DANGEROUS BOOKS FOR GIRLS
THE BAD REPUTATION OF ROMANCE NOVELS, EXPLAINED
Dangerous Books For Girls is based on research conducted for my master’s degree at New York University, where I traced this snarky attitude about romance novels back to surprising dictionary definitions of the word romance, the “taxes on knowledge”, the cost of a ream of paper, 19th century publishing practices, the Industrial Revolution and the ongoing tension between high and low art.
When a woman reads a romance novel, she is putting her own pleasure first. That small act of rebellion is perceived as a threat to the status quo. It’s also why this eternally popular and profitable genre has been scorned, ridiculed and dismissed.
Romance novels are about reading for pleasure. They’re inspiring stories that celebrate a woman’s independence, sexuality, and right to choose. The happy ending of a romance novel celebrates heroines that dare to live and love to a higher standard.
Dangerous Books For Girls traces the stigma against romances novels to 18th and 19th century England where The Powers That Be saw reading by “the masses” (especially women) a tremendous threat to the status quo. The reading revolution had to be stopped.
How to smother an uprising? When taxes didn’t work, cultivating a sense of shame and embarrassment around made millions of women’s reading material a source of guilt, shame and something to keep quiet about.
But no longer! When you hear someone say romance novels are dangerous, the real question is: dangerous to whom? Daring ladies and gentlemen, keep reading.
- Are romance novels porn for women? If so, is there anything wrong with that?
- Does marriage destroy the independent heroine? The love match and a woman’s right to choose.
- How romance novels empower women You can be a feminist and read romance novels!
- If you want to attack romance, READ THIS FIRST. People who use the term “bodice rippers”, this one is for you.
- There’s no shame in reading romance. Dueling videos!
- Why you should be proud to read romance novels. I hope you are
- Read the full list of works cited.
ORDER THE BOOK
WORKSHOPS & TALKS
Looking for a guest speaker for your bookclub, literary event, conference workshops or other gathering of bookish people? I offer presentations on:
- Dangerous Writing Girls: Lady Novelist = Revolutionary Lady.
- Romance Novels: Myths & Facts
- Why Romance Novels Matter
Interested? Contact me via email.