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Does the romance genre owe society?
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
After reading and thinking about this thread I have a different perspective, I think: Yes, the the seemingly dreaded "thought-provoking" has occurred.

First, I want to avoid the terms "owe," "tolerance" or "acceptance" for the purposes of just this particular post.

Next, most everyone is using either the term "escape" or "entertainment" for why they like romance.

My first question is why does it seem that hardly anyone is hearing that this is exactly what NoirFemme and Not Quite Nicole WANT TOO? Seems reasonable to me.


Can you give me a specific example where it is implied that people are not understanding this? One that does not include replies that are addressing the original context of the topic please. I realize you want to ignore 'owe', 'tolerance' and 'acceptance' but if you're going to leave that out then you should leave out the replies that included people stating that they read for escapism and entertainment as well, since they were addressing the agenda behind 'owe', 'changing minds' etc. that was presented in the topic.

There is nothing unreasonable in wanting to see your own race reflected in the books you read. So if that's the bottom line of what you're trying to get across than I agree with you and I think most people in this thread would as well.

Quote:
My second question is why diversity within romance entertainment isn't possible? Seems entirely reasonable to me.


Maybe I've missed it but where has anyone stated that diversity within the romance genre isn't possible?

Quote:
My third question is why a homogenized community is necessarily any more entertaining than a diverse one? (Comfortableness? Puh-lease. Some of those small town books seem like something out of "1984" or a Stepford community to me--unbelievable boring, not to mention intrusive of any personal privacy. Obviously this last statement is JMO.)


I don't think anyone has said here that a romance novel with diverse characters cannot be entertaining. Again you are ignoring the fact that they are responding to the agenda implied in the original topic, the part you want to leave out. As for comfortableness, that can mean different things for all people and is personal to each of us.

Quote:
Next, even for fun, why would a reader not WANT to read about all kinds of people, especially when quite a few have complained vociferously about the unrelenting sameness of recent romances?


I've seen quite a few here including myself list books that have multi-race couples that they enjoyed. Though again, if someone doesn't want to read it that is their choice and there isn't anything wrong with that either.

Here is a quote from an earlier reply of yours that came across as quite arrogant to me -

I also forgot to say that I sadly believe that the people who most need to read multicultural books might be the least likely to seek them out.

Who are you to judge what anyone needs to read and especially in a romance novel? When you state it in this way to me it implies an agenda. It's not for you to decide what anyone needs to read, it's a personal choice for each reader that should have nothing else attached to it other than their own enjoyment.

Quote:
WHO SAYS a romance with a diverse cast has to have any more of an agenda than any other romantic comedy, a romantic suspense, a paranormal, a historical, or anything else? Why can't there be diversity AND genre choice--as light or as serious as any of the other romances?


There is no 'has to have', the responses have addressed the idea that the romance genre owes society more diversity or has a mission to change minds, bring tolerance, etc. The part you want to ignore in the original post.

Quote:
How many have tried romantic comedies or any other genre WITH diversity to make an informed decision if you would indeed like them? My guess is few because if you're like me, I hadn't seen any until I miraculously found one in a store. I didn't like that book, not because of diversity, but because the main characters, white and black, were both unbearably boring and there was virtually no plot. I plan to track more now.


Why are you assuming posters here haven't tried them or wouldn't wish to read them? And are we talking about other genres now? Are you again ignoring that most of the replies here have been to the context of the original post?

Quote:
But now that we have discussed this topic and are more aware, why not give it a try to see if you like it? Why the defensiveness? No one is saying WHICH book you MUST read, any more than you are told to read which romances you read now.

Don't you want to know more? What's out there?

Don't you want EVERYONE to have reading choices? And don't throw publishers into this since there already are SOME choices NOW if you go after a book the way one goes after an OOP book.


I don't know, this sounds like a bit of an attack to me so if you feel like people are defending their statements perhaps this is why. Where did you get the idea that any of us here don't want people to have choices? Can you back up this statement please? I'm trying to understand where you are coming from here but I can't grasp where you've gotten this impression.

Quote:
Finally, may I suggest when one thinks "diversity," don't limit that that to color or culture, black or white, American or Italian and so on. If any one different group can be made INVISIBLE, than every or any other group can be too--by gender, class, income, occupation, location, etc. YOUR GROUP. I think we each should care about our increasingly divided society on many fronts (politics and religion, et al) to take care of our own selves too--while entertaining ourselves.


