Critics have trouble taking fiction by women seriously unless they represent some distant political struggle or chic ethnicity…. But deep down, the same old prejudice prevails. War matters; love does not. Women are destined to be undervalued as long as we write about love…. We may glibly say that love makes our globe spin, but battles make for blockbusters and Pulitzers.
Jong (I just typo’d “Jung” – oops!) doesn’t necessarily offer battle advice, though she does offer some possible reasons why American women writers are marginalized based on subject matter. But there’s no path to eradicating the prejudice.
I would like to see the talented new breed of American women writers—my daughter’s generation—protest their ghettoization. We need a new wave of feminism to set things right. But we’d better find a new name for it because like all words evoking women, the term feminism has been debased and discarded. Let’s celebrate our femaleness rather than fear it. And let’s mock the old-fashioned critics who dismiss us for thinking love matters. It does.
Certainly, as Dr. Frantz points out, Jong’s call for action matches Robin’s assertions as to why Romance matters, and Laura’s examination of Rev. Melinda’s sermon on romance novels, love, and personal sense of worth.
Now that is a lot of reading-and-thinking material for a day off, eh? I think what makes me most pleased and causeth me to bounceth in my chair with glee is the growing number of vocal people who eloquently and intellectually defend and discuss romance novels as being important and equally worth critical analysis as any other subject of literature, despite or because of the many facets of prejudice leveled against them. It’s one thing to point to the sales figures; it’s another to be able to classify and examine individually the literary, historical and societal strengths of romance as a genre, and the latter defense of the genre is very very powerful – sort of the literary analysis equivalent of throwing the tea in the harbor.