Wendy Duren posted a link to this article about Lauren Willig, and really it isn’t too bad considering it’s a mainstream publication covering something related to romance novels. But certain turns of phrase in this article have given me a pretty good case of Sand in the Vagina syndrome. You’ve been warned.
As Wendy herself noted, the use of “trashy romance” here seems completely unwarranted:
It seems a natural progression for a woman who got in trouble in the third grade for bringing a trashy romance novel to school.
OK, I know we have “Trashy” in our blog name too, but look, it’s kinda like a gay man calling his gay friends “queens” or “fags.” Or even a breeder like me saying something like “God, nothing more I hate than a fag on the rag” to my friend Garrett when he’s flipping out over his new hand-made rug getting its pile rubbed the wrong way. On the other hand, there’s a whole other dimension to those words when the person who uses them is a shitstomping homophobe who cheered when Matthew Shepard was killed.
OK, did I just compare homophobia to romance novel reading? Glurk. OK, just to make sure we’re clear, these two are NOT EVEN IN THE SAME UNIVERSE in terms of seriousness, but still, y’all get the sense of what I’m trying to say? Being “in the community” gives people a certain amount of leeway that generally isn’t afforded to people outside the community. And even then I know some people aren’t particularly thrilled with our decision to use the word “trashy.” (But interestingly enough, I have yet to see anyone saying anything about our use of the word “bitches.” Huh.)
OK, so that’s not even the worst of the cause for my current case of Sand-In-Vagina-itis. This quote, right here? UGH.
“There is a perception that romance novels aren’t intelligent books, that the only people who read them are stay-at-home moms. That just isn’t the case,â€ Chittenden said.
WHOA THERE. First of all: need we bring up the stereotype of the idle housewives wearing pink satin bathrobes and reading their romance novels featuring an “airbrushed Fabio” while munching on bon-bons? Because really, that is so 1986.
Second of all: Stay-at-home moms are somehow more stupid than a woman who decides to work outside the home? I mean, ARE YOU SHITTING ME? I have a good friend who’s a stay-at-home mom, and she’s creepily smart. Do NOT try to engage her in a discussion about Old Testament scholarship, because she will kick your ass. Even now, even though she got her BA a year ago and she doesn’t have to turn in any more papers, she will read big, clunky textbooks for fun—and make notes. And ANNOTATE. But wait, she doesn’t read romance novels. That must be what has preserved whatever IQ was left her when she decided to put off law school and look after her little sprogs instead.
And you know what bugs me a lot, too? How the article just reeks of condescension. “Oh, how NICE that people with brains are reading and writing romances. Who would’ve thought people who read those heaving-bosom novels cared about accuracy?”
Gah. I’m off to cleanse my palate with some bon-bons now. Too bad pink satin bathrobes violate my company’s dress policy.