Why it matters…part two

Heads up… I’m talking about the image of the romance industry in this post, so if you’re tired of hearing it, or if you don’t think it’s something worth worrying about, I won’t mind if you don’t care to read this one.

Something that struck me really hard during the plagiarism fiasco were the multitude of comments I read along the lines of…

Why does it matter? It’s just romance.

That comment, seen in various forms all over the net, is exactly why it does matter.

And it matters even more when it’s actually a romance writer who’s making the comment.

Again… I want to make it clear that I’m not talking about the recent plagiarism fiasco, or about one person or one author and it definitely isn’t an attack on anybody.

It’s about the act of plagiarism and why it matters.

Romance is the ugly, red-headed stepchild of fiction. It’s scorned. It’s mocked. It’s derided. People who’ve never once read a romance think they are entitled to judge it, just because they saw the man-titty on the cover, or because they don’t know anybody that reads romance. (FYI, we know they probably do know people that read romance…they just aren’t aware that the person reads romance.)

In my personal life, I’m not overly concerned with what people think of me. But when it comes to a career, it’s different. I’ve worked jobs where there were people who viewed me as either ‘too young’ to be a competent nurse… or I lacked the ‘business-oriented’ mindset (aka butt kissing abilities) or maybe they just didn’t like me, always a possibility.

There were a few of them that I keep getting this vibe from… she’s going to screw up, and I can’t wait, because it will prove me right.

When I suspect somebody is thinking that about me, what I want to do is prove them wrong. And that’s how I view the mockers and the scorners of romance. I want to prove them wrong.

Is this how every soul in the romance community should think? Of course not. This is just my opinions, beliefs, mindset~it comes from the contradictory brat inside me that wants to do the exact opposite of what people expect me to do.

But how many of you read comments along those lines… Why does it matter? It’s just romance… and you wanted to snarl? I certainly did.

Some of the people that knock romance will knock it until the day they day. Some of them probably have a hidden cache of romance books somewhere in the house.

However, I believe there are a lot of people who would probably love romance, would openly love it, even…if they gave it a chance. If they could see something past the clinch covers, the stigmas and the negative crap, and just try one. They might find themselves surprised.

But I don’t see many people changing their mind about a genre where it’s considered ‘acceptable’ to plagiarize for any reason.

And yes… I’m all for changing how people outside the romance community view romance. Because if they change their viewpoints, some of them are going to try romance…love romance…buy romance and push romance on their friends. And while yes! the writer in me loves that idea, it’s not just writers who would benefit. The romance industry as a whole would benefit.

I don’t expect to change the minds of the romance snobs. But I think we could change the minds of the romance- ‘uninformed’. But if romance writers don’t represent the romance community as one that respects the works of others, I don’t see it happening.

Is there a romance writer who hasn’t gotten that derisive little smirk from somebody that doesn’t consider romance books ‘real’ books?

Is there a reader who hasn’t had somebody see the cover of their book and make the stupid assumptions? How many readers still hide their books… not out of shame, really, but because they don’t like having to explain their reading choices?

This all results because romance doesn’t have the respect that many other genres do.

But how can we expect that respect when there are writers within the romance community who fail to see why it matters if a romance writer plagiarized another writer’s work?

We want respect, then we show respect. And IMO, that is another reason why it matters.