Today I reacted just a tad sharply to a (probably very innocent) comment over at Dear Author.
Jane posted links to some daily deals, centered around ménage stories, and the comment asked if someone could please explain the appeal of these types of stories. I replied and then spend a while wondering what about the original comment (and another response to it) bothered me so.
People like, and dislike, tropes and themes, and sometimes all the open mindedness in the world won’t make you enjoy what doesn’t appeal to you–even when you understand why it does appeal to someone else. I know this and own to is, as there are plenty of genres and subgenres I won’t even try (how’s that for close minded?)
After some thought, I realized what bothers me about that first comment: it’s reminiscent of Ridley’s “aren’t we above these?”
We romance readers so often feel dismissed and diminished by what even those dearest and nearest think about our reading choices, it seems pretty stupid–and self-sabotaging–for us to keep finding ways to put other romance readers down.
Scratch that–for us women to always put women down. As long as it’s the other woman–the one who goes to church (that prude, narrow minded bitch), the one who parties (that drunk bitch), the one who flirts (that slut)–we keep at it.
And then we are horrified when we look around and realize that society looks down and fosters the dismissal of all women on the basis of arguments, comments and expressions that mirror our own. This is what we teach our children by example.