Sunday, May 10, 2015
Romance ... the most maligned genre in fiction
Romance...the most maligned genre in fiction
Why is romance, such a popular genre, still looked down upon by readers of almost every other genre?
This is a question that has bugged me for a very long time. It is okay for men to read mysteries, thrillers, westerns and other popular fiction for entertainment ... but let a woman pick up a romance for sheer, escapist pleasure, and out trot all the old chestnuts about bodice rippers, mummy porn and trashy books.
Is this bias because romance is generally written by women for women?
In earlier eras a bias against the novel of the day was understandable. In those times women were regarded as the property of their husbands or brothers, and marriages were arranged for them, for many reasons. Land. Money. To form or strengthen alliances between families. Or, often in the case of the Aristocracy, alliances were strengthened between countries.
In these times any thought that a young woman should have any say in who she could marry ... fathers had valid reasons for forbidding their daughters to read what they considered the trashy novels of the day. And while some fathers would take their daughter's feelings into consideration....to many men, such sentiments were irrelevant. Heaven forbid any girl should entertain the notion that she could actually marry a man and expect happiness.
This prejudice has followed romance fiction into the present day, despite the feminist movement and the great movement towards equality between the sexes, a decided bias against the romance genre still exists.