I've talked about this before.--and will no doubt rant about it again. The snobbery towards the romance genre absolutely infuriates me and smacks of ignorance and fear.
Romance is an extremely strong and powerful genre. Men and woman read it, in all heat levels, and some of the bestselling books this year have been romance novels. To dismiss it is insane.
A friend was snubbed recently because she wrote romance. And along came the inevitable tales of other writers being snubbed, not only by readers but by fellow writers. God knows, I've met enough arrogant writers to know that not all writers are sweetness and light, but let me tell you, the vast majority of romance writers are the most supportive, giving people you will meet. And honestly that seems to come with the territory. My friend will know I'm repeating myself as I said the same to her--romance readers and writers are the most open and positive people you will meet. They believe in a happy ending. They believe in fighting for something good and worthwhile. They're not scared to put themselves on the line when it comes to things that matter.
You may discount romance as fluff or kink, in it's various forms, but it's probably one of the few genres that are close to life. Generally you won't find Chuck Norris type heroes running around saving the world every two minutes, or serial killers being hunted down by a jaded detective every day, or a sassy female private eye managing to solve a crime no one else can every few months. I'm being flippant toward genres that I read and enjoy here, but do you see what I'm getting at? Romance happens every day, even in the smallest of ways. The things we do for one another--the peck on the cheek, that meal we just cooked, the chocolate bar someone just brought home for their other half... It doesn't have to be some epic love story and actually if you truly read and understood romance, you would see it's about the small things. Whatever their setting, these stories aren't fluff. They're a true reflection of live and all it's trials.
It's about triumph over obstacles. Not just in love, but in life.
So why don't we give romance more credit? If there's anything I want to teach my children, it's to fight for things and to know that you can achieve your happy ending, whether that involves falling in love or not! This is not for delusional women who are just looking for a way out of their depressing lives. It's for positive people with open hearts who aren't scared of believing good things can happen if you try. I know I'll be encouraging my girls to read romance.
Again I'm repeating myself but I believe the vast majority of the snobbery comes from a time when female writers were looked down upon and men feared the emancipation of women. They didn't like the idea of women's heads being filled with ideas that revolved around freedom, dreaming, fighting for and achieving things in life.
I hope we've come some way in the past few hundred years that we can put that crap behind us.
If you don't like romance, fine. I don't like horror. But I will always admire anyone who reads and anyone who writes. You are awesome because you dream and are open to new worlds. But don't look down on someone else because of their reading choice. If you do, you truly don't deserve to hold a book in your hands because you stand against everything books mean. Freedom of expression. By trampling on another person, you're destroying that. Don't like romance, don't read it. But do shut up about it.