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April 29th, 2009

12:51 AM

Het vs Homo Romances

I don't like the phrase "het romance". Why? This is because I'm sure if I call the precious darlings of those people "queer romance" or "homo romance", they'd probably give me a lecture on how that H or Q word is politically offensive or something. Because heaven save us from those bizarre straight women trying to protect the sanctity of homosexuals when at the same time they have no problems denigrating their own sex.

I mean, come on. Okay, only a small vocal community of MM authors and readers are going around saying the things that make my eyes roll, but they are starting to cheese me off. We are all romance readers, no? Many "het readers" who read "het romances" are also reading MM romances, so there is no need to act like high and mighty feminists just because they grow up on a diet of fanfiction. Fanfiction, my god. Talk about an bottomless pit of a lack of self-awareness if these people believe that reading het romances is more embarrassing than reading fanfiction.

So why are these people going around slamming "het romances" as insulting relics of patriarchy or some nonsense of that kind? Sure, there are plenty of problems with double standards and hypocritical treatments of sexuality in heroines versus heroes in "het romances", but who are those MM romance fans to hold the higher ground when we have so many atrocious girls-with-penises running around screaming like virginal helpless damsels needing constant protection by a big brawny straight-acting guy? How about the "I'm only gay for you" trope - is that not an insulting relic to, uh, self-loathing among gay men who believe that the only attractive specimen of masculinity is a straight-acting jock as opposed to the effeminate nellies that the bottom of the stories tend to be? If we want to psychoanalyze a genre to point out how deficient it is, we should make sure that our favorite genre is fool-proof to the same treatment, I'm just saying.

And come on, at the end of the day, the couple in both "homo" and "het" romances end up in a relationship. How can these "homo romance" readers claim that marriage is somehow a no-no for modern women when their own heroes embrace the same institution? Why rally non-stop for equality and rights to marry (or at least, blog non-stop about the matter) when you're going to accuse women who believe in marriage to be slaves to patriarchy? Where is the consistency in argument, people, sheesh!

Anyway, my point is this: I'm starting to feel annoyed by some people who are more than happy to latch on to "het readers" to market their books when they at the same time show open disdain for "het romances". Get the hell out of the online "het" romance community if you think we're stupid, you know? If they think "romance" is a joke, then don't call their books "romance". Call it "fiction" then and see how well it sells without latching the book onto the most popular genre around. Don't insult me by asking me to buy their books when they don't even respect me for reading "het romances". They can't have the cake and eat it too.

4 comment(s).

Posted by Darragha:

A romance is a romance is a romance. As long as readers buy and enjoy my books, I don't care if they call Big Tom a "boy fish poker" or Vesper a het/homo hybrid 'cause it's all the same when she's hungry.
April 29th, 2009 @ 8:55 AM

Posted by Fae:

Wow. Well, I've used the term het romance, and I for one don't find 'queer romance' to be an offensive term either. I always feel like I'm missing whole chunks of internet drama when I read your blog, maybe I'm just too ensconced in my writing cave lol. I wish you included links, I'd love to see what you're talking about.

Any chance of you sharing?

Anyhow, I don't think there's anything wrong with the term 'het romance'. It's, to me, just a way to distinguish the content, not in any way insulting or not meant to be anyway. I'd never considered it might be.
April 29th, 2009 @ 10:32 PM

Posted by kirsten saell:

I'm with Fae. What brought this on? Do tell. :)
April 30th, 2009 @ 1:07 AM

Posted by Angelia Sparrow:

I always called it het to distinguish from slash. Some people like a warning about girl bits. Some people like a warning about boy bits.

I write both. I read both. And I still call it het. As opposed to gay or lez.

It's not a big feminist statement to write m/m. It's not a big feminist statement to bash m/f. The feminist statements should be in the book itself and be subtle. The Episcopalian priest and her wife. The woman who doesn't care what people think and does her own thing. the men who treat women like people.

The only disdain I have for any romance is when the author forgets everyone is a person and starts treating the readers like idiots by giving us idiot characters.
May 12th, 2009 @ 3:28 AM