Monday, February 12, 2007
Is it just me or is it becoming increasingly common to subject the hero in heterosexual romance to male rape? It is not even that I have a problem with rape scenes, or even titillating rape scenes--although that is certainly not my preference as a reader it is just fiction and people's kinks are their own prerogative. But when a mainstream romance publisher includes titillating male rape scenes my questions are these:
1) If a publisher does not accept any plot lines involving, let alone describing, male on female rape—why is male on male rape okay?
2) If that same publisher does not accept romance that includes male on male consensual sex, why is male on male rape okay?
Examples include: Cross Stitch (US title: Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon, many titles by Susan Squires (also showing female on male rape). I know there are others, can anyone remind me? —one was about Vikings.
I am even more disturbed by readers responding to commentary on the subject like this: Courtney on Amazon.com: “The rape. Ooh, the rape. Diana Gabaldon is NOT a woman who enjoys man to man sex! I don't think any hetro [sic] person does! Now, I have to take a deep breath, cause this annoys me a lot.”
Male rape seems largely used to create that archetype 'the wounded hero'. But by presenting the event erotically I just have this sneaking feeling that these scenes are telling us something... that society's comfort level with gay sexuality is back in the dark ages--you know when heroines needed to be raped because virtuous women would never consent to ‘doing the dirty’ even if they secretly enjoyed it.