Why are abusive relationships popular in romance fiction?
There seems to be a lot of romance fiction out there where the main character is obliviously engaged in an abusive relationship (mostly mental but some physical). These relationships, wherein the man is portrayed as controlling and stalker-ish, are played up as normal, with little consideration given to the damage it's causing to the female characters. Books like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have proven this formula is popular, but personally, I can't understand why.
When people spend money on books, music, or movies they tend to want something for their money that is larger than life.
They want it to contain drama, suspense, mystery, danger, and overwhelming obstacles the character must conquer in order to become a "new person" in the end.
People want "extremes" when it comes to their entertainment dollars. No one wants to read or see a movie about an ordinary average looking bus driver and grocery store clerk who fall in love.
I completely agree with dashingscorpio, but I'd like to add that people love conflict. It's a great writer's tool, audiences love it. If it comes with a side of justice, women, (who are usually the target audience for romance novels,) eat it up. I know that's kind of specific, (I'm not sure if it necessarily follows the Fifty Shades series, or Twilight, since I haven't read them,) but I have seen it in other romance novels, where the perpetrator of abuse gets his just desserts at the end, seems like it's a pretty popular theme.
I think some of the other responses make sense and I've enjoyed a few books with abusive relationships as the main theme. Although they may be popular, I feel it's now been "done to death" and writers should perhaps some new plot to work.
As strange as it seems, abuse denotes (to some people) intense passion and obsession. To feel wanted with such an intense and primal desire that it can turn tainted and wrong very quickly is appealing to a lot of folks. Its more like fantasy and it's not real. Not everyone is into the girly, flowers and kittens, knight and shining armor approach in books that involve love and relationships. Some are interested in death, power, and control. The love that consumes you, love that lasts forever (vampirism/immortalty), the love that tests you in an extreme way (nothing is as extreme as s and m with 50 shades of grey books). Its popular because this side of love is being noticed and introduced into the media.
Conflict sells. This type of conflict is only one of many, but with increasing selfishness and the growth of Ego to proportions of critical mass, abusive relationships fit right in with the increasing polarization we find in society.
I think it mirrors what is the average worldview and attitude of society at-large. But there is also a growing trend toward spirituality, because the growth of Ego cannot go on forever. It's unsustainable. The soul knows there's something more and some are starting to feel it. So, I suspect that fiction will start to change in this direction. Yet, there are many in high places who find their goals aided by the focus on abusive relationships, like vultures to carrion.
by ngureco 10 years ago
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