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Romance novels are enjoyed by millions of readers all around the world. From steamy sex scenes to lavish candlelight dinners – these stories truly capture the allure and essence of romanticism.
Not all romance novels, however, are elegantly written or designed for soap opera audiences. In fact, there are several sub-genres within romance that cover other topics and happenings. This includes politics, along with feminism and even harmful tropes. While these novels are enjoyed by both men and women – some romance books can outright be incredibly sexist in nature.
In fact, most tropes associated with romance novels usually see the women chasing after the men. While this may seem sexy and fun, it can be downright harmful – especially for younger readers that get the wrong messages. While novels range from arranged marriages to childhood sweetheart reunions, the following are but a few ways these books can be sexist.
The Overly Jealous and Aggressive Love Interest
A lot of romance novels also feature aggressive and incredibly jealous male love interests. Just take a look at 50 Shades of Grey, Beautiful Disaster, and even After. These popular publications imply that if a man does not attempt to control every aspect of your life – he may not be your true man. Yet, this absurd idea – which revolves around control – is fed to us over and over again as romance? Huh?
Still, there seems to be a grain of truth in male dominance in romantic novels. Remember when Noah threatened to jump off a Ferris wheel in The Notebook? It was only because he wanted a date with Allie and would’ve leaped to his death had she said no. Or how about Twilight? After all, it was this vampire Fest that saw Edward Cullen break Bella’s car engine so she could not visit her male friend.
The Rapist Love Interest
Rape is never a nice subject to talk about. However, these novels have long romanticized rape scenes and scenarios. No more true is this then back in the 70s, which saw rape simply as uncontrollable sexual urges between men and women. This misconception even continues today in several books – and none of it is good! As we all long to get back to walks on the beach and moonlight serenades, I am afraid today’s novels are getting more provocative than ever before.
Featured image via Aeon Igni