Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Not the Romance Novels...

Recently, a psychiatrist and life coach declared romance novels addictive and destructive. The Internet exploded with hysterical laughter from sane people, but as always, there was a backlash from people who agreed with the original ridiculousness. Also as usual, it expanded to include such things as the damaging nature of Disney princesses.

Something similar occurred regarding the material in many young adult novels, though I was squashed flat under my workload and refrained from exploring that explosion.

I wish people would stop blaming STUFF for broadly described social ills. You think there's a problem? Target the actual source, please.

My kids loved the Disney princesses, and all the movies of that ilk. You know why they're not subjugating themselves to be-all-end-all relationships, or declaring themselves incomplete without the love of a shiny prince?

Because Disney princesses weren't the only influence in their lives.

Is it so astonishing that the loving, equal partnership her father and I share might have a little more sway than a two-hour bit of fluffy entertainment?

I'm so tired of "experts" blaming third parties for the problems of individuals. For one thing, I have a really hard time believing all the young women in our society think they should be living in castles and married to princes. But even if some do think that, the problem isn't that there are a few movies out there that make them think that way. The problem is just as likely to be a harried, overworked father struggling to keep his pampered wife in their cavernous house while she spends all the money he earns on anything the kids demand.

If a woman reads a romance novel about a guy who is loving and supportive, and is then dissatisfied that her spouse comes home every day and yells at her until bedtime, the problem is not with the romance novel being "unrealistic." It's with the woman being told she needs to settle and work harder at the relationship she has. I call bullshit!

(I apologize, Number Two, for the profanity.)

If my neighbor can't keep herself from mowing her grass four times a week, ripping out my lawn isn't going to fix her. If the guy across town is addicted to pink socks and can't go to work if they're all in the laundry, telling everyone in the world to stop wearing pink socks is not going to solve his problem.

So please, all you supposed experts, stop globalizing all the problems out there. I know you have self-help programs to sell, or practices to fill with patients, or an ego that craves the attention. Some of you are probably also well-meaning people who really believe what you say and want to help others, but this isn't the way to do it.

I'm healthy. Please leave my romances/movies/TV shows/lawn/pink socks alone.


Karen said...

Bravo and Amen!

SJ Drum said...

I am in complete agreement! I actually wrote a blog about this earlier in the week over at

If you read romance novels, even if you read three a week, and you still find time to sleep, eat, and make your children smile, you are doing just fine.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Karen!

SJ, how funny that we both said the same things! But you said it so much more eloquently than I did. :) I tweeted/fb'd it for emphasis. LOL