There’s a war going on, children go to bed hungry and women are being raped at alarming rates in South Africa.
Harlequin novels may not be like reading Maya Angelou, but at least women are reading.
If we’re getting out the protest signs about insipid romance novels, why not rid the shelves of silly self-help books also. They, too, give women unrealistic and dangerous notions.
Like, say, the notions of the woman with breast cancer I saw on “Oprah”. She believed the positive-thinking mantra in the best-selling book “The Secret” was a more viable method of fighting cancer than chemo. Even Oprah thought she was wack.
Romance novels are about entertainment, not the dissemination of dangerous notions.
I don’t think Harlequin readers believe they’re doing in-depth gender research or Fabio is going to ride up on his white horse. I think they’re indulging in a little female pornography.
But I would argue that all porn isn’t equal. Comparing romance novels laced with story lines and plots to visuals of girls bent over motorcycles is unfair.
Erotica has been shown to have no adverse social implications, according to the in-depth study of pornography and erotica “Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations” by Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant.
Violent and dehumanizing pornography was shown, however, to have antisocial implications.
The March 2004 issue of Social Science Quarterly reported that Internet pornography users also show weak social ties.
The evidence is in: Pornography is objectifying. The only knowledge someone wants about a model in a porn shot is carnal.
And, no, Playboy’s centerfold questionnaires about a gal’s favorite hobby isn’t character development. That’s marketing – and an excuse for those guys who say they only read Playboy for the articles.
The difference between erotica and porn isn’t the lighting; it’s the content.
Shaunti Feldhahn, from the right: Erotica breeds dissatisfacation.