Friday, July 7, 2017
Ode to a Romance Hater
Every few months, it seems, some douchebag feels the need to tell the world that the romance genre is trash. “It’s lowbrow.” “It’s addictive and dangerous to your health.” “It gives women unrealistic expectations.” “It’s formulaic.” “It’s sexist.” “It’s unfair to men.” Blah, blah, ad nauseam.
First of all, Douchebag McScreedwriter, romance readers don’t actually care what you think. They read romance because they like it. You can shame them all you want (and plenty of you have, including my college writing teacher in my Freshman year), but they’re just going to keep reading it.
As for the romance writers? We’re just going to keep writing it—for them. You see, Douchebag McScreedwriter, romance isn’t about you. It isn’t for you. We aren’t writing it with you in mind, and we don’t care if you like it or not.
We do care that you belittle our readers and malign their interests and intelligence. We care that our readers are infantilized and talked down to by smug, self-appointed arbiters of literary taste who, for the most part, have never even read a romance novel. Because our readers are awesome and smart and feminist and fully able to discern the difference between fantasy and reality all by themselves, and they are tired of your shit.
And do you know what happens in romance novels after your little screeds are published? We write you into them and find interesting ways to plot your demise. The Nazi that gets punched in my upcoming paranormal romance, The Dragon’s Hunt? That’s you, Douchebag McScreedwriter. I gleefully created a composite of Internet scolds and mansplainers and political douchebros and orange-faced baboon trolls—and, yes, literal Nazis—and I punched you in the face.
There’s nothing that pisses me off more than bullies. And you, Douchebag McScreedwriter, are a bully. In my current WIP, the hero’s job is to send the deserving to hell. So guess where you’re going next, Douchebag McScreedwriter? That’s right: straight to the devil. So buckle up, buttercup. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Jane Kindred is the author of the Harlequin Nocturne series, Sisters in Sin, and the epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.