.  I'm new to Paperback Swap, and this is the first time I have posted a reply even though I have been reading some of the discussions.  I used to be one of those people who scoffed at romance novels and gave my mom a hard time for reading the bodice rippers (she is a reformed Small & Henley fan).  I was strictly a mystery & "serious" literature reader for years.  Then I found myself bedridden with a massive blood clot and completely at my mom's mercy for reading material.  Opportunist that she is (lol) she seized the opportunity to force a romance on me.  She gave me Garwood's Ransom to read, and I was hooked.  That was 1999 & I didn't read another romance until 2004.  I admit that for me it was a bit of embarrassment that kept me from reading more.  I live in a very small town & our local library practices what is, in my opinion, a form of censorship.  They only purchase light romance novels, and will not get any that have what they consider explicit sex.  The shelves are heavily laden with Christian fiction, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, there are many around this area that do not enjoy that type of book.  When you do check out one of the few older paperbacks that they have, that they consider racy, they look at you like you have just slapped them in the face with a Hustler magazine. So for me, I had to overcome an almost puritanical mind set and forge ahead.  Now, I'll march into the neighboring Books a Million a few towns over and buy whatever romances I please without a single thought as to what any one might be thinking about me.  Incidentally, my mom, who is 62, only reads Garwood romances now and is almost strictly a mystery & thriller reader.  She gives me a hard time for my growing collection of historical romances.  I think it is very narrow minded of people to judge another person's reading material.  My best friend and my sister-in-law are hooked on the Twilight series.  Neither one of these women had read a book since we read The Great Gatsby in high school.  My mom thinks there is something wrong with two 30 year old women reading young adult books.  Myself, I applaud any book, regardless of the genre, if it motivates people to read.

Oh, Anne, you mentioned Jaid Black in your post.  I have heard this name mentioned a lot lately.  Are there any titles you would recommend? 

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 2,164
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Ahh, yes.  The prejudice against romance novels.  Unfortunately my best friend will give me a hard time about reading them.  I don't bother defending myself, but I did stop reading them around her.  We worked together too until she quit a few months ago after her baby was born, so I had a whole stack of "work appropriate" books that she wouldn't make fun of.  Now that she's gone I read whatever the heck I want to at work.  I don't care what my remaining co-workers think of me.  My family doesn't really comment about the books I read, although I am careful to only read ones with decent covers (no half naked couples lolling around, etc.).  I don't live with them so it's no hardship to pick these for my trips home. 

In fact, none of my friends read them which disappoints me sometimes.  Like when I'm thinking that the RT convention would be a blast to go to, but who would I go with, and other times like that.  I had a college roommate for 2 years that read them and we were constantly trading books and I kinda miss that.  (She lives here in town, I should just reconnect with her. ) 

Buying wise, I don't give a rat's behind what the bookstore employees think about my buying habits.  And I've recently started buying erotica in the bookstore, instead of only online.  I will admit to not browsing the erotica section when there are guys around and I won't buy ones with sexually charged titles (i.e. - Big Spankable Asses, or whatever that one was called).   But I do buy them.  I figure I don't know these people, who cares what they think of me. 

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I visited my great-aunt a few years back and she had a romance out. If I'd had the nerve we could've talked about them, but I wasn't quite up to it. ;-)

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 12,776
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The next time my mom brings this subject up, and she will, I am going to mention the lack of sexy cowboys in my life. Maybe that will shut her up! If not, I'll mention the narrow minded attitude. Maybe that will work. I shouldn't have to defend my reading choices!!! Sometimes it is hard for me to know how to answer things that she says.

Amanda, welcome to PBS and glad you joined the forums! Jaid Black is pretty hard core erotica. I particularly like Death Row, and she has some stories about Vikings living underground in Alaska that I have enjoyed, also. In fact, Deep, Dark & Dangerous is one of those, and it is actually available! The Trek books are probably good, I have only read one so far, I think.

Date Posted: 3/4/2009 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 1,950
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When someone starts that with me, I always do one of two things...I either say "Alright, so you don't enjoy romance, what literature do YOU happen to be reading at the moment? Let's discuss!"  Most of the time I just get a blank look with that one, or they will mumble something about John Grisham or some other total hack author. Or I will say "Well, of course I read romance! What could possibly be more interesting than the male-female dynamic, and how the sexes relate to one another in life? Plus, they are so pro-feminist! The woman always wins!"

During these kinds of discussions online I always point them to these articles by Jenny Crusie and tell them to read what a woman with a Master's in Professional Writing and Women's Literature and a PhD in Feminist Criticism has to say on the subject!

http://www.jennycrusie.com/essays/defeatingthecritics.php       http://www.jennycrusie.com/essays.php

Amanda, welcome to PBS! Libraries will usually do an inter-library loan from other libraries, so hold your head up high, and ask them to order what you want to read!


Date Posted: 3/5/2009 12:44 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I remember for a while when all the romances had pictures of flowers or pottery on the front.  Lots of teapots.  I think this was an industry wide attempt to remove the man titty from the front of the books.  To make it less embarassing to read in public. 

My local UBS still won't buy much romance.  Has to be under a year old and in excellent shape.  My two local independent bookstores have tiny romance sections.   Rather than being in a small town, I'm in a leftist college town.  Same prejudice, just different reason.  Hey folks, I have a brain and I read romance.  And I'm no longer ashamed of it. 

After all, Pride and Prejudice is a romance. 

Last Edited on: 3/5/09 12:45 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
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Any kind of fiction could be interpreted as escapism by someone who doesn't have much appreciation for the genre.

I couldn't agree more.  My sister loves sci-fi.  Is that realistic?  No.  Neither are a lot of mysteries or medical thrillers or...or... or....  Romance at least has some degree, more I'd say than any other genre, of "reality" to them.  MOST people fall in love and can appreciate and understand the feelings associated with that.  I'd say anyone who is very down on romance is either in the closet about them or just hasn't read a fantastic romance like Ransom (Wow Amanda!  What a way to be introduced to romance!) or Outlander or any one of the many wonderful books out there.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
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I think it's the cheesy covers that keep a lot of people away from romance.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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My new goal in life is to find some book in the Romance genre for every woman I know.  I live around a lot of New Age kind of gals.  I have been pushing things like Fast Women and Welcome to Temptation on them.  And some of the women I know raising little kids NEED the excape so I am getting them to read the Sookie Stackhouse series.  My nieghbor and my Mom both said that they always thought that Barbara Kingsolver was a Romance Writer (like that is a bad thing!).  I got them to read Prodigal Summer and Animal Dreams and they loved it! 

Reading fiction is an escape.  Reading Romance fiction is no different than murder mysteries or historical fiction about wars and such.  It is all escapism.  THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT. 

Date Posted: 3/13/2009 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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My husband doesn't think much of my reading romances, but when he reads fiction it's those goofy (in my opinion) loner ex-military super-macho misogynist hero who is apparently the only person the POTUS can count on to save the country type books. Those are certainly less creative than most romances I have read. Plus he doesn't seem to realize the "bedroom benefit" he's getting ;) from my taste in fiction.

As far as I'm concerned, those who think they're superior because they only read "serious" fiction are kidding themselves - if it's fiction, it's entertainment, doesn't matter the genre. And romance fiction can be and often is just as intelligently written as any other work of fiction. It's not the genre that makes a book good or great, it's the author and the intelligence, creativity and passion they bring to their work.

Date Posted: 3/13/2009 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
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Grace - try your husband on The Unsng Hero. ;-)