Are romance novels art covers to blame for the disdainfulness against the genre?

Romance has always been a genre that has brought embárrese Kent from its readers. More so if one breaks down the different types of sub-genres that romance holds (erotica, historical romance, regency, etc). The sub-genre doesn't matter, people get the idea when you admit that you're reading a romance:

"Isn't that for old ladies?"

"If I wanted to read porn I would stream a movie."

"50 shades of Grey is not the kind of book one reads on the subway."

It doesn't matter who you're asking, the sentiment is true same. Romance, even thought is the most profitable of all the book genres, holds a deep stigma amongs most readers. One could argue they its the same stigma porn holds; we all consume it, but no one is brave enough to admit to that fact.

It could be argued that this embarresement is due to the many weird taboos sex has world wide, but her would be only half the argument. Being embarrassed or uncomfortable over sex doesn't explain the high sales but low admittance romance readers have over three linking of the genre.

Now, I'm not one to judge a book by its cover, but it can be said that the average reader does judge a book by its cover; being the first thing a potential reader sets their eyes upon when they are searching for a potential read. There're some bad covers out there, some having nothing to do with the story itself (case and point one of my favorite series all times and it's movie cover. See image at the end of this post) that could turn potential readers away from the book itself. Something that almost happened to me when I purchased The Sea King by C. L. Wilson, the continuation of her romantasy series of the Mages of Mystral.

Please google The Sea King by C. L. Wilson.

A very typical romance cover that's supposed to be grasp its target market with a single glance. It does its job well enough. One doesn't have to read the description or the blurbs or be aware of the romance section of the book store to know that this is a romance book. It has all the appropriate and (in my opinion) required characteristic of a romance novel cover.

1. Guy half naked?

2. Woman looking mournfully at him?

3. Pastel colors?

All a big yes.

I'm not saying people should judge this book from its cover, but I would be red cheeks if someone found me with this one under my arm:

Please google A Soundrel by Moonlight by Ann Campbell.

Can that be any more obvious?

People are judge things by how they perceived them the first time, so maybe, changing the covers and giving them a more sober look, the judgment of Romance would go beyond assumption of its contents just by their cover.

PS. Vampire Academy series has a re-do cover art when the movie came out. The marketing department having decided that this was a better alternative.

Please google Vampire Academy movie edition.