When I was at the RWA conference I attended a workshop called Craft and Career: The Gendered Culture of Romance Writers presented by sociology professors, Jen Lois, Ph.D. and Joanna Gregson, Ph.D. Drs. Lois and Gregson were charming, funny, intelligent and very interesting. They’ve been doing field research on Romance Writers for some time, attending local conferences and the national conference, and following blogs, facebook and twitter accounts of industry professionals.
What they found so far was that there is a stigma against romance writing (no surprise there). The genre is trivialized; the romance content is condemned. The sexual content is either leered about or sneered at. Within families, writing romance is often not seen as “real work,” so that writers of romance are constantly having to negotiate the time and space needed to write.
On the other hand, the fact that romance writing is a feminine culture means that feminine characteristics tend to be exaggerated. So the romance writing community tends to be supportive, inclusive, and…nice. In fact, it is the nicest, most supportive organization I’ve ever experienced, even more so than social work or psychology, other female dominated professions.
Dr. Lois and Dr. Gregson have not yet completed their study of romance writers, so we’ll be hearing more from them. I love this sort of intelligent discussion of romance writing. It really speaks to my inner-scholar!
What are your observations of romance writing?