I love to read - always have. I have the gift of being able to read super fast. Mom wasn't much into taking me to the library to borrow books - that was too much trouble. So what she did is pick up books for me at the flea market. She went there almost every weekend. Romance novels were the cheapest. You could get them 4 or 5 for $1.00. Forget about the fact that I was 10 and probably didn't need to read romance novels. Mom saw them as a cheap way to satisfy my love of reading.
So what did I learn from Harlequin?
No doesn't mean No. In most books the male hero sweeps the heroine off her feet. He kisses her - sometimes to punish her, sometimes angrily. She resists, at first. He continues on and eventually woos her into submission. Then she is overcome by passion and falls into his arms.
I didn't used to be bothered by this. However, it has really begun to irk me. I even stopped reading romance novels for many years. However, after Baby was born, I was looking for quick, easy, mindless reads and so I picked up a few at the library. They haven't changed.
On Oprah a few weeks ago, they had a sex therapist that talked about fantasies. Apparently the number one fantasy by women according to surveys ---- who exactly gets surveyed anyway? I've never been surveyed. But alas, I digress ---- the number one fantasy is of being dominated. The therapist stated that this fantasy is the reason for the way so many romance novels are written. Warrior comes in and sweeps the damsel off her feet, while fighting to protect her honor.
Huh? Really? I never wanted that. I wanted a strong man who would care for me. But I also wanted the kind, compassionate, gentle giant.
I have to wonder how many young girls read these books and think that they are supposed to be overpowered by men. That "No" is something you are supposed to say because every "good little girl" says it. But you are not supposed to mean it. You're supposed to half-heartedly resist and then give in.
I even wonder what ideas men get from these books. Don't think men don't read them. In college, I hung out with a mixed group of friends. The guys were known to have Cosmopolitan magazines around. I asked why and they explained that there was usually an excerpt from a steamy sex novel. Late at night after a few drinks of the "adult persuasion" some of the guys and girls would read from Cosmo or other romance novels - just the explicit scenes of course (I never did that - even then I had trouble saying certain words aloud). I have to wonder what signals the males picked up and what lessons they learned. Did they think that if a female said "No," that they should just keep going and she'd change her mind?
I had to put down a book this week. The woman said No. He kissed her anyway. She struggled, kicking. He picked her up and continued to kiss her. It made me mad. No means No means No means STOP right there. Not continue in hopes that the woman changes her mind.
And hence, I've quit reading these types of books again. And why my daughter will not read them while living under my roof.