Sometimes a woman just wants to read trash, you know? Or at least something considered trash.
Then again, what makes a book trash? Poor mechanics? Cheesy euphemisms? Bad spelling? Crappy dialogue? While Romance novels have been guilty of all this and more, so has every other genre. It begs the question, do we assume Romance novels are trash because they are Romance novels?
While the Harlequin section at Book People can still make me avert my eyes, I don’t think steamy content makes books trash. I mean, plenty of what we consider “great literature” now was borderline porn back in the day.
I personally fluctuate between the purist “I am an Epic Fantasy reader who only wants romance as a side plot” and “give me all the abs.” It depends on my mood and mindset at the time.
I had the great fortune of a literature professor who doesn’t believe in “high” and “low” art. Something she said in class got me thinking: what makes literature “worthwhile”? If you really think about it, all the qualifiers (besides obvious mechanics) for “worthwhile” literature are based in some form of prejudice, be it classism, racism, or sexism.
Shakespeare was once not worth studying because his audience was the peasantry. For the longest time, all the “universally relatable” works of literature were written by and about white guys because it was white guys in academia making the call. Meanwhile, Romance is considered garbage because it caters to women’s fantasies and no “great works” EVER did that for men.
What do you think makes a book trash?