Jul 7 2011 9:45am

Holy Linkbait: The Mills & Boon Effect?!

Named for Harlequin’s UK arm. Via the Daily Mail:

...But the ‘rose-tinted’ novels are damaging modern relationships, a leading psychologist claims.

The genre may still account for almost half the novels bought, but its idealised love and sex give readers false expectations, insists relationships expert Susan Quilliam.

And although the stories can be enjoyable and fun, they encourage unreal expectations of a life of unbridled passion and trouble-free pregnancies, she added...

(So true! The last one I read made me believe I’d grow longer, stronger nails in just 7 days. )  Further, according to a TV agony aunt, “A huge number of the issues we see in clinics and therapy rooms are influenced by romantic fiction.” Yes, indeedy, and a huge amount of the stupidity I confront on a daily basis radiates from people who’d mistake advice columns for questions from real people, not sock puppets (interns) writing as Fergus from Ferngully. Quick, there’s a house fire, I’ve swallowed poison, my Aunt Fanny has a giant pain—write the advice columnist and twiddle!  Also mentioned, most usefully, is how condom-hostile romance readers are.  Um.... it’s only implied, however, that their/your/our sex ed is pretty lacking. Nevertheless, you will be relieved to know:

“I’m not arguing all romantic fiction is misguided, wrong or evil,” said Miss Quilliam.

Whew!  Read it all, and feel free to do a spit take and snort with your coffee, because this article stinks to me like pernicious linkbait.  What do you think?

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
You know, I just will never understand that attitude toward the genre or its readers.
Anna Bowling
2. AnnaBowling
I don't understand this attitude either, and from those who don't seem to have done the research. Note that the accompanying picture to the original article shows a mainstream literary novel.
maria cristina
3. maria cristina
Yes, and crime stories increase murderer ecc. ecc. Probably readers can be influenced by what they read but it has been always the same. If you read past authors they've talked a lot about books which influenced them strongly. Why we can't talk about good influencies? Romances could also increase intimacy or desire or, in general, good feelings, but we have to talk only about bad influencies. Surely you have to stay on your foot when you read about strong, beautiful and hard men but I don't think romances are guilty. Probably weak personality find more difficult to divide reality from fiction, but not only with romances...
maria cristina
4. Anette
What about the romantic movies and Hollywood? Why don't they add these too instead of only romance books? I know the reading allows you to produce the pictures in your head and by that you might relate to the story and the characters in another, more immersive way, but still - Hollywood should be on this "shit list" too! So typical scientists...

I mean - what the f*** do they expect people to do when the economy is in shreds, your private life haning on a wire because your husband is fired and your personal economy is wobly? People NEED to let the steam out - somewhere! And a book is a very safe place to do that. We can't always be happy-go-lucky, sometimes things in life are pretty screwed up - but to get through it all, you need a place to escape to - you need to feel something else than the constant worrying. Therefore romance novel are a very nice - and important - treatment...
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