“Unrealistic expectations”

7 Sep

(Originally posted in the community section at MyMedia)

I’ve said it before, here and elsewhere: genre romance is the single most lucrative branch of publishing, and has been for nigh a century. In these days of shrinking profit, genre romance *still* bails out ‘literary’ fiction, by a mile.

Yet, it still gets shit on, constantly, everywhere. The media is generally shitty towards genre romance, with very few outlets even hiring someone half-conversant with the genre to write the ubiquitous ‘think’ pieces around Valentine’s Day, or during the June wedding season, or even to recommend summer ‘beach’ reads.

Rarely is such ignorance of the topic allowed when it comes to science fiction or fantasy or mystery or…well, any other genre. But genre romance? it’s either ‘mommy porn’ or flowery purple prose.

Why, though, is genre romance so maligned? Other than it being a genre written mostly by women, and mostly for women, where women are reliably at the center of the story?

Well, that’s THE one reason–explained wonderfully in this piece by Sarah MacLean for Bustle:

“Considering how often we hear ‘These books give women unrealistic expectations,’ it’s obvious that some people don’t want women to fantasize about satisfying sex,” says romance novelist Victoria Dahl. “The ‘unrealistic expectation’ seems to be a man who makes sure his female partner has an orgasm. Maybe even more than one. Maybe even before he has one.”

“It’s apparently dangerous to plant these ideas in a woman’s mind, because she might then demand that in her life,” Dahl adds. “She might realize that her real-life sexually selfish partner isn’t good enough for her. She might decide that she deserves pleasure.”

But once women begin thinking about sexual pleasure, things get particularly terrifying. It begins with sexual parity and ends… where? What will women want after orgasmic equality? Equal opportunity? Equal pay? Equality, full stop? (Answer: All of the above.)

Ah, yes. Madonna and whore–and how dare women want sexual agency and fulfillment publicly, and how much more beyond that will they dare demand?


2 Responses to ““Unrealistic expectations””

  1. Art Kaufmann 07/09/2017 at 11:12 PM #

    Not a topic I’m terribly familiar with, but my understanding has always been that the “unreasonable expectations” were all about some handsome man sweeping a woman off her feet and riding off into the sunset. At least that was what I recall from romance writing when I was much, much younger. I’ve never run into the attitude that Ms. Dahl posits, but then, I wouldn’t hang out with guys who had it.

    Please stay safe!

    • azteclady 07/09/2017 at 11:34 PM #

      No, you wouldn’t, which is why we’ve been friend for almost two decades!

      Thank you, and you as well.

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