It still ticks me off that romance gets such a bad wrap. And it’s usually a disparaging one at that! You only have to look at any industry sales figures, revenue numbers, really ANY metrics whatsoever to see how large the romance genre is compared to other categories. It’s a mammoth market segment any way you want to look at it. Yes, there are those out there disproving of popular fiction in general, but I think romance is in a class of its own when it comes to attracting criticism. I’m not sure there are any other genres out there where the type of reader is described with ridiculous generalizations and (wrong) preconceived ideas. I was actually told once that the only people who read romance are unmarried, overweight women who can’t get laid. Clearly, this guy was an idiot but it kind of sets the genre apart in my mind.
I wonder if it’s self perpetuated to some degree, even subconsciously? Is reading romance still done very much under the radar when in the general population? I’ll often see people sitting and reading all kinds of different books, but I rarely see someone reading a romance novel out in public and I do look! I myself may even be a guilty party. I was in a book store over the weekend and I always love to browse the romance section. Of course, right? Why then do I look around to see who’s there, who might be watching me, who could notice me walking those aisles? It’s kind of instinctive, and I’m trying to break myself of it, but it seems to be deeply ingrained. I think we’ve made great strides, but perhaps there’s still a long way to go.
So, I wonder…how proud are you of the fact that you read romance? Do you go out of your way to make it known? Do you just take it as it comes, but you’ll fess up to it or do you hide it as if your life depended on it?