Monday, April 12, 2010

What Do You Think About BAD YA Romance and Rape Culture??

 A few weeks ago I ran into a bunch of fascinating links and started mad clicking and reading with my mouth open and my head nodding. Call me sheltered, call me naive, call me uneducated...but I was not actively aware of certain cultural flaws, or of many of the books discussed below. But Wow. Just wow. I'm not saying every article and view point contains unadulterated "truth," but a lot struck a resonating chord within me.

I know there are quite a few links below, and many cross-reference each other and there is some overlap within the articles, but I think it would be worth your while to check them out.

Jessica Day George's review  of Hush Hush
why ya romance needs to change by In Which A Girl Reads
Another Post About Rape
Bad Romance (or, YA & Rape Culture)
And THIS one at University of Fantasy

For the record, I have not read Hush Hush and offer no personal opinion on it. I have read positive reviews as well as these negative ones. (I wanted to read it before I put up these links, but I don't think I'll get my hands on it anytime in the near future.)

What do I think? Well, the short of it...I  need to (1) be more aware of the romantic relationship dynamics of what I read (2) be mindful to NOT financially support BAD romance (3) be watchful of what my daughters read and (4) teach my daughters to stand up for themselves - always - and that includes screaming. It has also cast a new light on a few episodes from my first year in college and allowed me to judge my reactions a little less harshly than I have in the past. Behaving the way you are supposed to behave does not ensure that others will behave the way they are supposed to.

Now, I really really really want to know what you think!


  1. Regarding hush, hush specifically. While I didn't like Patch (I found him mean, disrespectful, and creepy) I didn't get a rape vibe off him.

    But I feel ya. If I had a kid I would use these books as a tool to open conversations with my kids about what's wrong/what's right/and what's not ok.

  2. I didn't click on your link about Hush Hush because I thought the book was lots of fun -- but I'm not thinking about it from the point of view of having teenage girls. I enjoyed Patch's character because I thought his flirtatious innuendos were just that--flirting. Did I miss the rape thing? If anything, mothers need to talk to girls about the "bad boys" because they can be tantalizing. I'm looking forward to Crescendo.

    It really bothered me that some mothers tore Twilight apart because of some messsages they thought it sent out. Of course, every parent should know what their youth are reading. There you have it -- a nickle's worth of free advice.

  3. I personally do not read these types of books if I know what I'm getting into ahead of time. I don't want to read the details of this type of situation.

  4. I have not read hush hush but i did read twilight and the 2nd book. i stopped reading the twilight series for the exact same reason you are talking about with hush hush. My 16 year old daughter read twilight but not the rest of the series and we talked about the whole bella acting like a weakling and the male over-dominating part. It did open up the conversation; however both of us felt like we did not want to continue reading the books for that same reason. I was proud of my daughter for making the decision. I've never been one to censor my children's reading choices too much but we do talk about everything they read. I like that you started this conversation - we should all be more aware of what's going on in the book world (as women, parents/moms).

  5. I actually gobbled down the Twilight series as it came out and loved it. When I tried to re-read it soon after the fourth book, I got heartburn and saw it for the bad ya romance it is. And I agree that anti-feminine social constructs are reflected in the entertainment we're seeing printed and/or televised. I fear, however, that letting our kids read this crap and then telling them not to behave that way, would only incur eye-rolling and "Yeah, whatever" type responses...we're too old fogey to really understand. Thanks for bringing up this topic, it's something to ponder.

  6. Hmmmm... I wish I had something really deep to say about this subject. I guess I am naive and too much of a surface reader, because I miss a lot of this stuff. But I can see the concern. So far, I haven't worried about my own daughter reading these books because I feel she is extremely level headed and can also see them for that they are, fantasy and fiction. As for my younger daughter, she won't be reading them until she is much older, I hope.