Romance and Todays Woman
Romance novels have been a place where women have been allowed to fantasize about the perfect and the ideal life. The novels are usually based on super sexy women who are only missing one thing in their life, the perfect man. The hero is also sexy, self-assured, and single minded in their pursuit of the leading woman. In current times, the romance novel has allowed women to step out of heteronormative behavior and explore their sexuality, where anything goes and their actions are perfectly acceptable by their partners.
The latest adult fiction that has captured readers are the books written by E.L. James the trilogies 50 Shades of Grey which are based on an extremely wealthy, good looking young male entrepreneur who has almost anything money can buy except he doesn’t have love. He is also deeply emotionally disturbed and traumatized by his early childhood of poverty and abuse which in a sense gives him a free pass to indulge in his sexual deviancy. In other words he is portrayed as the ultimate fantasy; a bad boy. The novels have the young man, Christian Gray captivated by a regular young woman, who is not into his sexual lifestyle. Yet she believes that if she loves him enough she can change him. This story line plays into many woman’s beliefs that they need to take care of men and with their help and love even a bad boy can be changed into the ideal man who wants to be married and wants to support a wife and children.
The current text speaks to my gendered performance in the way that it appeals to my inner desire to be protected and taken care of. My current role in life is that of a caretaker, my family (my sister her children and grandchildren, my mother), my children and my husband who all depend on me to complete the main parts of the daily drudgery of life. I bought into the ideal that once a woman got married, life would be easier because I would have a partner that would help shoulder the burdens of life. The reality of my married life is that I relinquished many of my freedoms to perform my wifely duties, such as cooking, cleaning and raising the children.
The text reinforces the stereotype that all women need is a man who knows how to take charge and make their lives complete. This idea is one of the main building blocks of patriarchy and the objectification/ subjectification of women. This genre exemplifies how predominate the theory of the male gaze is justified not only in visual media but also print media and many women believe this role is truly one they must fulfill. Becoming a wife, I have had to give up my independence and look to my husband for his approval of things I once just did because I wanted to. Without following the strictures societies place upon women and what they should do when they are married, we, as women would have ample space to develop our own ideas of what and who we should be.
Romance novels perpetuate the idea that there has to be a successful conclusion to a physical romance....