"Trashy romances"–NOT

» Posted on Jan 31, 2006 in Blog | 8 comments

Someone on one of my loops recently posted something from the Cincinnati Enquirer in its Better Health and Living supplement. The question posed was: Which scenario is actually more dangerous–a trashy romance novel or a documentary on public TV? Guess what, the documentary was because you use less calories watching TV than reading a book (also has to do with what we eat while we are watching TV which we usually don’t eat while reading). That’s great. I’m all for reading a book, but why in the world did the writer of this article decide to insult romance books (therefore its writers and readers, too) by calling all romances trashy?

I don’t feel I write trashy romances and I don’t read trashy romances, and yet I write and read romances. For some reason the media in the past has been responsible for putting down people who write and read romances as though the books are inferior. Usually these reporters haven’t even read a romance. It’s just the thing to do. It seems like good press to them for some reason.

First all, how can you generalize like that? That would be like saying all science fiction books are trashy or mysteries. Yes, there are probably of books that are romances who someone might classify as trashy but not all of them–not even a good part of them. Most are good stories with a happy ever after ending (and believe me, life has enough sorrow in it that I don’t want to have it in my books, at least not when the story wraps up–I want to know these two people have managed to overcome the obstacles to make their love work). Romances celebrate the beauty of a loving relationship.

Second, the dictionary defines trashy as worthless and offensive. Just reading that definition and then what the question was makes my blood boil. Celebrating love and relationships are offensive and worthless? That makes me wonder what kind of love relationship that writer is involved in, if any.

So please, reporters, before you just slap anything on the paper making fun of readers of the largest genre, think about what you are writing and its effect.


  1. Margaret, I heard someone say once that romance novels are written by women, published largely by women and read by women. The reason they get trashed is rooted in sexism. I don’t know it that’s true, but I like to think it is.

  2. Excellent, Margaret! You hit the ol’ nail right on the head.

    To say all romance novels are the same (i.e. trashy) makes no more sense than lumping everyone of any background together…and judging them all by the behavior of a few. To do so isn’t just unAmerican … it’s not CHRISTIAN.

    Are readers who choose novels–romance or other–that aren’t written from a spiritual perspective ‘trashy’? Are hard-working authors who write books that are not categorized as inspirationals ‘trashy’? If the answer to these questions is NO, how can the books, themselves, be considered ‘trash’?

    What IS trash, anyway! Is it the stuff I drag out to the curb once a week? Is it prejudice and bigotry? Is it an inability to accept others who are different from ourselves…or behavior of which we don’t approve?

    Trash is all those things, and then some. But it’s also a media-inspired attitude that THEIR way is THE way, and I pity the poor souls who have adopted this mindset as their own.

    Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

    Let’s all make our choices, based on heartfelt prayer, and leave the judging in the capable hands of God.

    Thanks, Margaret, for the wisdom of your words. Let’s hope YOUR mindset is contageous!

  3. While I can’t be as fluent as Loree, I do have to say I’m truly offended by this. While my taste in reading is across the board, I do have to say I’ve read some “trashy” books outside the romance genre. And by trashy I mean they were offensive to me as the reader, they promoted unmoral and grossly over rated values.

    And I would have to say to Mary’s comment, it’s not sexism alone, its ultra feminism. Woman who support this don’t want us to believe that we must rely on a man for love and affection.

    As long as the romance is clean and spirit filling, I want to read it. I am displeased with some of the new genres coming out, despite their HEA ending, what happens between the covers of those books do push boundries best not written about.

  4. Man, I hate that. That’s like Christians always being portrayed as hypocritical. I also agree with Mary, that it might have sexist roots.


  5. Margaret, thanks for taking the stand against these slurs against romance fiction. I think we need to get the name of the reporter and as a group send him several good books and dare him to read them. :0) It might be harder to slam them next time and maybe even gain a reader.
    At the very least we could all write him a letter and tell him what we think of people who are passing off their opinions as the truth.—of course there is plenty in the news about the consequences of that at the moment. :0)
    Then of course, I’m left with a nudge to pray for the poor soul. He is bound to catch plenty of flax for this blunder. :0)
    Jan Warren

  6. Well said, Margaret. Every person in my local writer’s group write erotica, paranormal, horror, and there is one other inspy writer, and another who writes for Temptation and another steamy line yet I know God asked me to be a part of that group…and yes that means I have to critique their stuff which means I have to read their stuff. The bonus is they read mine too. I try to love and not judge. I like a good story even if the blazen red books on my shelf do melt the covers of the pastel blue ones. LOL! Sometimes I read for inspiration and sometimes I read for escape. I read as much secular as Christian and I feel okay about that between God and I. If He asked me to write it I’d write it. Also I think more men read romance than would admit it and I think that number will increase. Squirrel

  7. Way to go, Margaret! What idiots. On a side note, I recall reading in RWR, when an author (I can’t recall who, but she was published) was asked by someone, “when are you going to write a REAL book.” She replied, “I guess when they stop paying me REAL money for my FAKE books.”

    People are just so single minded about subjects. It’s easier to be ignorant than to actually discover what their talking about sometimes.

    I have to agree with Loree too. What does trashy mean? Heaven forbid two people meet, get to know one another and fall in love. I mean apparently that is just a completely bad idea… Thank goodness not everyone feels that way.

    And they can call it trash all they want, but you know what, I’ll keep reading it and so will their wives, mothers, and daughters 🙂 If that makes me trashy, well at least I’m in good company.

  8. Margaret, I appreciated your analogy to other genres.

    I love science fiction. Always have. I grew up on Ray Bradbury’s stories, tempting me to new heights of imagination and physical principle.

    There’s a lot of awful sci-fi out right now, mixed with some two-thumbs up good stuff.

    The same goes for romance, inspirational or not. I love a well-woven story line and yeah, I’m a HEA kind of girl for the most part.

    But I like to think as I read, so a poorly written love story won’t hold my attention.

    In The Sound of Music, the mother superior told Maria, “The love of a man for a woman is holy, too.” We know that. We celebrate that as women and writers.

    (Which doesn’t mean my husband has a clue half the time, but that’s the nature of the beast and topic for a totally different blog. I think it would be entitled “How Venus blew up Mars on a really bad hair day when he forgot to rinse the sink and run the dishwasher”, or something like that.)

    Thanks for opening your blog to a discussion like this. You rock, Daley!


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