I’ve mentioned it before, but I love romance novels. They’re the perfect escape from reality, and probably have given me unrealistic expectations about love. Regardless of my adoration of these books, some of their common themes are problematic AF. Let’s explore some of these common tropes featured in romance novels that really, really suck.
1. The guy who takes what he wants.
I get it. A lot of us have a fantasy of being with a dominant. Fifty Shades normalized that BDSM fantasy, but in a completely screwy way. I hate when I’m reading a romance novel and they guy isn’t just dominant, but domineering. I’m talking about a romantic lead who does things without the heroine’s consent, from forcing a kiss to buying her gifts that make her uncomfortable. It’s 2018. Romance writers, do better.
Book with a dominant who is far from domineering: Mastering the Marquess by Lavinia Kent
2. The virginal woman.
How come the girl is almost always a virgin? I read a lot of historical romance novels, so you would think it makes sense, but it doesn’t. I’ve read historical books about widows and even women who were already married are somehow virgins in these books! What the hell?! Why is virginity so important in a woman? And then how does she proceed to have amazing sex with the guy with no prior knowledge as to how things work? Uh, no. She’s gonna be a little awkward and fumbling sometimes!
Book that busts the trope: The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day
3. Sexy Billionaire Man falls for Regular Girl.
I get the fantasy. I really do. But come on! Also, it’s 2018! Where are the Sexy Billionaire Women?! Also, how come the sexy billionaire almost always is a dominant? I feel like people who are in charge in their daily life probably want to let go a little in the bedroom, right?
Comment with your favorite romance novel that plays on this trope in a unique way!
4. Friends to lovers.
This trope is adorable when executed correctly, but so often it makes no sense. Usually the guy looks at the girl one day and notices she has ~a woman’s curves~ now. Give me something more enticing than that! Give me some actual sexual tension!
Series with some awesome sexual tension, culminating in the finale: The Willowmere Series by Candace Camp
5. Series spans years, only one couple.
I know some people meet “the one” early on, but I like some variety! At twenty-seven, I’ve had my share of boyfriends, and when I read about modern heroines, I expect the same. I get that romance readers want real development and meaning within relationships, so shying away from flings and focusing on serious relationships might have more appeal. Still, most of us have more than one serious relationship in a lifetime!
Series where our girl falls in love more than once: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
Are there any common themes that I missed? Let me know in the comments!