Pet peeves: derogatory names for genres


Ranting & raving is something I do periodically on this blog. Look for the “rants and raves” category for past rants and raves.

Man it is hard to muster up some blogging mojo this week, but if one thing fires me up it is this: ridiculous nicknames for genres that essentially put down the people who read them. Am I wrong in thinking the people who COME UP with these names have never read the genre they’re generalizing?

“bodice-ripper” – I don’t recall the last romance I read with an actual bodice in it, nor the last one where a bodice was actually ripped. This name irritates me so much. And everyone uses it. People I know use it and I wince. I know it conjures up covers like the one above, but romance is a genre that encompasses a lot MORE than that.

“Mommy porn” – Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, this awful label has suddenly appeared out of nowhere to describe.. whatever Fifty Shades is – light erotica? I don’t know, I just know I hate the term. Yes, lets define a genre with an assumption of who is reading it. And I don’t think “porn” is the right word there either.

I’m trying to think if there are terms like this for other genres that AREN’T usually associated with female readers, and all I can come up with was the one time I saw someone call SF&F fans “airship captains” and not in a very nice way. Hmm. There’s also the people who say they only read “real books” about “real people”, as opposed to fake books about fake people.  Am I missing some annoying little turns of phrase?

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8 thoughts on “Pet peeves: derogatory names for genres

  1. The first time I hurt Mommy Porn I wanted to hurl. I don’t want to think about mommies and porn in the same sentence. Yes, I know mothers have sex too, but some imagery is just not pleasant.

    And body ripper is just silly.

    • It’s so ridiculous! That’s the other thing – it’s confusing what it means. Porn FOR mommies, or porn WITH mommies? Ug. Either way, I am not a fan.

      I know.

  2. Haha, this post really made me laugh. I know just what you mean! Where I work ALL of the women have been reading 50 Shades and throwing the term ‘mommy porn’ around. I spend so much time biting my tongue, it should be swollen.

    I always think people who judge others on the genres they read are narrow minded. I hate when people only read ‘literature’, and everything else is crap to them. One term that does make me giggle that my sister uses is ‘dick lit’, which she uses for thriller and action novels that her husband reads, opposed to the ‘chick lit’ that she reads (she doesn’t, however, actually think those books are for ‘boys only’).

    • Yep, all that you said. 🙂 Also I feel like it’s difficult to argue with someone who has already written you off for your tastes. Which sucks.

  3. Hahaha MOMMY PORN! Sorry but this is the first time I’ve heard of the term and like Heidi, I find it hilarious. I don’t even know why Fifty Shades of Grey is so popular. I keep seeing it even in local bookstores – I had no idea what it was about and just looked it up now. Wow, wonder how a light erotica trilogy become so well-known?

  4. I agree that the names don’t fit. Where are the daddy porn books, the guy lit books. Why are most of the genres named for women. Hurricanes are male now so why not daddy porn.

    • Right? It bothers me.

      A lot of people also really dislike the term “chick lit” and I get that too. I think I’m more used to that one now though. I feel like “women’s fiction” is a different thing than “chick lit”, so I can’t fine another word for it. Maybe “contemporary romance”? Mm, still not right.

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