I'm wondering why you feel the need to state this? It's quite the soapbox I'll give you that and I don't necessarily disagree.

Quote:
And, NO ONE can say it isn't fun or entertaining IF YOU HAVEN'T AT LEAST TRIED. If you try a book that is "uncomfortable," STOP reading-- it's just like any other book you're not enjoying, and then go start another book.
,


Is there someone in particular you are adressing here? I don't think I've seen a statement here yet from someone that says they've neer tried a book with racial or cultural, etc. diversity. Yet you feel the need to use shouty caps even. Very Happy

Linda
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some excellent replies, Linda. I've come to believe that the majority of the posters here at AAR (and also lurkers) are quite diverse in their reading. But we're here at this site primarily because we love romantic fiction, even though we take breaks from it once in a while. And we know what we like to read, voice our opinions on books, agree and disagree with others, etc. I love to hear suggestions and recommendations for books; but, thank you, I can take it from there. Ultimately, I'll choose what to read and why I liked it or not. Publishers need to continue to offer a smorgasbord of stories, scenarios and characters; but it's still up to the individual reader to choose what appeals to them. And that's okay.

If there are certain types of stories that are not prevalent enough in RF, then that needs to be questioned. Perhaps the publishers don't see a large enough call for them and believe they will not be profiting by saturating the shelves with those kinds of books. I don't have an answer. As we've said before, the bottom line is money and profits. If those elements are missing, then so also will be the non-selling books.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:


If there are certain types of stories that are not prevalent enough in RF, then that needs to be questioned. Perhaps the publishers don't see a large enough call for them and believe they will not be profiting by saturating the shelves with those kinds of books. I don't have an answer. As we've said before, the bottom line is money and profits. If those elements are missing, then so also will be the non-selling books.




I agree that there is not enough diversity in the genre, that it is lacking in that way, but the way I see it, this genre is lacking in many ways. It seems to operate within a tight box that needs to be burst out a bit, and this is why I read out of the genre. I enjoy reading romance novels quite a bit, but it is not the ideal genre to me. Perhaps with all the recent self publishing going on now, and quite successfully, some of those barriers will be broken. Like you said Tee, the bottom line is money and profits. It's a business, plain and simple.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:





Is there someone in particular you are adressing here? I don't think I've seen a statement here yet from someone that says they've neer tried a book with racial or cultural, etc. diversity. Yet you feel the need to use shouty caps even. Very Happy

Linda



Good points Linda. And who needs shouty caps? Smile
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I said up front in my last post I found the whole thread thought-provoking, then posed questions with a generic "you," pointing out no specific person. If what I said doesn't apply to you in particular, why the defensiveness?

And why now the attack on something I said much earlier on. Interesting.
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bookmark



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Does the romance genre owe society? Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Should romance take on the task of changing readers' levels of tolerance/acceptance?


Absolutely not. Fiction should be enjoyed for its entertainment value, which is all subjective as we all have different tastes. Now if romance influence people's views, then I think it's more of a side effect but it's not romance books' obligation. Personally, I don't think people like or dislike certain things in romance because they settle for less, in other words, lower (or raise) expectations because romances aren't that bad or great. Some are good and some are bad and a lot fall in between.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
I said up front in my last post I found the whole thread thought-provoking, then posed questions with a generic "you," pointing out no specific person. If what I said doesn't apply to you in particular, why the defensiveness?

And why now the attack on something I said much earlier on. Interesting.


Eliza, the reason I asked you to back up some of your statements with particular posts was because you posed your questions as if anyone said otherwise. It left me puzzled. Could you maybe give us a little credit here? Of course we would like for everyone to have choices and be able to see themselves reflected in the romance novels they read.

I did quote an earlier post of yours but then again I was puzzled by why you were posing some of the questions you did so I went back and read everything all over again to see if I missed something. I ignored that statement the first time I saw it but didn't the second time, perhaps I should have but it seemed relevant to your later post.

I apologize if I've hurt your feelings or if you feel misunderstood, truly.

Linda
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My feelings aren't hurt, but I am indeed discouraged by posts focused on individual, personal "escape" without nearly as much time or thought being given to the those-not-being-seen-or-heard part of the topic--the "invisible" or those much less seen. I truly thought I was suggesting that some might want to take another look or give it a second thought--why on earth not? But that's probably insulting too, right? Why revisit anything ever to see if something or someone could possibly have been missed?

