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veinglory
06-04-2005, 12:37 AM
My latest musing from my blog: thoughts?

Genre romance used to play out in a pretty predictable way. A young female ingénue would encourage a tall, dark and handsome alpha male. This man would be terse, fascinating and irresistible due to his immense force of will, and often body. He will, it is understood from the moment he saunters in, seduce the girl. In early books ‘seduction’ scenes would meet modern standards for rape, and extreme sexual harassment is entirely the norm even today.

Of course these days Mr Talldark generally shows a little more restraint and little Miss Damsel is a tad pluckier too. The romance genre is certainly broader overall, but the alpha male remains a common character. It seems that quite a few of us still want to be swept rather forcefully off our feet. But here is an interesting thought; is the vampire one way we have to reconcile our lusty wishes with our more recent feminist ideals?

Let us look at it closely. What does the alpha male do, he overwhelms a woman and does what he (and secretly she) wants to her—and she loves it. What is wrong with this? Well the man is a surly bastard but she adores him and expects nothing else. His wishes are pre-eminent, and he knows best—the woman by implication is weaker, misguided and should just go along with this with token (even dishonest) protestations. Not really part of the modern girls-can-do-anything, no-means-no, world.

How does the vampire provide a ‘get out of sexism’ free card? Well, he’s a surly bastard but well, he’s undead and quite possibly damned—that would tend to make the best of us a bit moody. His will is rather strong but then he is supernaturally endowed—if this overwhelms a woman a bit it isn’t because she’s a girl, it’s because she’s only human! The vampire will know a lot more about what's going on because he knows about vampire love bonds, magic and so on—she can’t really be expected to understand.

So when you date a vampire you can expect to be scared, confused, and over-whelmed—but it isn’t because you’re a girl its because he’s the spawn of Satan--so that’s alright then! Is this why there are so many romance books now with black covers, red writing and a title including either ‘Night’ or ‘Dark’? Or am I over-analysing…?

http://www.livejournal.com/users/emilyveinglory

arrowqueen
06-04-2005, 04:00 AM
Lolol. I love it vein. Well put!

MacAllister
06-04-2005, 04:07 AM
I agree, Vein--I think it's a way to make those not-so-fashionable fantasies more acceptable/less threatening. It lets us play with those taboos, in thin disguises.

What's interesting to me is how many TallDark types aren't the modern male, at all--vampires, werewolves, time-travellers (from either past OR future), ghosts, etc.; all seem to be enjoying popularity as romantic leads.