Rape Romanticized

As a young girl very interested in reading, I was always looking to expand my mind through the written works of others. A good friend of mine and I would often compare books and swap. As we entered the world of hormonal changes, she introduced me to the romance novel. As shocked as I was that my friend was reading these, I was also intrigued. Was this the way romance was supposed to be?

That became a very dangerous way of thinking as the rules for dating have changed and most of what I was reading was set in the scene of days gone by. Regardless of that fact, even the books set in modern times, I soon discovered a pattern. In both eras, there is a beauty beyond compare who is fiercely independent and sees nothing to admire in the boorish behaviour of the career playboy who decides she is the one he must have.

That is when the tone of the book changes. She turns him down, offends him deeply, angers him beyond what he is accustomed to yet he cannot stop thinking of her. He fails in his attempts to woo her or at least seduce her, he offends her sensibilities and ignores her body's response to him. It build to a cresendo where he can no longer control himself, his desire for her is so strong her takes her anyway. She fights, she struggles, then she gives in and allows herself to be free to enjoy him. In the end they marry and all is well.

The message being sent in all of these romance novels is that rape is the product of a man's lust for a woman that is too strong to control. It is suggested that his lust is a product of his deep love which is true and deep and strong enough to make him be loyal to her and her alone. Novelists are unwittingly perpetuating the very wrong stereotype that rape is, in some cases, not only acceptable, but a demonstration of a man's deepest desires for woman whom he cannot live without.

Rape is a product of power issues. It is about control. It is about an insecure, ignorant man saying to the world, and to the woman whom he usually knows, that he can take what he wants.  In a way he is challenging the world to defy him, to see if they can make him pay for his crime.  Rape is not about lust and it certainly is not about love.  Love boasts respect and no man that respects a woman would violate her in the most intimate of ways. 

Romance novels are just as much about fiction as any other novel but their words can make girls even more confused about what love and sex is all about.  In today's society, where respect for women's rights are still under construction, this type of misinformation can have some very negative results. That is not to say that the romance novel should be permanently shelved, only that perhaps they should be revised to reflect the current social ideals.  It is hard enough to convince women that what happened to them is wrong and to report it without this influence on them.

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Comments 18 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

I agree with you completely. Rape is about control and it shouldn't be romanticized. In some of the books, it used to be that the man knew the woman said no but really meant yes, so they made it like she really did want sex. It is no wonder there are so many rapes and so many young people are sexually active. Good hub.

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

I agree with you. It's a totally unrealistic scenario that should be unacceptable to everyone, including publishers. Writers can do better than the standard models for romance novels.

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Pachuca213 6 years ago

I absolutely agree with you. Having been through my own personal experience in this matter, I do believe that this should not be a subject introduced within a romance novel. There is nothing romantic about rape. GOOD HUB!

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

To my plethera of 'P' commentors~thank you for taking to time to read my hub and give me your appreciated opinion!

mod2vint profile image

mod2vint 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

Well written, I myself have never gotten into the romance novels, but I believe movies do the same thing. Example would be glorifying gangs and their lifestyle, makes our children think its a cool thing.

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

mod2vint~you are absolutely correct. I am all for freedom of speech and the liberties that artists use in their various media forms, I only wish they would acknowledge the affect they have the general public, the young especially.

SummerSteward profile image

SummerSteward 6 years ago from Duluth MN

You know, it's been years since I last read a romance novel, but I remember having these very same thoughts! Great hub and an interesting topic!

Tom B. 6 years ago

Women overthink everything. Power and control turn some men on sexually. Not saying it's right...but I would think it's about sex too them. If they're aroused and get an erection, it's got too be about sex too some degree.

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Tom~to a certain degree, I can agree with you. Your points are valid. However it is widely accepted in the field of medical and law enforcement phsycology that rape is most often not borne out of a strict desire just to have sexual relations with someone. Sometimes it is a crime of opportunity but usually it is more about doing it because they can.

