Thursday, 7 June 2012

Since when is Controlling "romantic?"


So, I recently discovered a new phenomenon in the world of literature. Women seem to like to read about men who control their girlfriends, and in some sick way find that "romantic." Let's start with everyone's favourite: The Twilight Saga. I will admit, I read the entire series (because there was a shred of hope in me that Bella would end up with Jacob. But instead she decided to throw her life away, become a vampire and stay with her vegetarian, sparkly boyfriend/husband Edward.) The reason I had a problem with Bella's decision was because Jacob was clearly the better choice for her. He stated early on that if she wanted to be with him, she wouldn't have to change anything about herself. She could stay human, and they'd live happily ever after. Instead, she quit college, left her family, married Edward and had a human-vampire hybrid baby who nearly killed her from inside. And secondly, Edward's protectiveness was borderline controlling and almost abusive (in my humble opinion.)

If that wasn't bad enough, the huge success of Twilight spawned another "romance" series entitled The Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I have not read the series, but I've done enough research to know this book is about a young girl who develops a relationship with a wealthy and older man named Christian Grey. Their relationship soon becomes very sexual. Their sex life consists of BDSM, and Grey begins controlling young Ana both in the bedroom and in real life.

Author E.L. James claims that this is every woman's fantasy. Um, really? I can believe every woman wants some passion in her life. But it is really hard to think that all women would want to be a rich man's sex slave. There is a part of me that is curious to pick up the series and see what everyone is talking about, but I would in no way consider it a romance novel. If anything, I would probably categorize it under literary pornography.

Don't get me wrong. I sound like a cynic, but I do love reading a romance novel every now and then. I just think books like these are sending out the wrong message to women. It is making them think these relationships are romantic and healthy. When, in my opinion, they are just making girls look stupid. It is possible to have a healthy relationship and still do stuff that you want to do. It is not always about the man. A relationship goes both ways, and both the man and woman should be happy in it.

Furthermore, I like reading books about strong headed women who are able to stand up for themselves, are capable of making decisions for themselves and not have a man tell them what to do all the time. I am currently reading The Gray Wolf Throne which has an amazing female character, Raisa. Raisa is heir to the throne and although she has guards constantly protecting her, if she is ever in a rut, she can kick some serious ass. These are the female characters I look up to. Since when did women with no ambitions  and no backbone become "good" female role models?

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