Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Reasons Why We Love

Have you wondered why romance novels are so popular? Think about it, in a world where our celebrities are rarely known for their lasting relationships, where the next big blow-em up action movie almost always gets top billing, and when the news stories are all about sensationalism, murder and violence...is it any wonder that we have a need to find ways to enjoy the softer side of life?

Even in our own relationships, as happy and healthy and fulfilling as they hopefully are...the hectic pace of our everyday jobs and commitments means that romance and love often gets pushed back for later-but later only brings more and more stuff to lay on top of the ever growing pile of responsibilities.

But at the same time, why does romance get such a bad rep? Why are people so loathe to admit that they need to feel good every once in a while? Have we become so inured to the harsh realities that we stopped believing that there's more to lfie? Even though it's damn hard, things can work out for the best if you really try and want it badly enough, I think many of us do believe that. So why is it that we can't accept that love and sex and wanting a happy ever after are not things we should be embarassed about? They are after all, important to who we are as human beings.

Now I must admit, I have noticed that the way people see romance has been changing slowly. The stigma against romance authors and readers isn't anywhere near what it was when I first started reading, or even when I started writing. Great. At the same time though, the stigmas might change focus, but they seem to never go away completely. Just switch gears a little bit, which is too bad.

I say thank God for romance, for its popularity and its unapologetic celebration of love. With romance books flying off the shelves, authors to keep the genres alive for us, and readers who keep wanting more, we're more likely to stay true to our innate human nature to nurture and share ourselves with each other.

In the grand scheme of things, our world revolves around love. It's true. It has to be. If it didn't, what would we be reduced to? Imagine a world where money or ambition, progress and selfishness were of utmost importance to everyone (some might say we're almost there, but thankfully I don't think we are, although I'm pretty naive). Imagine if love was spit upon, if marriage did not exist as a binding of two hearts and souls. If love didn't enter the picture, what would happen to our children, ourselves?

(Photo: Pierre Auguste Cot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons )


Louisa Edwards said...

I agree, love is one of the universal themes throughout the history of art and literature. I believe the reason romance is still looked down on as a genre is pure dismissive sexism. It's fiction written (for the most part) by women and for women. But I think you're also right that attitudes are changing, little by little.

J.K. Coi said...

Thanks so much for commenting Louisa! Welcome.

You're so right about sexism being one of the driving factors when it comes to dismissing the romance genre. In this society, it seems too easy to make light of the values that women hold dear, and that's too bad.

terrio said...

This is such a thought provoking blog. Unfortunately, it requires more thinking than I can do this early and without my bagel. But I'll try.

Sex has been denegraded for centuries while violence has been accepted more and more. It makes me nuts. From what I've read and studied, much of it comes from men's intense need to make women the lesser sex. They fear women and the power they hold, much of which stems from sex and sexuality.

I have no idea how to change that, but I don't believe Romance writing will ever get the respect it deserves. Doesn't keep me from reading and writing it though. :)

Amy Ruttan said...

This is totally corny, but it's me and you know that ... AMEN SISTAH!!

J.K. Coi said...

Terri, you're already doing what needs to be done to change those stigmas...reading, writing, and not being ashamed of it. Thanks.

Amy, you're a doll. Too funny!

Maria Zannini said...

I admit I once avoided romance novels, thinking they were plotless sex stories. Then one day I had to catch a last minute flight and I forgot to pack a book. I stopped at the office before the airport and a coworker had a pirate romance on her desk.

I was desperate. LOL! So I borrowed it--and I never gave it back. I was hooked from then on.

I realize now I had been grossly unfair, judging books by their covers and not the depths of their stories.

I do find it interesting though that men see nothing wrong with looking at porn, but scoff at clincher covers on romance novels.

I've been trying to figure this out to no avail. This is an important subject, JK and I'm glad you brought it up.

Wylie Kinson said...

I can't add anything except to say I agree with you, and the commenters.