I’m supposed to be working. But instead I’m infuriated because my Twitter feed is full of quotes from some SFF author who says romance is a shitty genre and *bless the little women who put so much effort into writing it* but our products are crap. I haven’t even looked who it is because honestly… another day, another Author-with-a-capital-A being condescending. I really couldn’t care less about them.
Unlike some *cough* I’m secure in my work and its value. I don’t feel the need to tell other authors their genres are worthless, even if they’re not something I would choose to read myself. I don’t need to put other people down to feel better about my writing. I don’t need to turn literature into a zero-sum game to feel like I came out on top.
I write romance because if 2016 has shown us anything, it’s that we badly need more love in this world. I write romance because it’s escapism, but it’s also aspirational. We might not all get to go to space, or ride a dragon, save the world, or solve a murder, but we all get the chance to experience love. Even if we don’t feel loved all the time, in every way, love is life’s endless possibility. Just around the next corner could be the person you’re destined to spend your forever with, and I think there’s something magical about that, about two (or three, or four…) people out of seven billion finding each other and deciding, “You’re what was missing from my life.”
I write romance because it gives people hope beyond that they feel for the characters. I write queer romance, specifically, for people like me, for kids like I was, to show them it really does get better. That they deserve love too.
I write romance because there’s a man running for the White House who thinks you can “do anything” to women when you’re a “star,” because his supporters say it “doesn’t matter” if he committed sexual assault, because conservatives bemoan the fact you need consent, otherwise “here come the rape police.”
Because we have a political party that wants to strip women of sexual agency and bodily autonomy, and LGBTQIA+ citizens of their humanity. Because, too often, love isn’t enough, but god dammit it’s the best we have.
I write romance and refuse to be shamed by false comparisons between 50 Shades and what Trump bragged about doing to women.
I write romance and refuse to feel bad when someone who referred to a child as “garbage” tries to silence her critics by referring to it as “porn.”
I write romance because the idea of women owning their sexuality, or queerfolk getting a happily ever after, is still radical.
I write romance because every book read is a triumph of love and hope over ignorance and oppression.
I write romance because it’s the most powerful genre of all.
I know I’m not alone. Let me know in the comments or by tweeting the hashtag #WhyIWriteRomance (or #WhyIReadRomance!!) what you love about our genre. Let’s spread some positivity 😀