Thursday, 23 June 2011

Warning - your reading habits may ruin your life

Another day another attack on women from the UK's bestselling tabloid. We're too fat, too thin, over indulge our children and neglect them as they get over sexualised by the TV we stick them in front of as we binge drink. Working mothers are evil, stay at home mothers lazy and as for single mothers, obviously they are too blame for everything that's wrong in society. Women sports stars/actresses/singers are judged on looks and bodies, men on their talent.
Anna Kournikova - the media were less than interested in her tennis skills

Yesterday they told us not to retire before our husbands because the poor dears can't cope if there isn't a good woman at home to care for them (actually, that one is even more insulting to men, my father does a great job of being retired. He even, shock, cooks and does the shopping although admittedly washing up is beyond him). Today they told us that we are ruining ourselves for real men with our dependence on trashy old romance novels.
Yes, as one poor city trader (a real man, ladies) angrily bit out “These books are responsible for the ruin of my last relationship!” Women today, eh? Apparently we expect men to bring us chocolates and flowers and to discuss feelings and know what we're thinking. As their 24 year old romance reader tearfully confessed she rushed her last boyfriend by expecting a house, dogs and land rover too quickly, thus bringing about the end of the relationship.
Well little Miss Romance Reader, aspirations are good but surely your aspirations are more those of a WAG than a romance heroine? Heroines today often have their own business, house, dog, car taking inspiration from Beyonce than Kanye West's Gold-digger “The watch I'm wearing, I bought it!” The Wag lifestyle may exist in a few bandwagon jumping novels but it's a lifestyle fetishised by reality TV and tabloids – just like the one publishing this article – rather than romance writers and readers. We like our heroines to be independent, sassy and ready to do whatever it takes to succeed in life and love, we don't want a passive kept woman whose Happy Ever After is a middle class, school-run utopia.
I'm not going to discuss the original pop-lite academia-with-an-agenda that prompted this article, look it up yourself and draw your own conclusions but I am going to ask – why women? Why is our every popular taste derided, pulled apart and sneered at? One non-standard romcom movie a year comes out aimed solely at women and its success is always a subject of amazement while Bromances, gross out comedies and action films starring scantily clad lovelies are two a penny and no one worries what they does to men. Men are allowed to read thrillers and SAS books where the beautiful heroine will always fall for the flawed hero, watch Top Gear andbe trusted not to drive their cars like reckless boy racers. Must be that sensible X chromosome.

Except of course this is nonsense, women are more than capable of distinguishing the difference between fantasy and reality, we do it every day. We read fantasy, paranormal, crime, travel, classics and lots of literary fiction. Many of us like to read all the genres, our tastes depending on our mood, and some of us like to stick to the tried and trusted. Just like the rest of our lives,
I will however leave the last word to the tabloid whose article provoked this rant. Women who read romance, apparently, are more likely to stay married than those who don't. I think that's one-love to the romance readers, don't you?


Grace Elliot said...

Just found your blog via twitter and loving it!
Grace x

Rose Red said...

Thanks Grace! If you follow me on @yrosered I'll follow you back - always good to swap tips with a fellow aspiring writer.

trossachs trundler said...

loved this ... I'm a soon to be published writer (so LOOVE saying that) so woo hoo, can i now say I contribute to our trashy-ness.
Methinks the so called tabloid 'writer' is running scared!!

Xandra James said...

Lol - this actually makes me laugh! If it's not 'Your romance book ruined my life', it's 'You must be old, blue haired and past your sexual peak to write them!' or 'romance readers are totally delusional'.

Me thinks romance readers and writers could possibly be the next big threat. Terrorists? Nah. Jessica Hart readers? Totally. ;D

lmao x

Jessica Hart said...

Yes, let's go get 'em, Xandra!

And well said, Jessica. It's just so tiresome and boring the way tabloids churn out the same old story over and over again (sound familiar, anyone?) when there's a much, much more interesting story to be told about why romance is so popular with women around the world. Gggrrrr.

Doris O'Connor said...

Great blog post and so true. It annoys the heck out of me, the way romance readers and writers get belittled all the time.

More power to us I say :-)