If using caps for emphasis instead of italics, talking about anything being "thought-provoking" and having second thoughts in a discussion are cardinal sins, and there is more lively interest in what an imaginary duke might look like or if he ever opens his own door, than my posts clearly have been intrusions. Mi dispiace.
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Anne_Gresley



Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:50 am    Post subject: Does the romance genre owe society Reply with quote

Quote:
Mi dispiace.


Don't be sorry. I've really enjoyed your posts on this topic. And I agree that it's problematic to talk about what the romance genre 'owes' society (no offense to the OP). If the question had been phrased, 'should the romance genre embrace diversity?', I think the responses would have been very different.

Things have got a bit heated here. I think people are conflating the need for publishers/review sites to normalise diversity with the idea that readers should feel compelled to read the resulting books. No one should feel compelled to read books that don't interest them and I don't think anyone, either here or at DA, is suggesting that. But to ask the question- as Eliza did here- 'Well, why wouldn't they want to read them?' is a different thing. I don't think she meant to accuse anyone and I'm sorry if she's feeling less than welcome in this discussion because those of us who understand and sympathise with her pov are lurking instead of posting.

The OP also said:
Quote:
the discussion brought up all kinds of matters that I simply never think about when reading romance fiction.


So, in view of that, and at risk of making people angry, I don't think it makes sense to ignore the DA post and comments.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
My feelings aren't hurt, but I am indeed discouraged by posts focused on individual, personal "escape" without nearly as much time or thought being given to the those-not-being-seen-or-heard part of the topic--the "invisible" or those much less seen. I truly thought I was suggesting that some might want to take another look or give it a second thought--why on earth not? But that's probably insulting too, right? Why revisit anything ever to see if something or someone could possibly have been missed?

If using caps for emphasis instead of italics, talking about anything being "thought-provoking" and having second thoughts in a discussion are cardinal sins, and there is more lively interest in what an imaginary duke might look like or if he ever opens his own door, than my posts clearly have been intrusions. Mi dispiace.


Eliza, your thoughts are as welcome here as any others, agree or disagree. Sorry that you feel discouraged by the focus of the replies, I agree that if the phrasing had been different in the original post it's likely the replies would have had a different focus as well. Have you checked into the discussion at DA? Maybe the comments there would have been more to your liking, just a thought.

Linda
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@eliza: I did take some umbrage at your long post, primarily because of the phrase "comfortableness? puh-leeze" and the word "uncomfortable" in the sentence I quoted in my response, both of which suggested to me that you found my comments distasteful, wrongheaded, or something akin to those. As I'm pretty certain everybody is aware, I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but condescension has no place in discussion, in my occasionally not so humble opinion.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Linda: I did read the DA post when dick first referred us to it.

@dick: I've posted agreement with various comments you've made on more topics over time than I can begin to remember, including early on in this thread posting a view very similar to the one you made on DA about favorite reading inclinations. I also did indeed use a word you used, comfortable, but it wasn't intended as a veiled (or open) attack on you personally. I was addressing the concept of the word as well as other such words and particularly the noticeable lack of engagement on the diversity side of the topic and with points made by NoirFemme and Not Quite Nicole. That was the intention of my post. I now apparently also have to add "long post" and using words others have already used to my list of sins.

@Anne: Thank you for hearing and addressing the content of what I was trying to say, and for providing a voice for others with similar views or concerns. You will never know just how very much your post means to me at this particular moment in time, both in a general and a personal sense-- una benedizione. Molte grazie ancora.
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Anne_Gresley



Joined: 31 May 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Thank you for hearing and addressing the content of what I was trying to say, and for providing a voice for others with similar views or concerns. You will never know just how very much your post means to me at this particular moment in time, both in a general and a personal sense-- una benedizione. Molte grazie ancora.


No problem. Also, just a heads up; seems like Jessica over at Read React Review liked what you had to say. Here's a link: http://www.readreactreview.com/2012/06/28/link-roundup-race-in-romance/#.T-12-pGD9-g
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@eliza: Let me explain my umbrage: Amongst all the posts on this thread, only one (mine) contained the word "comfortableness" which I knew was not a standard construction. Thus, when in your post you wrote "Comfortableness? Puh-leeze" I took it, as an expression of contempt for the position I took in that post, as I think most would. I don't think the content of that post deserved that response.
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Maggie AAR



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A blog related to this post is up on AAR now at http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8475

maggie b.
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