Monday, January 29, 2007

Pet Peeve in romance

I recently picked up a historical romance book that had me gritting my teeth. I couldn't finish it. Why? Because it contained rape and portrayed it as, if not necessarily acceptable, something the heroine enjoyed because she found the man extremely attractive. Even though he tied her down against her will, she still managed to be excited about this.

This is a major pet peeve of mine. I do not think rape has any place in a romance novel if portrayed in a light that shows it as anything other than what it is: a heinous crime. Not in this day and age or ever. I also feel strongly that this perpetuates the myth that when a woman says, "no", she really means "yes", even giving this message to women.

Okay, so I understand that some women may fantasize about being forced and that this is fiction, after all, but I can't condone it.

I feel you can create a compelling, satisfying story that doesn't need to include such, well, crap.

So, I ask all of you, what are your thoughts on this subject?



Rhonda said...

*rolls eyes* I HATE books that have rape as titillation. I've thrown them against the wall before.

Rape isn't sexy. It's about power, control, and domination in every negative sense of the word imaginable.

Ansley Vaughan said...

I agree I don't care for rape as titillation, or one of those things where it's all right, because 'she likes him really'.

But I would never rule it out as a dramatic plot device -- so long as it's handled with care.

Kit Wylde said...

I don't think it's ever acceptable, so I would never write one into a story... not for titillation. The rape would have to be intrinsic to the character's development for me to consider it.


Amanda Brice said...

I had to review one like that once and I seriously wanted to scream.

As a sexual assualt survivor, I can tell you that rape or any type of sexual assault is NOT sexy, titillating, intriguing, hot. It is scary and awful and all about power and negative domination.

This is what gets me with those rape fantasy books. I was involved in a discussion on a board once where another author said that when women complain about rape fantasies and say that they don't want to read them that "methinks she dost protest too much." It was like she honestly believed that all women had rape fantasies, and that seriously offended me.

Rape is not sexy. Period.

That being said, I wouldn't 100% rule out rape as part of the plot if it was part of the heroine's character arc (and I mean that she's able to become strong and be a survivor rather than find it sexy).