the ask@AAR: What’s your least favorite insult leveled at romance?

Elaine S, a long time AAR reader and commenter, recently sent us an exceedingly irritating article from Britain’s the Daily Mail about the upcoming romance to be published by the Duchess of York. (And, we hear, Marguerite Kaye!) In it, the writer reduces romance novels to stories in which there’s a:

… strong, gorgeous hero at your side with confidence and money, gently lifting all your burdens while admiring your precious porcelain beauty and dauntless spirit…

Actually that’s one of the nicer cliches in this article. (Please, take a moment to sigh.)

The success of Bridgerton has forced mainstream media to do a bit more than their usual ignoring/mocking of romance. In recent weeks, the NYT, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal have written about romance with something close ot (grudging) respect. And yet, even with this more laudatory coverage, one still encounters the endless trashing of romance coupled with long comment streams about the genre’s vapidity, mindlessness, sexism, and general it’s very very bad-ness.

It makes me crazy. For me, the thing that I find the most irksome is the idea that romance isn’t feminist. Why? I always wonder. It’s about women doing what they want, making their own choices, and telling their story. I just don’t get the diss.

How ’bout you? What’s your least favorite (baseless) criticism leveled against romance? What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you about being a romance reader?

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