I’m not too sure I can clarify this because it’s steeped in emotional response and growling noises. And maybe some duct tape because I overdid it with the knife.
Why am I not big on novels that are mainly romance novels?
In a short, one sentence answer: Due to the way women are treated by men.
It makes me want to stab things. Preferably male things.
In much longer than one sentence, this is why I do not like most romance novels (keep in mind that there are romance novels I like. I think):
I don’t find a man bullying his way into a woman’s life because he decides she needs his help as “romantic”.
And then they magically fall in love even though he’s treating her like a uselss child that can’t fight, defend, or think for itself. And I say ‘it’ because apparently she’s not a human being with human rights, thoughts or justifiable emotional responses.
But hey, he is so hot that her knees buckle, she melts, she gets instantly turned on to the extreme level of all levels – every single time that she sees/glances at/think about him, so that’s really all that matters. Clear indicator that they’re meant for one another. That and the fact that she can’t think straight when she’s in his presence.
Such a healthy relationship, totally based on mutual respect. Because real love equals submissive woman being bullied by a caveman with good looks, who knows how to handle every situation, takes command of everything and never had an emotional crack or vulnerability in his life. And if he does now, it’s all her fault and it’s definitely a bad thing.
Emotions = bad, weak.
Women = too emotional.
Everything they say can be written down to stupid female hormones. She doesn’t actually mean it. And if she does, she doesn’t know any better because she’s a silly emotional female.
And do you notice that most novels where the female main character is both strong and feminine – not losing the fact that she is a woman while still being intelligent and/or sturdy – are written by men? Women: what’s up with you? Why are you keeping this unrealistic and abusive crap up in your novels? Even the title reflects the woman as the object and the man the main character of the relationship.
Women are paraded out as strong and tough yet on the inside they are frightened and weak. And the man is strong, commanding, and an emotional bulldozer who never falters. So he discovers her vulnerability and has to protect her. Because she’s incapable of doing so herself on any level.
Man – uber strong, knows what’s going on, level headed, judgment not clouded by emotions, makes all decisions because he is wise and knows everything. Including what her decisions should be.
Woman – an idiot. Can’t make decisions. Needs to stay out of the bad guy situations because she doesn’t have male anatomy. Clearly this means she’s incapable of taking care of herself in any way.
And I can’t stand how the man makes a big deal in some explosive scene, going on about how the woman is helpless and an idiot who can’t make decisions for herself. And even though it makes her angry – they never talk about this. And the chick subtly ignores and then becomes okay with this. WHAT?! Three pages ago she was fuming and rightly so, thinking straight and seeing it for the misogynistic crap it is. Next she’s all gooey and he’s saving her and she loves him.
Or – and this one really doesn’t make sense – after the explosive caveman scene of her helpless, him protector/taking all your rights as a human being away, she saves the day and they still go along with the ideal that he’s the strong one. And she is not.
*stabbity stab stab stab*
This is all I see when I read a romance novel. I don’t want to only see this. I really would like to find romance novels that don’t spread this bad relationship brainwashing. I go into it thinking it sounds good and I might like this one. But nope. Still the same thing.
And just so you know, I only pick up romances when they include a plot other than the romance. You know, like some mysterious illness making resident were-creatures freak out and kill random people and the main peeps must find out what’s wrong and fix it. So I am not setting myself up for failure by reading a straight romance. But still – I end up grrrrr!
I think the only romance I read that didn’t have this misogynistic undertone (or explosive in your face misogyny) was a young adult novel by Melissa Marr that I read like seven years ago. Major props to this chick.
And to prove that I’m not only seeing what I want to see – I did read a paranormal romance recently that I liked. The female was weak and helpless. The male was strong and in the know on almost every subject. The few pages of the whole “male, lots of sex = awesome / female, sex at all, =whore she better not have” issue showed up because the novel was set in the past but I ignored it. Because it was the time period and they didn’t bring it up more than once. I liked the book, I still have it. And it was very romancey.
I find that most people don’t agree with my assessment of romance novels. Most chicks I ask love them.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s the whole “ignore the small issues even though they are subtly brainwashing everyone into thinking it is right and should not be protested” thing. Because I’m just over reacting. The men should always protect women by taking away their choices and deciding for them that they are weak and need protecting. A.k.a. bullying.
Hand me that knife please.
As a side note, I am not against romance. At all. Or love or being vulnerable, sweet, mushy or emotional. I’m just against it being treated as if its weakness or inferior.
But that’s the beauty of stories – they’re extremely subjective. What I cannot stand, someone else may love. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream. It takes all kinds to make the world go round.
But you were asking, so there’s my reason. ;)
Do you like romance novels? Does this issue bother you or is it pretty shrug worthy to you? Is there something else that bothers you or that you particularly love about romance novels?
Any book recommendations where women aren’t treated this way?
Don’t believe I’m being fair toward male/female roles and the way society treats it? Read this.