I’m feeling ranty today and this is the most innocuous of the sources of this feeling.
Dear Men of the world (book critics in particular),
Please stop mansplaining and hating on romance novels until you’ve taken the time to actually READ ONE. I’m not talking about the Harlequin serials from 1985. I’m talking a bestseller from intelligent, well-spoken, talented women like Nora Roberts, Tiffany Reisz, Kristan Higgins, Courtney Milan, Stephanie Laurens or any number of authors I could name. Do you hear us hating on male-centric genres like westerns or action/adventure? NO. I’ve even taken the time to read some of them and enjoy them. There’s dredge in those genres too, but do you hear us pontificating about how they’re ruining society or a reflection on maleness? NO. So back off.
Do I have my own opinions of Fifty Shades? Yes. Those of you who know me will know I’m thoroughly unimpressed with the quality of the book, but I understand and somewhat respect what its popularity has done for the genre I’ve adored since I was 14. But this hating on romance by men who want to feel superior is getting REALLY OLD.
The ever-wise Sarah Wendell can explain the source of this rant must better than I here. The most important part of this blog entry is when she quotes a Washington Post response to the ridiculous article that sparked this issue.
Here is a proposal Giraldi does not seem to have considered: Romance novels are attractive not just because they are a gratifying escape but also because they sometimes feel like a respite from from the significant hostility that a lot of literature shows women.
Men who try to mansplain romance are the reason we need it to exist. Men who write about the acquisition of a publishing company as if it were a TMZ sex scandal are the reason we need it. If you want to see the good romance has done for women, read some of my past entries. I wrote an entire thesis paper on it.
Okay. I’m done. For now.