Love Bites: Physically harming to mark women as property
There is a lot of biting going on in romance/erotica. Mainly in werewolf/vampire stories. It’s not what I would call ‘fun biting’ either. It’s a nip that brands the women in these stories as property of the men. The idea of being owned as a piece of property is really disturbing to me and not at all romantic or sexy.
The women are usually forced into being bitten/claimed/owned by some life threatening or awful circumstance. She may agree to the biting, but it is a decision made under duress when she is given very little choice. Women being put in positions where we are forced to go along with what a man wants out of fear isn't a hot fantasy. It is reality. A reality in which a woman can be seriously harmed by men for not going along with their wants. When it shows up in romantic fiction it helps to normalize men's harmful behaviors.
The men doing the biting are portrayed as the nice/good guy, doing all he can to save the damsel in distress. In many stories the events that lead to the biting are the result of his own actions.
His asshat or careless behavior has contributed to what is going on, but the woman is the paying the price. She is a pawn in whatever family/clan/gang/whatever bullshit he has going on.
These stories reinforce the patriarchal teachings that women are property of men, that we have no choices of our own, that we as ‘good girls’ must let the men handle things in whatever way they see fit.
We are props in their lives. Tools for them to use.
Sometimes, the women choose to be claimed in the heat of passion, usually without a full understanding of what being owned entails. She gives into her body's desires and forgets to use her brain. We all know that when a hot guy is horny for you, no matter how big of a jerk he is, your body wants him and you have no choice but to go with it. Right? Sex doesn't equal ownership. Let me repeat that, having sex with someone doesn't mean they own you or have any claim over you.
This is another sneaky way we are taught to not listen to our better judgment. If a man is good looking, how big of an asshole he is doesn’t matter. Maybe there is something ‘wrong’ with the woman. Like she is ‘curvy’ or has opinions. If you are anything other than the societal standard of perfection, you should be thankful that this totally fly jack wagon is paying any attention to you at all.
Our idea of what is romantic and sexy is twisted. I’m not talking about people who love being bitten or being the ones doing the biting during sex. The biting going on in these stories isn’t about pleasure. It’s about keeping women in their place.
It’s fantasy being used to keep us chained to a reality where women are disposable pieces of property.