Trixieland

words about words

An insidious evil…


Romance novels. Personally I haven’t touched one since we used to pass them around 7th grade algebra with the dirty parts highlighted. But yesterday I was sitting in my local grocery store Starbucks and the only available seat was right across from the Series Romance section of the little bookstore. All I could think was "No wonder chicks are messed up!" There were clear trends, which in turn revealed some very disturbing things:
 
Sub-genre #1 – The rich man. Many titles featured "CEO" "Sheik" "Playboy" "Surgeon" "Prince" and "Tycoon". The premise of course is a lovely but naive girl is swept off her feet by rich man. She resists him at first because of course she’s "spunky" but then she gives in and lets him call all the shots and buy her sparkly things. It’s the only route to happiness of course. Barf.
 
Sub-genre #2 – Babies. I know this seems implausible, but I swear to you there were 15 books of this type on the one shelf I examined. The premise is: dude and chick have one-night stand. She gets knocked up. She has a baby and this leads the dude (who of course is fabulously weathly, famous and/or royal) to realize that his baby mama is the true love of his life and he marries her and they live happily ever after. Any concerns about the teenage pregnancy problem? No? The message here is if you can just get a hold of his sperm he’s yours forever.
 
Sub-genre #3 – God. There was a whole bunch of "Inspirational" romances. I can only imagine that these involve longing glances, hymn-singing and verse-quoting. Can’t imagine there’s a lot of sex in these.
 
Anyway. I found Sub-genre number 1 to be unsurprising but pretty damn backwards, number 2 to be downright dangerous, and number 3 just plain odd.
 
I know that women really do buy these things and devour them… but I don’t know any of them personally. I’m curious…what’s the appeal to grown women?
 
 
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8 thoughts on “An insidious evil…

  1. I know the answer to this–being married to someone like me.
     
    My wife’s author of choice–Nora Roberts
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/105-2289262-2014024?%5Fencoding=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Nora%20Roberts
     
     

  2. Oh, Mike.  That’s just sad. 

  3. Rainmaker2112 on said:

    There are a plethora of articles and studies on why romance novels are written and read, the majority of time by women for women.  The common theme is that it’s "safe escapism from the drudgery of life".  Women want to be romanced and wooed, like the characters in the books, or they want to be tamed like the shrew who is bridled by the strong, musle-bound male and turned into a heaping mess of womanhood.
     
    Articles say that guys should seek out the women who read these novels, since they are the ones searching for that escape.  The sad part is that the novels never discuss the ramifications of choices and deeds done in the book.  The lines for example, between passion and rape are obliterated.  While these books elicit strong emotions, whether trashy or religious romance, they also can create alienation along with the escapism.
     
    Guys have Stuff, Maxim and the like, while women have Cosmo, romance novels and the like.  Both are a sort of escapism, but the key is communicating through what you’re reading.  If you can do that then the world of romance is yours, if not then it’s a world of secrets and unrequited desires.
     
    Just my $.01

  4. James W on said:

     I have NO CLUE what the attraction of these novels are, BUT I sure am glad that people snatch them up (Those Harlequin books help pay my salary!) LOL 😀 

  5. GreenLantern4 on said:

    When I hear or see romance novels, I can’t help but recall one of the ending scenes in "Naked Gun: 2 1/2" and chuckle.  For a bigger chuckle, I actually look at the novel with the thought that a lot of women enjoy that crap. 

  6. Marchiano on said:

    Well just my $ 0.02 as a guy who definitely respects the strong, independent and emotionally mature woman.
    Those ‘Romance Series’ look shady to say the least. The psychologic programming that women who read that nonsense undergo must be at least devestating to their ‘girl power’ and any feeling that a woman has the right to select her own partner and to aim for more in the ideal partner than a bag of money and a a bronze, muscled, hairless chest (which in itself is not a minus for certain women.. the key word in the sentence was ‘more’ and these books say ‘money and a chest.. that’s all you need’).Rainmaker makes a great point when stating (or quoting for that matter) that it’s a form of escapeism, especially for the ‘older generation’ <don’t think grandma.. think grandma’s daughter> who have been brought up on the classic form of power relations between man and woman. "man brings home the bacon.. woman bakes the bacon". So being ‘overpowered’ by the man is just an exention of that. Being at mercy of the man.. just an extention of that.
     
