I was surfing the net, searching feverishly for a new blog topic, when I came across an article that had me doing a double-take – Romance fiction is being blamed for sexual health problems. What? I clicked on the sight of the “Guardian,” a United Kingdom publication, and began reading the story. According to a psychologist, Susan Quilliam, Mills and Boon books are responsible for a myriad of sexual health problems . Did it occur to anyone that these women who were the basis for this statement are seeing psychologists? What about the millions of women who aren’t having problems delineating between the real world and fiction? Please see: www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jul/07/mills-and-boon-sexual-health-problems
I don’t want to go into the details about what those various problems were but suffice it to say: romance books in general are being blamed for every little problem these women have with their sex lives. I laughed then I became incensed, then I laughed again. The gist of the problem, according to this Quilliam, is that many women are addicted to these books and the stories in these books create an unrealistic expectation of sex, dating and finding a man. This is fiction for Pete’s Sake! We write about people who only exist in our imaginations. Surely we cannot be blamed because some person decided her life wasn’t a romance novel. Heck, my life isn’t a romance novel! (If anyone out there is experiencing being abducted by a Sheik and whisked away to live in a palace with thousands of servants, clue me in on where to sign up –geez). So, I decided to look at who I could blame for all the problems in my life and I came up with a list:
I have nightmares at night sometimes which causes me to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning – I blame Stephen King and Dean Kootnz for writing horror stories.
I have nine horses on this farm which require way too much work – I blame Roy Rogers, Clint Eastwood, Gene Autry and John Wayne because they made too many Westerns which I watched as a kid. False advertisement that horses are just fun, no work involved.
I became a lawyer because I wanted to right the wrongs in this world. I was sadly mistakened that I could stop all the criminals. This led to unrealistic expectations that I was a super hero - I blame Woodward and Bernstein for writing “All the President’s Men.”
I have to keep my house clean which is just setting myself up for extreme disappointment - I blame June Cleaver and Donna Reed. ‘Nuff said that I can’t clean house in a shirt-waisted dress and high heels.
My cooking leaves a lot to be desired – I blame Julia Childs for writing all those cookbooks and making it sound easy to prepare Beef Wellington and pate de foie gras. She just set me up for failure.
My list could go on but by now I think you are getting the point. We can’t blame others for our choices and foibles in life. Readers of the romance genre are not stupid. They know the difference between fiction and real life. Reading, going to the movies, watching television and any type of entertainment is just that – entertainment. It isn’t real but it takes us from our world to a place where we are cowboys, superheroes, great cooks and expert lovers. What’s wrong with a little imagination and escapism? I am tired of people who blame others for their own problems.
Tell me your opinion on this new trend that blames romance writers for the world’s woes in the bedroom. And, feel free to add to my list about things which have caused problems in your life (Anyone out there afraid of police because of Barney Fyfe?)