Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Manview observations #3: OMG, I have a #MANVIEW bias!

Well, well. Another rather controversial Manview observation. I think Steve is on a roll here and trying to see how much snark he can inject into an observation. If you ladies would like to join us for the next romance lunch and bring your pitchforks, I totally understand.

Warning: This Manview observation might just piss off a lot of women - readers and authors alike. But that said, while reading this, please bear in mind that he DOES read romance, and he is admitting to HAVING a BIAS. And please do not shoot the messenger!

So without further ado, here's the latest Manview observation.

Couple kissing
Photo credit: Mike Monaghan via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Let’s face it romance readers, and – yes – I am referring to the large group of you who think you can score a billionaire who wants to satisfy your every need just because you – ahh, … - exist! It just ain’t going to happen! And when I read this type of stuff, I am downgrading my review by 1 - 2 points out of 5. So if I give the book a 2-star rating, it was probably written well enough to be a 4-star rating and you (female reader) probably gave it 5 stars because your fantasies were fulfilled (did I mentioned that in reality, it “ain’t going to happen!”).

Man in suit with fancy car
Photo via Visual hunt

In general, I expect I am rating books lower than a female reader would for this reason. I also have found that if it involves zombies, paranormal or some other type of woosy-floosy crap, I have probably rated in down another half-star or full-star.  I mean, some books just do not have a chance to be above 2 stars with me! Yet, I love a good corporate success story, a good historical novel and a few other romance sub-genres and a book within those sub-genres may be elevated a half or full star when I rate them. I am sorry, but that is how biases work and at least I recognise I have them!

Don't get me wrong. I am not dissing the genre. This is a $1.49 billion a year genre and I respect that. It would not be the biggest selling fiction genre if it is not hitting the right target market and has a high demand. I am trying to point out that for me, as a guy, I don't think some of the stories reflect reality and my bias reflects that. As a guy, I want my fiction to have some basis in reality.

Heat by Cathleen Ross  Base by Cathleen Ross

I had a quick read of Heat by Cathleen Ross last night and loved it! (BTW, it is a short 45-minute read and interesting on its own, but much more interesting if you have read her award-winning book Base before-hand.) Helen acts the way a man fantasises a woman should behave (and admit it gals, many of you wish you could act and be appreciated like Helen also!) and I had a bit of a woody going on while reading it (too bad the wife was sleeping!). I would rate this book a 4 or 4.5 stars out of 5 which really means it is actually a 5, but the damn zombies probably brought it down a notch.

(Deanna): Read Steve's #MANVIEW for Base here. He speaks very highly of it.

5 stars

I admire that Deanna’s World uses a well-qualified rating system and explains why a book is a 1-star, 5-star review or anywhere in between. This provides integrity to the reviewing process and ultimate rating.  Deanna has been a little looser with me on ratings, allowing me to provide the star rating I believe the book warrants, and she hopes my review in words matches the review I have given in terms of stars.  But we discuss the rating and the justification behind it. In general, I will rate a romance novel lower than all other book genres because I think romance is a bit silly and caters to the fantasies of women readers who want to score that caring sensitive billionaire with six-packs, yet he loves her for ‘who she is’ type of guy. Sorry, but if the story is not plausible and it ain’t going to happen in real life, my inherent bias will downgrade it.

So romance writers, if I have given your book a low-star rating, add a star or two and feel good about yourselves and your writing. Remember, this is a Manview and I admit I am biased! I recognise you are writing the fantasties your readers demand and you are fulfilling the demand!


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17 comments:

  1. Hi Steve

    I think it is great that everyone has their own opinions and as I have been reading romance for many many years and have had lots of negative feedback from friends about what trash I read and that it is all make believe and never believable that it is like water of a ducks back these days I read romance to lose myself in make believe sometimes other times there is so much truth in what the authors are writing and I do read erotic but not a lot of it and I do have to be in the mood for it and yes mood plays a big part in choosing what book I read next depends on how I feel and what I feel like reading :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

    PS I tend to rate books a lot higher than some reviewers because that is the sort of person I am but in saying that I love to see other peoples ratings and what they think of the stories they read

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    1. Helen, it is so true. We have to deal with a lot of criticism as romance readers. At least, thanks to E L James and Fifty Shades of Grey it is not so much of a shameful thing anymore. Also, you're just such a nice person, you always rate things favorably. I love that about you. You have more niceness in your pinky than I do in my whole person. :-p

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    2. I understand Helen. I use wine to lose myself in fantasy. My point is that most romance novels are probably better written and appreciated than my rating may suggest. Keep well.

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  2. Oh, Steve, Steve, Steve. *Michelle shakes her head* Mind you, I won't stick you with my pitchfork. ;-) We all have our own inbuilt biases, and it's great if we're self-aware enough to recognise them. Mind you, I will say that if you don't like reading billionaire heroes in romances then don't read them. In the same way that I don't read men's thrillers that feature 50-year-old heroes who save the world while winning the heart of the perky 25-year-old love interest. ;-)

    In all other genres, and in too much of the modern world, it's the male view that is privileged -- male needs and male wants and male fantasies that take centre stage. Romance is the one place where female fantasies can exist unashamedly, without apology...and without reference to what men might think. Women's rights have come a long way, but men are still paid more for doing exactly the same job as women -- it's not fair, and many women have a lingering fear that the rights that women have won over the years can be taken away again with nothing more than a click of the government's (patriarchy's) fingers. A billionaire hero is one of the ultimate fantasy figures in a world that has the potential to be so unpredictable. Seriously, what can be more reassuring than love AND economic security all tied up in one neat package.

    Also, fantasy...women know the difference between fantasy and reality. They know a billionaire isn't going to simply drop from the sky and land at her feet and fall madly in love with her. Oh, but it's fun to read about...before it's time to get dinner on and do the dishes. ;-)

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    1. Steve reads this particular thriller series where the guy/detective/lawyer/whatever (I don't remember!) has somehow managed to score it big is some investments and has also been left a fortune so he's rolling in it and he gets hit on by all these young women, and in one book the guy was involved in a threesome of him and two women. Plus he solves all the crimes super easily. How's that for the male fantasy?

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    2. LOL, Deanna, that's spot on. I once had a man ask me why I didn't write a romance hero who was short, dumpy and bald. I told him that was his fantasy not mine. ;-)

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    3. Michelle, it is a good point about privilege and I certainly believe in male privilege and white privilege having been to my benefit. We do not need Man's History as all history is dominated by Man's History, but we do need Women's History as a focus or it would never be told. Not sure I agree with 'know the difference between fantasy and reality though.' I am not sure many people can distinguish that even in their daily life!

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    4. And Deanna, that is why I do not like that thriller series any longer. It just became too unbelievable.

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    5. Fair enough. You have complained about the last 3 or 4 books in the series.

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    6. Michelle that is so well said :)

      Have Fun
      Helen

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  3. I really have a good laugh at Steve's Manviews. I must admit I gave up reading thrillers written by men for the same reason Deanna mentioned but I don't read the billionaire trophe either. Given Steve doesn't like zombies I think I got off lightly. Best Cathleen.

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    1. I think you got off with high praise considering Heat gave him a woody! :-p

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  4. Even better, my husband was shocked. "He really said that?" Made me laugh harder.

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    1. You should have heard me when I read it for the first time. I was howling with laughter. I couldn't believe some of the things that come out of him for these Manviews. They crack me up.

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  5. Steve got a woody while reading it, and that to me is a five star for any erotic book. mission accomplished Cathleen! :)

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    1. Very good point on the 5 star rating, Mel.

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  6. I never thought of it that way. Steve's review is really a five star. I'm chuffed.

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