Earlier this week, I was trying to come up with a post to write about my Valentine’s Day plans. As I am currently not all that attached, my plans consist largely of time on the couch with a book. I actually started typing out a post, then changed my mind. I told myself I couldn’t write it.
I was going to write that I was likely going to be curled up with a romance novel. The type people sometimes call “trashy.”
I thought people would laugh at me for it. They would say that there’s no way I should read books like that when I read other high-brow literature. Those books are smut and only old widows should read those books, you know the lines. You may have even said them.
I’d lose followers and readers and that’s not what I want to do.
But, I read those books. I own quite a few of them, actually.
I’ve never included them in my to-read lists. I rarely talk about them. I don’t take them out in public to be read. All for the sake of avoiding judgment about them.
I think we all would like to think that we won’t be judged for what we read. But, we are. I remember when I told several of my friends (at different points and in different ways) that I had read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. (Poorly written, but I can see the appeal.) The vast majority of those friends, if not all of them, looked at me aghast. It was like I had just told them I had 15 toes or something horrendous.
All I did was say I read a book.
So, I stopped mentioning those books. I didn’t want to be considered to be whatever stereotype my friends thought people who read those books are.
Truth is, I’m a woman in my mid-20s. Don’t have a whole lot of romance in my life. What should it matter to anyone else if I read a book that I can put myself in and pretend like I have a little romance?
The answer is it shouldn’t. And yet it does.
We continuously shame our fellow readers into not talking about romance books. Yes, trashy romance novels have sex in them. So do the vast majority of television shows you watch and talk about. So do the movies you go and see with those same friends. Sex is sex. It’s a fact of life and it will continue to be as long as life exists… or until some person discovers cloning…
Reading a book that includes sex scenes or has a cover featuring an image of a romantic encounter doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you any less of a reader. It means you like reading books that involve romance.
Seriously, is there any woman who wouldn’t mind a daydream once in a while involving an incredibly attractive man who adores her?
The plot points might not be as developed, sure. Same could be said of a lot of books that aren’t classified as romance. But I enjoy reading those books. Lora Leigh, Maya Banks and Lori Foster are a few of my favorite authors.
I think it says something about us as a culture when we can openly watch shows that include sex scenes and it’s not a big deal, but we can’t talk about a book that features a sex scene in the same way.
It says something when major news shows, that pride themselves on bringing the news back into your life, spend entire segments (approximately 10 minutes) talking about the 50 Shades of Grey movie. But want to look at the trashy romance covers in the book aisle of the supermarket? Better think again. That’s only what *insert stereotype here* does.
There’s a market for those books. If we weren’t reading them, they wouldn’t continue to populate the shelves in the quantities and various qualities that they are. We are reading them–probably in the dark corners of our homes. They’re probably stacked up in a corner somewhere, not prominently featured on the bookshelf in the room that a guest might see.
And that’s a shame.
So, circling back. My plan for Valentine’s Day is to spend a good portion of my day on the couch, reading. And the book I end up reading may be a bit on the romantic side.
You see, I’m a reader of romance novels. And I’m no longer ashamed of that.