As with many things in this world, misogyny provides a tidy explanation

As with many things in this world, misogyny provides a tidy explanation

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone squirreling away their copy of A Game of Thrones for fear that their good taste will be called into question. Meanwhile, every other GoodReads review of a Colleen Hoover book begins with the inevitable, “I don’t really read romance novels, BUT-” as though they must convince themselves and others that this is but a dip of the toe, and that they will promptly resume reading more serious things as soon as they finish their 3-star analysis of why two people falling in love is painfully unrealistic..

Surveys indicate that the clear majority of romance novel writers and readers are women. Many have observed the clear connection between the by women, for women nature of the genre, and its perpetual role as the butt of a joke. Some detractors take this loathing even further: Conservatives, often of the religious variety, claim that romance novels have addictive properties, making women lose focus on values like simply accepting your husband is bad at sex. Even doctors have decried the impact of the romance novel on their work, expressing a desire for their patients to keep the fiction out of the consulting room.

In the publishing world, romance novels have been perpetually subjugated by their more literary cousins. Yet, despite the romance community playing nicely in their corner of the sandbox, they are regularly called upon to defend their honor by writers and editors who would see their passion as meaningless. Early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft urged women not to read “such flimsy works” by “stupid novelists,” and advanced the notion that women would only be equal in the eyes of society if they pursued more serious works.

Here I am, completely reinvigorated in my love for reading and writing thanks to several thousand pages filled with crystalline character studies, incisive dialogue, thought-provoking social commentary, and yes-lots of very good sex

George Eliot felt even more strongly, and penned “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists,” a lengthy essay that makes liberal use of the word “drivel.” These views have persisted into the modern era. Continue reading