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Monday, 31 January 2011

Getting in touch with my feminine side

I've been Kitsch slapped - specialising in bad taste from a feminist chick's perspective, or so the subtitle goes. It's a great website that offers a female perspective on - well, just about everything.

I was surprised to find an article written around my review of an old copy of the pulp magazine, Ranch Romances -

"Contrary to what Jack Martin/Gary Dobbs says, I do not see Ranch Romance (& Adventures) magazines as primarily for women.
Jack/Gary says they must be “aimed at young women since all of the stories have a romantic element to them.” But come on now, dude, I know this may be difficult for a man who loves Westerns to admit but the whole genre – from books to films — is nothing but male romance novels and dick flicks. Sure, there’s some action in there; but the guns and body counts are there to win the damsel, the dame — the 500 miles he would walk just to fall down at her door.
Stop living in denial."

Check the piece out HERE - And for the record I still reckon Ranch Romances is one for the birds.

4 comments:

Chap O'Keefe said...

Ranch Romances (1925-1971 -- which speaks for itself) definitely was not just "for the birds".

Listing at random, look at a few of its contributors: Frank C. Robertson, T. V. Olsen, Elmer Kelton, Paul Evan Lehman, L. P. Holmes, Frank Gruber, Lewis B. Patten, Wayne D. Overholser, Dean Owen, Todhunter Ballard... I bet, Gary, you've read paperbacks by those authors (even movies based on them) without realizing that their contents began as serials or novelettes in the humble pages of RR!

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I'm not saying that there was a heck of a lot of great writing in Ranch Romances. I've read the dozen or so issue I own cover to cover, and yet all westerns are to some extent romances. But I maintain that given the male dominated society at the time this magazine was published, it was aimed at the female market. Some true greats among the writers listed in the comments above. Me I'm off to write another dick flick.

Chap O'Keefe said...

I'm sure the publishers aimed RR at the female market. But does that mean it's "for the birds"? I don't own a single copy of the actual mag myself, unfortunately, but the content other than the fiction (e.g. ads, readers' letters) would make the magazine's marketing thrust clear. I do know its longest-serving editor was Fanny Ellsworth, and many of its best stories were later reprinted in books produced for western readers in general.

Our friend Laurie Powers ran a great post on RR last July 10 at her Wild West blog, which I believe is where this string had its origins. Laurie's piece and the comments from her readers are well worth re-reading.

Undoubtedly, and despite "male-dominated society", most western fiction of RR's heyday had a strong romance element. I'm currently re-reading a 1930s western novel (one not "aimed at young women") that on page 10 contains the following. A cattle drive across unforgiving desert is contemplated:

"A quick thought came to Clint Seeley. For a girl like that he would drive a herd of mavericks straight through the main street of hell.

"'Let your men begin shuckin' out cattle again tomorrow, Mr Savage. We're going to drive the sands, and we're going to get through -- for Miss Lura.'"

That certainly backs up your scolding critic's contention.

And more than a few of us still write romance into our westerns without realizing it! Read the excerpt you'll find here:
http://chapokeefe.webs.com/bhemrb

Deanna aka Pop Tart said...

First, thanks, Gary/Jack, for continuing the conversation here :) I know I'm late (I'm always late -- unless it's a deadline!), but I wanted to add a few things here...

To Chap, I'm not sure, but it sounds like you are interpreting "for the birds" in the derogatory sense as opposed to how I believe Gary/Jack intended it, as slang for women, i.e. "chicks." Then again, perhaps I am misinterpreting you? ;)

Also, I did link to Ms Power's post as well.

Personally, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with stories/entertainment for men than there is in doing so for women. I do however feel there should be a certain amount of honesty in doing so for the sake of integrity, if nothing else -- and men, I fear, are more reluctant to do so than women. Such honesty/integrity would go a long way in terms of respecting gender preferences, if not better understanding of them.

PS Double bonus points for the "off to write another dick flick" line. I actually did laugh out loud at that :p