Romance fiction is not your bitch

Romance fiction is not your bitch

Free books at Ultimo LibraryIf you’re here courtesy of The Drum, welcome! You can find a little bit more about romance books and why we love them here:

Update:  I was in such a rush to post this, I forgot to thank fellow blogger Jodi McAlister, who helped me strengthen the essay, and author Bronwyn Parry, who tweeted the original post that inspired me to respond. They’re both romance academics as well! (I’m not, by the way.)

An open letter to the Sydney Writers’ Festival by Gabby

Why the romance genre is interesting, relevant and important — even if you think it’s bad  by Jodi McAlister (Momentum blog)

‘For women, by women’: Is romance writing inherently feminist? II (Australian Women Writers Challenge blog) and my annotated notes

Sex, love and passion – the appeal of romance novels panel discussion recap

Spoiling a happy ending by Kat Mayo

If you have no idea what I’m talking about…

On Tuesday, ABC’s The Drum published an essay by author Susan Bennett on the ‘Rise of the romance feminist’ which made me very cranky. So I wrote a response, ‘Dear columnists, romance fiction is not your bitch’, which is now up on the site:

To authors, journalists and columnists, I have bad news: …You will now be required to actually research your facts before you talk about romance novels. And if you don’t, readers will put you in your place.

Enjoy, and don’t feed the trolls. :)


  1. Bona says:

    I loved this post and what you’ve written for ‘The Drum’. I will keep both of them in my computer for further references. Thank you for being so respectful and clear!
    I’m a reader of romance novels and I do also like to think and study and write -non professionally- about the genre. And yes, I consider myself a feminist. I’ve even written a post about it and I’ll do it again in the future.
    We don’t have to feed the trolls, true. Just answer critics with facts and personal respectful opinions. We can talk about books, not about people who read or do not read those books, they are people we don’t know anything about.
    I think it’s all about prejudices. They don’t write about the genre but about the idea they have of the genre. They think all romance novels are the same. I agree with you: the only rule is the HEA or HFN, but apart from that… sky is the limit. Criticizing romance novels for their happy endings is like attacking Whodunit stories that tell you, in the end, who did it. That’s what a Literary genre is.
    Anyway the good news is that now we have the internet to answer these non researched articles.
    Now we can read posts like this one.
    And we can say that a romance novel is not per se against femenism.Perhaps it is and perhaps it is not, it only depends of the ideology of the novel itself & the author’s POV, as in any other genre.
    …That a romance reader is not stupid just because of the reader material he/she chooses.
    …That some times a romance reader read other things. Does my IQ change from the day I read Kinsale to the day I read Dostoyevsky?
    …That there is not just one kind of romance books, and that we romance readers are not the same. I don’t think all scifi readers are nerds. Hey I even read sci-fi sometimes. So why does anybody have this prejudice against a person who reads romance?
    …That yes, many romances are bad books, but many others are good and -certainly- a handful of them are great literary jewels, so good that they keep on publishing them decades after the author is dead.
    … That we like speaking about the genre, reading and writing about it because we want to know what’s worth spending our money on. And we have to do it mainly by ourselves, because mainstream magazines or newspapers don’t inform us about this.
    Again, thank U very much for your defence of the genre.

  2. Kat says:

    Thanks, guys!

    (And AL – The love is mutual. I could never have faced the comments on The Drum without the practice that hanging out at Karen’s blog, DA and SBTB gave me. :D)

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