Feb 12 2013 8:15am

No Bodices Are Ripped! And Other Romance Novel Myths

Yesterday, we posted H&H Off-Hours: New Adults on the Block which featured one of us (ahem!) getting ranty about the term “bodice ripper.”

So—if you could change just one perception people have about romance, what would it be?

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Vanessa Ouadi
2. Lafka
That there's no valuable storyplot in it _ it's incredible to see how many people think romance novels are so superficial they should only appeal to dim-witted bimbos.
Megan Frampton
3. MFrampton
After the bodice ripper thing (which really makes me NUTS!), I would nix the "anybody can write one" comment. No. No, you couldn't.
Kris Kennedy
4. Kris Kennedy
Actually, I do like a ripped bodice upon occassion, :) but the term is meant to insult, so clearly it's gotta go.

I'm bored of perceptions like "formulaic"or "shallow" or "They're all the same" or "It's soft pron."

I try to smile and reply with things like, "Formulaic? You mean, it follows a defined structure, like a haiku?" or "People experience more intense emotions reading these books than they do at work, so I'm not sure what you mean by shallow," or "Oh, you must mean the ones YOU read are like that." They all work pretty well, but I love the last one best. :)
Mary Beth Bass
5. marybeth
That unlike every other literature genre or category (and all other art forms: music, movies, television, etc.) romance novels are without exception, terribly written. All of them. You don't even have to think about it! They suck en masse.

It's similar to the way it's still (almost) okay to publicly condemn big women for the freaking audicity of being themselves (see Rex Reed and Melissa McCarthy) and rooted in the same evil.

I'm ready for the base of misogny (and terror of female power) that supports all thought-free criticism and reflexive assesments of romance novels to get the hell out of Dodge.
Rakisha Kearns-White
7. BrooklynShoeBabe
1. That its all bodice rippers. Hey, there' not all historical romances.
2. That it somehow anti-feminist to read one. How is a book where the heroine is a woman who is accepting no less in love anti-feminist? And, are they not written by women.
3. That it is basically porn. Yeah, the hot guys on the cover catch my attention but all sex for sex's sake is unfulfilling.
Lori K
8. LoriK
That all romance readers are slightly dim-witted and read romance novels because they just don't have the brain capacity for anything more challenging.
Jena Briars
9. CutMyTeethOnKleypas
Any variation/mention of "formulaic" - "all the same" - "there's no thought put into them" (seriously, people have told me this) - make me pretty pissy. Especially if the comments are coming from someone who has never read a romance before.

I agree with @Kris Kennedy re: the haiku - and I remind the person that there are different ways to make Red Velvet cake too - not just ONE recipe or ONE formula - it's a damn good cake, but there are variations and differences. Or like different performances of Tchaikovsky's Overture of 1812 - if you don't get it with the cannon fire you're just getting ripped off.
Kris Kennedy
10. J-me
That the characters are perfect and unrealistic and they create a superficial ideal for disillusioned women that no man would ever live up to. It's romance sheesh, not 'life for dummies' further more these stories usually highlight the characters faults more than anything.
I wish that people would at least read one and then make an opinion.
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