Monday, February 26, 2007

Why There Blue Cars and Brown Cars

Around the blogsphere lately, there's been a lot of talk about book snobbery and sometimes the posts have caused a big backlash of idiocy in comments. If you're interested in some of the idiocy, check out Kristin Nelson's post. If you want to read a stellar cry for no book snobbery, check out Bookseller Chick's post on the subject. Now, everyone has different taste. That's where the title comes from - my husband is always saying "that's why there are blue cars and brown cars," and he's absolutely right. But I can't remember ever forming an opinion on another human being based on the color of car they drive.

As a romance writer, I run into snobbery from time to time. Most people have enough class not to do it to your face, but there's still the occasional eye-rolling from people who obviously think writing romance makes you stupid and blind. This eye-rolling is usually delivered from women who have accomplished absolutely nothing in life. They don't have careers, they don't have educations, they don't raise their own children. They just let a man pay their bills and they sit around not doing a damn thing. And if they all looked like Angelina Jolie or Eva Mendes, I guess it wouldn't be a total loss for the husband, but since most of them are overweight, frumpy, completely out of style bitches, I'm not exactly sure what the husband is paying for.

Then there's the other group of people - the one's who think no one reads romance unless they're "missing" something in their own lives. Huh????? Does that mean I love horror movies because I desperately want a monster or a serial killer living in my attic? C'mon people. Open your eyes and see something beyond your own narrow mind. Most of the women I know who read romance are happily married, but maybe they want to remember the journey of falling in love because, IMHO there's no greater journey on earth. Tolkein may have written an epic journey, but finding that ring and destroying it was far easier than finding the right man and getting him to cough one up. :)

I've also had some women specifically say that it's the sex scenes that bother them about romances, and that's where they wonder what is missing. Again, I make the arguement that nothing is missing at all - it's probably working so well for them that they like to read about someone else having it as good. And what in the world is wrong with women admitting they enjoy sex? It's like a big secret or something. My guess is the women who don't like to read about it, don't enjoy it and simply can't connect with those that do.

Essentially, I believe romance empowers women. It gives us the opportunity to believe that we can accomplish anything - any career, a happy marriage, a great sex life. And it guarantees a HEA (happily ever after). There's so much depressing crap on television - just watch the news one night if you don't believe me. I read for escape. I don't want depressing.

I'm not even going to make the argument for romance based on education and sales. If you've ever gotten your hands on a RWR report, you all know that romance constitutes the highest percentage of book sales of any genre AND way over half of romance readers boast a post-secondary education. But those statistics don't have the impact on the argument for romance that one would hope. Mainly because male romance bashers want to believe that only fat, ugly women who can't get dates are reading "those" books, and female romance bashers are too inhibited to admit they might enjoy them and afraid what people might think if they did.

Fortunately, I am one of those people who really, REALLY doesn't care what other people think, so I go about my merry way, never afraid to pop open the latest single title release or category romance I happen to be enjoying in any public place - movies, doctor, hotel, airplane, restaurant, etc.

For the male romance haters out there - your girlfriend probably reads romance and it doesn't have anything to do with you. Contrary to your belief, not everything does, hell, hardly anything does. And for those female romance haters out there, your very fixed attitude about a genre you've probably never even tried says more about your rigid, inhibited personality than I ever could. I can only say that you don't know what you're missing. And apparently, neither does your husband.


Tori Lennox said...

Preachin' to the choir, babe. :)

Seriously, people constantly amaze me with their opinions about books. Getting back to those Harry Potter bashers *g*, I happen to really enjoy murder mysteries. Doesn't mean I have any desire to go out and actually kill somebody. Or solve a murder. People are just plain weird. Except all of us, of course. :)

Anonymous said...

Try to find a copy of THE EGG AND I by Betty MacDonald. It is the basis for all the Ma and Pa Kettle movies of the 50's and is very funny. She says that a man can be friends with another man if they have only one thing in common, but that women are only able to be friends with one another to the extent that they approve of each other. I have thought about that a lot and think it is true.
I like to read mysteries and try to figure out whodunnit. In my dreams I am a famous detective. In real life, I am ordinary, unfortunately.
I have tried to write several books, only to have the thing die about page 60.
I admire your talent. People who criticise you may be jealous of you. Why not? You are a published author. You have a career that involves traveling, which may sound more exciting than it actually is to those of us who sit at home. You have a loving and supportive husband and family. You are able to hire people to do many of the boring chores that many people spent their lives doing.
We are not all created equally. I once worked 60 hours a week at two jobs and put myself through nursing school, an RN program. When I graduated, I had the attitude that if I can do it, anybody can do it. Not true. People who cannot read as fast or comprehend and retain information as well as I could not have done what I did. People with medical or physical mobility problems could not have done what I did. Everybody is criticised. The more successful, the more criticism and the louder the voices. Right now President Bush is in the hot seat. One of his most vicious critics may be elected. Then he or she will have a turn in the hot seat and nobody will like anything he/she does either. It amazes me anyone wants the job.
Be of good cheer and keep on writing those books. My daddy once asked me, "If a little dog barks at you, do you have to bark back?"
Ignore. Soak in a soothing bath and let the criticism drain out of you as the water leaves the tub.
Love you.

Jana DeLeon said...

tori - well, maybe I've wanted to kill somebody a time or two...... :)

anon - jealousy is only part of the explanation. Others are simply that stupid. Let's face it, professionals make things look easy that aren't. How many times have you watched a professional sport and thought "I could probably do that" then the first time you try - on a completely amateur level - it kicks your butt. Ignorance is one thing, but let's not talk crap about things we don't know.

Besides, sometimes barking back is my style. :)

Tori Lennox said...

Well, okay, I have wanted to kill people on occasion, but I've never followed through on it. *g*

Sassy Sistah said...

I don't have much patience with people acting snobbish about anything - much less about books. I figure those folks don't have much sense anyway and why bother with them?

I tend to like genres other than "strictly" romance - (although a romance included in the story is fine by me) probably because I've been through a terrible marriage, a lousy engagement and I don't believe much in "happily ever after" - for myself. I do believe in it for other people though! But I certainly don't "look down" on people who read books that are strictly romance - or anything else.

Sassy Sistah said...

P.S. I LOVED "The Egg and I" - I must have read that book twenty years ago and I've never forgotten it. I've even re-read it a couple of times. Wonderful book!

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