12 Arguments All Romance Readers Have Had
It's happened to every romance lover: you're peacefully reading your book, but inevitably, someone comes along and makes a snarky comment about your reading selection. No matter how hard you try, there are just those arguments all romance readers have had with the haters. Some people just don't understand.
Since the dawn of the first romance novel, romance readers have gotten a bad reputation. When people find out your bookshelves include Maya Rodale and Nora Roberts, they assume you have a house full of cats and a diary filled with stories of unrequited love. Romance haters seem to think that romance lovers are not only lonely and unsatisfied with their own love lives, but that somehow, they're less intelligent than other readers because we don't read "real" books. Out of any genre, it romance seems to get the most shade thrown its way, and so does it readers. So what gives?
The truth is, romance books make up a huge part of the publishing industry, and is the second largest category in fiction. Though they're all assumed to be exactly the same, romance readers are many, and diverse. They range from young adult readers to adult book club members, sorority girls to grown men. And romance novelist? Well, they're some of the most creative, hardworking authors around.
Unfortunately, those facts don't prevent these 12 arguments all romance readers get into with non-romance readers.
1. "Just because I like romance novels doesn't mean I'm stupid."
There is a common misconception that romance readers aren't intelligent enough to read high brow literature, but that couldn't be any more incorrect. Romance readers vary from doctors and lawyers to mothers and students. There is no one kind of romance reader, none of us are stupid, and we shouldn't always have to defend out intelligence.
2. "Happily ever after does exist."
Listen, it's no secret romance readers like a happy ending, but romance haters? They like to argue that there is no such thing. On more than one occasion, every romance reader has gotten into the argument over the possibility of riding off into the sunset and finding a happily ever after, but in the end, we know who is right and who is wrong.
3. "Yes, I know the story is fake — that's why it's called fiction."
For whatever reason, romance naysayers are quick to point out the fact that the love stories in our books are not real, as if we don't know what the word fiction means. Just because romance readers like getting lost in a love story doesn't meant they expect real life to work that way.
4. "No, romance and porn are not the same thing."
Another major misunderstanding non-romance readers have is that all romance novels are full of sex, sex, and more sex. While there are plenty of books that do, not all romance novels revolve around what happens in the bedroom.
5. "Romance books ARE real books."
Why is it that people who don't read romance always try and argue that they aren't "real" books? Is there something synthetic about them that romance readers aren't aware of? Romance books are just as real as literary fiction, biographies, science fiction, and everything in between.
6. "Not every romance book is the same."
Because it's a genre, many non-readers assume that romance books are all basically the same. Despite popular belief, romance novels run the gauntlet, from supernatural stories to mysteries to historical fiction. While there are certain tropes, themes, or plot devices that appear in many romance books, each is individual and unique, just like each murder mystery is different and unique.
7. "My reading choices have nothing to do with my relationship status."
Every romance reader is asked one of two questions: 1) Do you date a lot? or, 2) Is that why you're single? For whatever reason, haters think that romance readers are either perpetual daters because they're heads are filled with love stories, or constantly single due to high expectations. The truth is, romance books have nothing to do with our relationship statuses. We aren't that upset... well, not all of us.
8. "Feminism and romance are not exclusive."
Whenever people find out I'm a fan of romance reading, they ask how I reconcile my love for love stories with my feminism. My answer is short: I don't. Feminism and romance can coexist in the world, and within the same book. Romance books can actually be empowering, feminist texts — not everything is like Fifty Shades of Grey. Which brings me to my next point...
9. "Not every romance book is like Fifty Shades of Grey."
If someone has never read romance before, they'r inclined to believe the entire genre is similar to the Fifty Shades trilogy. Newsflash, romance haters: there's a big, wide open world of romance novels, including BDSM erotica books, but only a small portion of the thousands published each year involve whips and chains.
10. "I have perfectly well-adjusted expectations about life, but thanks for checking in."
There must be something about romance readers that scream, "Please, judge my life instantly!" Otherwise, not every one would have had to have the same conversation with a judgy non-romance reader over and over again about expectations and reality. Just because romance readers enjoy sweeping romances, epic kisses, and happy endings does not mean that we expect them to happen in real life. In fact, we know they probably won't, which is why we like reading about them in a fictional book. Is it so wrong to enjoy someone else's happily ever after?
11. "Not just anyone can write romance novels."
Just because romance novels are perceived as easy reads, it doesn't mean they're easy to write. Nevertheless, all romance readers have had to have this argument with non-readers who just don't understand the fine art that goes into creating love, sex, and emotion on the page.
12. "It's never 'just a book.'"
Romance readers and readers in general have all had this argument with someone who just doesn't love books the way we do. A book is never just a book, so just let us live, okay?
Beginning on August 1, Bustle will host Romance Novel Month , a month-long celebration and examination of the romance novel genre. But don't worry, romance readers: the coverage won't end in August. We're proud to support romance novels, and we will continue to do so all year long.
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