Several of us here on scienceblogs have recently discussed the stereotypes of women who read science fiction. Syaffolee puts an interesting twist on it: what about men who read romance novels? She’s reporting on an article that says almost a quarter of the readers are men.
Nobody seems to be speculating on whether guys who read bodice-rippers are cuter than average.
There is an interesting idea there about the genre ghetto. I’ve read a few, years ago, and didn’t care for them much…and now I judge the whole genre by a fuzzy memory of a non-representative sample. Are there great authors I’m missing because I can’t get past the pink covers with bare-chested men on them?
Another genre I avoid is the cowboy novel (in my local library, cowboys and romance are probably the dominant forms of literature, too). I read some Louis L’Amour, also years ago, and was shocked at how bad the writing was, and haven’t gone back since.
Genre fiction seems to be a tool to lock in to a specific segment of the audience, but it’s also an effective way to lock out an even larger audience, because we’ve all got these biases.