Sunday, July 10, 2011

Romance makes your brain dirty

Stupid people have been around since the dawn of time. The internet has allowed them a place to speak.

That said, a few of you may have seen the recent article blaming Mills and Boon for sexual deviance in our culture. If you haven't, go here and get an eye full. (and thanks to my pals at Coffee Time Romance for sharing it with me!)

Aside from the fact that few romances these days offer up stories to the blistering criticism of their readers that have characters with no flaws or issues, there is also the suggestion that people who read are apparently easily led into whatever crap the author wants them to believe. Now readers (for those of you who aren't readers but for some reason are cruising author blogs) are intelligent folk as a general rule. I would like to suggest that people who spend their leisure time cracking open books to escape even temporarily to the worlds within are not choosing, say, to watch tv. They are also not choosing to sit and drool. They are making a decided effort to work out their brains and imagination to instead wander in a world of words.

Another good point that the article failed to see was that sexual deviance is not created when reading a book. It is another one of those decisions that you have to make. Sexual promiscuity is also not something you can get from a book. I have never gotten laid by a book. And believe me, there are tons of books in my house. You have to put the book down, find someone to shag and then you can be sexually whatever floats your boat. I think few people, in the throes of actual sexual bliss, are thinking to themselves... "Okay, now we gotta try that thing I read in chapter three. How am I gonna get my leg that high, I wonder?"

According to Quilliam in British Medical Journal, "The heroine being rescued from danger by the hero, and then abandoning herself joyfully to a life of intercourse-driven multiple orgasms and endless trouble-free pregnancies in order to cement their marital devotion (are) totally counter to those we try to promote."

Um. I have never read a book that offered 'trouble-free pregnancy." If I had, I wouldn't have believed it, even before I had kids. They call it labor for a reason. Even MTV's 16 and Pregnant, a show I am appalled as a parent by, does not offer the suggestion that pregnancy is 'trouble-free.'

And although I would love to 'abandon(ing) my(her)self joyfully to a life of intercourse-driven multiple orgasms,' I get that in real life these aren't the usual sexual encounters. They are fantasy. They are fun. It is FICTION.

If you can find a romance novel, I am pretty sure you can read the big sign somewhere around them or blatantly on the cover advising you that it is a work of FICTION and therefore understand that the story isn't true.

But let us for a moment travel down the road that has such easily manipulated readers on it. Let us give them a copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Will they suddenly feel the need to carry a towel where ever they go? Or perhaps let us give them a copy of a classic... how about Wuthering Heights? Do you think our intrepid reader is going to become as amazingly stupid as Catherine?

Or perhaps they should instead read Gone With The Wind. Because Scarlett is just what I want my daughter to grow up to be.

Literature has been plagued with unreality since it's inception. Talking animals, flying people, bloodsucking vampires and dashing heroes that have no other desire than to bring their ladies to sexual fulfillment while saving puppies and dangling from trees while showing their biceps. To suggest that readers are taking the information from fluffy romance novels and building up unrealistic expectations that lead to their ultimate demise or deflowering is beyond lame.

What really isn't realistic in our culture is our idea of what it is to be beautiful. We live in a place where women will literally starve themselves to death to be considered sexually desirable while surrounded by a land of plenty to the point of excess, which is ridiculous. In a world where people are so oblivious to their world that they are wondering why there aren't jobs when somewhere in the range of 90% of all our manufacturing happens outside our country, it is appalling to me that someone, somewhere is blaming the downfalls of a few on the literature they read.

I make my kids read 20 minutes a day, year round. I don't care what they read. Comic books, Steven King, Babysitters Club, I don't care. I am just happy they are reading. Which should be true of adults. You should be able to read what you want and not face censure because of it.

If you think romance makes dirty people, you should go out... just once and see what people are doing to people. Then pick up a book and be damned happy that there is an escape between the pages from the horrors of modern life.

Just sayin. *rant over*


  1. You have hit the nail on the head with this post. I'm sure there are a few very naive people out there, but I really don't think anyone is naive enough to believe that real life is anything like what we write as pure fiction. Thank you for this excellent post on the subject!

  2. Excellent blog, Virginia!

    I was laughing through most of it, cause the original article was just crazy...and you are so funny with your descriptions! :)

    Jane :)

  3. I love this post. I've never been in my husband's arms and thought, "Hmmm, maybe we should try this..." That article hit a very sore spot with me. I actually was one of those girls who thought that you had to be a certain way to get a guy, but because I read romances I learned that is not the case at all. Most men actually appreciate a woman who can think for herself, who is strong and independent, and can take care of herself. Because of these books, I allowed my true self to come out and I've never been happier.