This is going to be quick and dirty, everyone. It started out as a Twitter thread that got too long. But I think it’s important.
I need to address something that is going to sound like an attack on specific individuals. I promise, it’s not. Because it’s not those specific individuals I see doing this. Keep that in mind as you read this post.
With the RWA stuff going on, we keep seeing a lot of tweets that say, “Don’t people know how many LAWYERS we have in the romance genre?!” They’re right. There are a lot of lawyers in romance.
But there are more people with working-class jobs.
While it’s awesome that we have people well-versed in the law who are willing to throw their knowledge into the ring as a tool to help the genre, it’s starting to feel a little bit like, “See, we’re valid because we have smart lawyer-type people!” Yes, the genre has been dismissed as, “Oh, those are written by bored housewives.” But just because that’s used as a dismissal by other people doesn’t mean we should throw those bored housewives under the bus in order to convince people that the genre is valid. Because here’s the thing: those people you’re screaming “LAWYERS! LAWYERS! LAWYERS!” at? They’re not listening anyway. They’re never going to change their opinions.
And the people I don’t see tossing around, “LAWYERS! LAWYERS! LAWYERS!” seem to be…the lawyers. It’s almost like they view their profession as a normal human job and not a paid superhero position and don’t see their involvement in the genre as the sole reason it’s a force to be reckoned with.
It’s starting to really sound like, “Romance isn’t THOSE people. It’s SMART people.” As if bored housewives, people who don’t go to college, disabled people who turn to writing when they’ve been denied access to or accommodation for secondary education, etc. can’t be as creative and intelligent as everyone else. As if the only way our work deserves respect and acknowledgment is if we can disavow the reality that there are far, far more people who come home from working at a supermarket or a daycare to squeeze a few hours of writing in between dinner and bedtime. If we removed their contributions to the genre, the shelves would be bare. There is room to celebrate and be proud of the genre without ignoring the diverse backgrounds and circumstances that led each of us to become romance authors.
And it’s a hell of a lot more intimidating if we frame ourselves as sleeper agents that have infiltrated the courts, factories, farms, schools, and families.