Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Genre Shaming

Feedly has been down today. From what I picked up on their blog, they've been web attacked by some group that wants to extort money from them. Let's hope they get it cleared up soon. Since I no longer even have all of the individual links for folks, I'm not visiting blogs until they get Feedly back up and running. Just means I have time to update my book files on the books I bought today when I visited 2nd and Charles. Not that I needed more books.

Another thing making the rounds on Facebook has been somebody who went on a rant about how grown ups shouldn't be wasting their time on YA fiction. Probably just a pathetic cry for attention. I always have to laugh when people do this sort of thing, try to denigrate the reading choices of other people to make themselves feel better and smarter. I even heard the term 'genre shaming' the other day and got a good cackle out of it.

I've never lived in a place, or even been in a writing group, in which my primary choices for reading and writing weren't frowned upon.  It never had one iota of effect on my reading/writing behavior, although I once left a group because of the constant snide comments comparing my work to comic books, which the person making the comments didn't know anything about anyway.

My advice to those who feel attacked for their choices:  1) Be confident in your own choices. If you're reading, then it means you've got some intelligence and imagination, which already puts you into an elite group of humanity. 2) Know that no matter what you read, you are building a vocabulary and learning to process written information in a faster and more efficient way. 3) Stop giving a shit what people with lesser imaginations criticize about you.

I do firmly believe it's better to read all kinds of things than to limit yourself to just one genre, but there are no genres to be ashamed of. Certainly, there are good and bad examples of writing and storytelling within all genres. But it's all grist for the mill.

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20 comments:

Christina said...

I've been to parties where people get judgmental on genres. Like you said, doesn't change my opinion on what I like to read and write. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Someone else posted about that Facebook rant. Funny, adults write those books - why can't they read them?
Yeah, I've been trying to visit those in my sidebar, but it's only a fraction of the blogs I follow and not everyone I visit on regular basis is listed. Oh well, I got a lot of editing done tonight!

Keith West said...

The older I get, the less I care what anybody thinks. This especially true of my reading preferences.

Charles Gramlich said...

Christina, it's just so monumentally silly.

Alex, always a good night.

Keith, amen, brother

Randy Johnson said...

Good points. I'm old enough to not care what others think. I read whatever I feel like, damn what the next fellow decides about me.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, as a book reader I'm in a minority, at least during my daily train commute to and from work. The only observation my acquaintances on the train make is that I read a lot. They don't ask what. I've never had people questioning me on the kind of books or comics I read. Not that I'd care. One of the drawbacks of reading all kinds of things, as I do too, is that you're all over the place, like a jack of all, so to speak. Ditto for movies. The other day I was watching Enid Blyton's cartoon "Noddy" and the gritty western "True Grit" on my tablet and no one blinked. Fellow commuters looked over my shoulder every now and then and that was it.

G. B. Miller said...

Fortunately I don't have that problem with my blog subscriptions as I mostly use the RSS button on my browser with e-mail for the remaining.

I usually don't tell people what I read because most of the people I run into seem to be avid non-readers, but if I did, I certainly would take offense at being mocked for my choice of reading material.

like Romance, cough cough

Father Nature's Corner

Brian Miller said...

i hear you...some people are so closed minded...and what the heck. they have nothing better to do...

there are some pretty cool books...heading down to the big used bookstore in greensboro this weekend...to stock up...just about done with the game of thrones series...

the walking man said...

Though like everyone else I have my personal preferences when it comes to selection but trust me two weeks at sea working 12 on 12 off romance novels are just fine. (Don't ask me why a sailor brought a romance novel on the ship, i do not know, But i traded him The Godfather for it. And had a hell of time trading the Harlequin away for something else but like I said...

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, I think you and I have pretty similar reading habits, though you are faster than I am.

Prashant, I don't often have people comment on what I read as an adult in public. when I was younger I did. I got asked a question the other day from someone about my SF writing. "Who reads this stuff?" they asked.

G. B., although I don't read straight romance books, I do sometimes read historicals, especially if they have a connection to the time period.

Brian, I've got to read the Game of Thrones books

Mark, like you, I will read whatever I can find, and have enjoyed all kinds of stuff

SzélsőFa said...

I read what I think will fascinate me, educate me or sometimes, spoil me. So this is what I am, sitting on the 'I am old enough to do this and that' wagon - been there for quite a while, though, if not from the very beginning - heehee :)

And I too, did experience 'genre shaming' - some people frown upon genres like scifi, ya or romance and prefer high-brow literature; while others reject most of the so-called 'high-brow writing' because many of these are simply not readable at all. I think both literary ways have the right to exist because there is good writing and bad writing. Period. :)

Oscar said...

Agree with you wholeheartedly, Charles. I couldn't care less what others think about my reading and writing habits.

sage said...

I sometimes read YA fiction and have even been known to review it in my blog! But then, I don't care what others think about my reading selection.

Charles Gramlich said...

Szelsofa, good and bad writing, period. I agree!

Oscar, I don't know why anyone worries much about what others like or don't like in reading and writing.

Sage, I enjoy a lot of YA stuff. I've even been working on a YA story for some time but its coming slowly.

Riot Kitty said...

Who the hell would bug you for your choices? Would that I had that much angst, and the free time to express it.

Angie said...

I read a couple of rebuttals on G+ to the anti-YA idiot, and had a good laugh with some eyerolling. My view has always been that people who blather like that are idiots, and I don't care what idiots think. [shrug]

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot kitty, it's always weird to me when people do it. I couldn't care less what other folks read.

Angie, I wonder if it was some attention grab. Sounds like they got it if so.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Yep. I think you hit every point right, my friend.

Ron Scheer said...

Interesting how book reading choices can get so personal. There's no accounting for taste, yet so many seem to think it's a measure of intelligence.

Erik Donald France said...

Roger, that. Silos are meant to be infiltrated . . . tear down the genre wall! We all could use some interdisciplining from time to time . . . thwak ~>