Paranormal Romances and the Magical Manipulation of Consent
Consent or the lack of it is big news. It should be. The more we talk about the better people will understand what consent is and isn’t. The faster we move toward a society that values consent. One that reflects that value in how we deal with people and crimes that violate our consent.
Having relationships and interactions with people where consent is valued and respected is important. People are working hard every day to ensure we create a world where that is the norm.
So why are we feeding our desires on fantasies where the ability or choice to consent is taken away from us?
We have a society that does not give women the ability to consent. I mean you can say no, but it will probably be treated like nothing. This isn't a new thing. The fictional stories we share and consume are writing in ways that support that.
Paranormal romances (which I love) are full of magical beings, spells, or situations where the female MC (main character) is forced to ‘consent’ to something she doesn’t want or isn’t sure at of at the moment. Like a marriage, sex or being bound to someone.
There is some spell, a prophecy, an ancient ritual or a magical being with glamour/mind control. Because of that magical thing, she has no choice but to go through with whatever it is.
There is always a way to make a woman do what the ‘love’ interest wants.
Sometimes there is the added coercion of something very bad happening if she doesn’t. Women we are very aware of what can happen if we tell men no. Adding this duress into stories reminds women of real dangers. Of how saying no can make bad things happen.
It all works out ok because even though she’s been forced into something the guy turns out not to be bad and great in the sack. Or the magic makes her feel love. Which isn’t love at all, but she is too high/drunk to care or realize that.
These stories have men or others working on the man’s behalf, using mind/mood altering things to get what they want from women.
Am I the only one who sees what is wrong with this? I can’t be.
This grooms us into giving in to harassment, normalizing lack of consent or consent under duress, and being ok with men who disrespect our right to say no.
You might think I’m being extreme with this, but hear me out. Our entire lives, for generations, we’ve been raised on these types of stories. We internalize it.
It’s not just modern romance novels. This happens in fairy tales, myths and legends. Stories that have been passed down for generations. I believe that as the patriarchy grew our stories shifted to support it.
We start hearing these types of stories when we are young. When we are older and men start treating us this way, we believe it is the normal romantic way of doing things. Fairy tale true love and all.
When you raise a society on a steady diet of stories filled with abusive things being taught as love and romance, you get a society that has normalized abuse.
It becomes a lot harder to see the harm and change the harm.
I think it is important to be able to spot abusive behavior in stories because it helps us recognize it in real life. Read paranormal romances. Devour them. They are a great way to learn about relationships and exploring our own internalized ideas about love and romance.