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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Romance Rant

Just in time for Valentine's Day, right? ;)

Let me confess something. Six or seven years ago I would not have pictured myself as a romance writer. I knew that I loved to write those sweet, swoon scenes into the YA novels I was writing, but I didn't consider that my genre. And another confession--I sort of agreed with a lady in my ward then who called LDS Romances "literary fluff."

But friends, hold on to your pitchforks a moment. I was ignorant. I hadn't read a lot of LDS romance at the time--honestly, I think my only interaction with the genre was a couple books I found in a bargain bin when the LDS Bookstore went out of business in Laramie. So. Yeah.

Since then, not only have I broadened my horizon and found a lot of amazing romances out there--both in the LDS niche and out--but the category itself has come a long way. Romance, as a genre, has had a big surge. It's become a lot more popular in recent years, and much of the writing in the genre is just as superb as any other--which is why it shocked me to come upon a blog post throwing it into a big pile with pornography.


The site (which, most the time, I actually applaud for the awareness they're spreading about pornography and how it actually affects people and relationships) published a post with some statistics that ran along the lines of a percentage of males and females read romance novels, read sexually explicit magazines, or visited sexually explicit chat rooms or forums.

Based on that right there, I am in the percentage of people who do one of those three things. (Pssst. If you don't know me, I read romance novels, not the other two.)

Now this is not the first time this site has spouted this stat. Last time I ranted on my sweet SILs Facebook post on it. That's not nice. This time I'll say what I think here on my own space.

In case you are among the masses of people who don't know this: Romance DOES NOT EQUAL Pornography.

Yes. There are genres of romance that are sexually explicit. (It's called erotica.) There are novels all along the spectrum--"sweet" romances, which are clean (no sex, usually not even implied), to the erotica, and everything in between. When the site spouts this stat, lumping all romance in there,  it's like saying (as a dear friend and fellow romance writer put it), "##% of people have watched a movie, watched a pornographic movie, or viewed pornography online." Because yes, certainly there are movies out there that are pornographic, but certainly not ALL.

I know. I shouldn't get hung up on that one line of a message that's, in general, good. But as a romance writer, I'm just insulted. This is degrading to me. I do not write pornographic books. I know dozens of other romance writers who do not. I know of hundreds--thousands--of awesome, lovely romance novels out there. (Anybody heard of a certain lady, Jane Austen? Romance novelist.) Many of us care a great deal about how women are portrayed in the books we write. We fight to overcome cliches of the genre and misconceptions people have. We work to make our characters people our readers want to really know, to make the conflicts real so they resonate with people. To insinuate that our work is just the same as the trash out there that degrades women (and men too!) and makes them objects is the worst thing you could say to me about what I do, and I will (obviously) take it personally.

One more time before I leave you at that: Romance DOES NOT EQUAL Pornography.

Thank you. Rant over. *steps down from soapbox*

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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