    Imagine 43 year old Rosie.. been married to Jack for 22 years.. they have 2 kids.. John and Lisa.. both are in college and don’t live at home anymore. Jack works for the city as a pencil pusher. She’s at home all day. To her friends and her an exciting night is playing poker, gossiping about Lilly from down the street and drinking gin. BOOOOOORRRRIIIIIINNNNNG. Then in that book all of a sudden some 6"4, rich, muscled, tanned guy comes along and sweeps her (well not her.. but she’s so in to the book..) and rips her clothes off and his throbbing love… <we all know how this chapter ends>. And she LOVES it.
     
    So is this extremely damaging, disrespectful to women, so out of sync with today’s world it should be banned, just stupid?? YES.
    But here the age-old basis of economy ‘question and demand’ comes into play.. as it does with ‘Jackass’ and ‘Viva La Bam’. As long as there are people who LOVE it.. there will be people to PUSH it. Sadly enough.
    I say no grown man would want to be caught dead (or asleep) with a woman who actually thinks like that/reads those novels. Unless your name is Jack and you’re upstairs "working on the administration" (read secretely watch porn) while your wife Rosie "just reads a novel" (read secretely fantasizing about Johnny Goldchest).
     
    Hmm.. did I just came to the conclusion that Romance Novels are to old women… what porn is to old men? I guess so. But even then.. the man comes out as the ‘moral’ winner and as the one in power. Not good.It’s 2007.. where’s the Romance Novels where the woman leave after sex, cheat and break hearts??

  7. Marchiano on said:

    Well just my $ 0.02 as a guy who definitely respects the strong, independent and emotionally mature woman.
     
    Those ‘Romance Series’ look shady to say the least. The psychologic programming that women who read that nonsense undergo must be at least devestating to their ‘girl power’ and any feeling that a woman has the right to select her own partner and to aim for more in the ideal partner than a bag of money and a a bronze, muscled, hairless chest (which in itself is not a minus for certain women.. the key word in the sentence was ‘more’ and these books say ‘money and a chest.. that’s all you need’).Rainmaker makes a great point when stating (or quoting for that matter) that it’s a form of escapeism, especially for the ‘older generation’ <don’t think grandma.. think grandma’s daughter> who have been brought up on the classic form of power relations between man and woman. "man brings home the bacon.. woman bakes the bacon". So being ‘overpowered’ by the man is just an exention of that. Being at mercy of the man.. just an extention of that.
     
    Imagine 43 year old Rosie.. been married to Jack for 22 years.. they have 2 kids.. John and Lisa.. both are in college and don’t live at home anymore. Jack works for the city as a pencil pusher. She’s at home all day. To her friends and her an exciting night is playing poker, gossiping about Lilly from down the street and drinking gin. BOOOOOORRRRIIIIIINNNNNG. Then in that book all of a sudden some 6"4, rich, muscled, tanned guy comes along and sweeps her (well not her.. but she’s so in to the book..) and rips her clothes off and his throbbing love… <we all know how this chapter ends>. And she LOVES it.
     
    So is this extremely damaging, disrespectful to women, so out of sync with today’s world it should be banned, just stupid?? YES.
    But here the age-old basis of economy ‘question and demand’ comes into play.. as it does with ‘Jackass’ and ‘Viva La Bam’. As long as there are people who LOVE it.. there will be people to PUSH it. Sadly enough.
    I say no grown man would want to be caught dead (or asleep) with a woman who actually thinks like that/reads those novels. Unless your name is Jack and you’re upstairs "working on the administration" (read secretely watch porn) while your wife Rosie "just reads a novel" (read secretely fantasizing about Johnny Goldchest).
     
    Hmm.. did I just came to the conclusion that Romance Novels are to old women… what porn is to men? In a very twisted way.. I guess so. But even then.. the man comes out as the ‘moral’ winner, dominate force and as the one in power which is simply not good and not right.It’s 2007.. where’s the Romance Novels where the woman leaves after sex, cheats and break hearts.. and the guy just can’t get enough??  

  8. John W. on said:

    As a guy, I can guess that romance novels hit that sweet spot deep in the brain of some women just as certain unrealistic porno does for the guys.

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