Paranormal romance

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The fine line of paranormal romance

Paranormal romance is a new genre of literature that is identified as being a story that predominantly focuses on the romance between characters who are either both, or at least one, supernatural beings. For example, ‘Twilight’ falls into this category as it focuses on the developing relationship between a human and a vampire. There are many examples that range from werewolves, vampires, dragons in human form, fairy-creatures, etc. Largely this genre is making use of the growing popularity and interest in supernatural creatures in a less monstrous form and more as a form of sexual taboo. However, this genre is also of concern for the perpetuation of rape fantasies and the lack of consent. Part of the problem is that it is handled in a manner that can be argued as being due to supernatural influences rather than a true "rape" as we understand it. However, rape is considered as an act without ongoing consent. Just because a character is under thrall, or a spell, or under the "animalistic drives" of their other form, this does not diminish the importance of consent. The use of statements such as "she couldn’t resist," are very similar to the style of romance novels known as "bodice rippers" which are historic novels where women are "freed from their social constraints by the presence of a real man." Regardless of the supernatural presence, a number of these paranormal romance novels perpetuate the normalisation of rape culture and this needs to be called out.

  • This is fantastic! While this is not necessarily contemporary, a novel that would do well as a historical/contextualizing text is Dracula, specifically regarding Dracula's relationship to Mina. Apart from its sexual charge, there is also a question of is Mina being forced, or is she intrigued by the monster? So many questions to explore! – Heather Lambert 2 years ago
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