Ange Stroup profile image

Ange Stroup 6 years ago from Texas

I think that when all is said and done a romance novel, which are very popular amongst women, actually describes a better type of hero than the men that we know and love on a regular basis in this day and age. I wouldn't say that what I was reading was about rape per se, but definately about control and power rather than sex. I am of the mind that most people really don't have a clue what sex is or how to have it in the first place, but that is simply my view. Human beings are in too big a hurry to get to the end of everything that so often the majority forget that its suppossed to be about the trip. I always loved romance novels myself, but they did build up an idea of what a man is suppossed to be like. I thank God daily that I married him. :D Be Lifted!!

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

I am at least halfway in agreeance with you. I do enjoy the novels but it does warp the idea of how sexual relations should be. They do suggest that a woman is not supposed to want it, she should not until the man who cannot keep himself in check takes her. And yes, compared to the so-called men of today, the men of the novels did know that there were social protocols. As a general medical definition, rape is about control more than sex. It was always about telling her that she, being a woman, is weaker than a man, and should not entertain such ideas that she should be in control. While it is true that the majority of novels ended in the man making her an honest woman, he still 'ruined' her before marriage. There is a lack of true sexual education in today's society and even the novels tend to not show how making love should be~about the journey, not a heated rush. I, too, found a wonderful man but not until finding the wrong ones first! I'm glad you found one....it's nice to know they still exist, no matter how far or few between! :) Thank you for your input, it's always appreciated!

Ange Stroup profile image

Ange Stroup 6 years ago from Texas

Something you just said sparked a whole new topic. If you havn't already maybe a new hub? lol...but about the romance novels creating a heroin who "is not supposed to want it" and I think about how wacky that is. Why in the world would anyone actually believe that a female sex drive is any less anamalistic or all consuming at times than a man's is beyond me, but you are right on...that is what I've been reading since I was 12. AND I actually used to feel GUILTY whenever I felt even a twinge of erotic energy, as if I was somehow doing something naughty and wrong.

You and I are lucky in that it seems we both have the kind of spouse that can understand the inner torment of someone who has experienced these types of things. Paul and I are coming up on our 5th anniversary and are seriously just NOW starting to peel back enough layers to get to the good stuff. Healing is a process...and a person can't expect to swim in muck for long periods of time only to emerge when they are ready totaly clean...a cleansing is required. Thank God for chakra balancing yoga right? lol...By the way...I love the way that you write! Be Lifted!!

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Haha! I have begun writing a hub on that but I sure would like to see your version! A little friendly competition never hurt anybody! I am flattered to have sparked an idea for you. And thank you, by the way, for your kind words in regards to my writing~I like yours, too!

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

An interesting hub and some very valid comments most of which I agree with. Rape is about power and rape is wrong and should never be romanticised. I would never be party to it.

That said. I have made love to a few women who had rape fantasies and needed to be 'loved' in such a way.

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Thank you, Peter, for stopping by and offering your insight. There are women who fantasize about being raped and as long as they find healthy means of realizing such fantasies, all is well. From the research I have done, women with such fantasies tend to be women who are very much in control of their daily lives, or at least feel like they are, and do not want to be in control in the bedroom. It is said that it is usually about giving that control away so that they do not feel as though everything is her responsibility. I stress the generalities because I cannot speak for every woman just as the medical society cannot but this reason has come up more often than not. Of course sometimes it's about previous sexual abuse and sometimes just about a kinky desire, only she can tell, if she knows, but it is a very good point. Thank you for sharing it.

stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

I see your point. You only have to see the cover of some of them to understand your view point. Enough said. GBY

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Stars439~Sometimes I am surprised that they are allowed to circulate some of them because of the racy covers and similar content. A lot of them, not all, are barely more than soft porn! Either way, it should not be in the hands of a young girl inexperienced in such manners looking for information on what is normal, what is right, and what they should expect or want.

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Beth37 3 years ago

What a great communicator you are. I so respect the way you deliver your thoughts and perspectives. Thumbs up on another very good hub!

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