Forced seduction

Last updated

Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (1748) features a forced seduction. Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady (title page).png
Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (1748) features a forced seduction.

Forced seduction is a theme found frequently in Western literature (mainly romance novels and soap operas) wherein man-on-woman rape eventually turns into a genuine love affair. A popular example is Luke and Laura from the American soap opera General Hospital . [1] [2]

Contents

The theme is also common in Thai soap operas where it was long taken for granted, until in 2014 the rape and murder of a thirteen-year-old girl led to a national outcry. [3]

Etymology

The English word "rape" derives ultimately from the Latin verb rapere, "to snatch, carry away, abduct". Raptio (in archaic or literary English rendered as rape) is the Latin term referring to the large scale abduction of women, or kidnapping either for marriage or enslavement, particularly sexual slavery, something that was rather a common practice in many ancient cultures.[ citation needed ] In Roman law, raptus (or raptio) meant primarily kidnapping or abduction; depicted often in the mythological "rape" of the Sabine women is a form of bride abduction in which sexual violation is a secondary issue. [4] [5]

In one source, forced seduction is summarized by the following:

Once upon a time there was a very pretty girl. She was raped. The boy begged for forgiveness, and they lived happily ever after. (translation from Dutch) [3]

Romance novels

The history of forced seduction is as old as Western literature and mythology: well known from Greek mythology is the Rape of Europa, which tells of Zeus, disguised as a beautiful white bull, seducing Europa. When she climbs on his back he swims to Crete, where he seduces her and later makes her queen of Crete. The story is retold by Ovid in his Metamorphoses , with Jupiter standing in for Zeus. [6] The Greek had a specific turn of phrase to describe "a woman's rape by a god"; [7] whether one should properly speak of rape or of seduction is a matter of contention. [8]

In post-Renaissance literature of the Western world, an early portrayal of a rape victim falling in love with her rapist occurs in Aphra Behn's The Dumb Virgin (1700). [9] The theme later appeared in many works of popular literature. A well-known example of a rapist who is reformed by his victim is Lovelace in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (1748) [10] Richardson's Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740) had already featured an almost-rapist whose victim falls in love with him; according to Frances Ferguson, it is Pamela herself who "rereads Mr. B's attempted rape as seduction". [11] The death of Richardson's Clarissa character was echoed in many American novels of the 18th century, in which the female victims of "seduction" frequently died in a blurring of the boundaries between seduction and rape. [12]

An early 20th-century example of forced seduction is the 1919 novel The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull, in which a Western woman is held captive by an Algerian sheik and raped repeatedly, realizing after months of being raped that she loves him; The Sheik is regarded as an "ur-romance". [11] The theme was quite common in romance novels from the 1970s and 1980s, the beginning of the modern wave of erotic romance; so-called "bodice rippers" advertised it on their very covers, which featured "half-clothed women with heaving bosoms being ravished by shirtless, overpowering men". To maintain a distance between the reality of the reader and the fiction of the romance novel, such novels were frequently given a "remote historical setting allowing women to 'enjoy' the rape fantasy from a safe distance". [13] Kathleen E. Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower (1972) is one of the earliest and best-known examples from this period. [1]

Romance novelist Jaid Black (pseudonym for Tina Engler) said that "many of my female readers enjoy rape fantasies, key word being fantasies. They certainly wouldn't want it to happen in real life, but enjoy the escapism and total lack of control provided by 'forced seduction' scenes in erotic romance novels". [1] According to one reader of romance, women readers are quite capable of separating fantasy from reality: "In real life there is no such thing as forced seduction. When a woman says no in real life, that means no, because in real life, rape is about violence and power. Rape in real life involves no pleasure for the woman". [13] Alison Kent, author of the Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance, says the theme is rare in modern romance novels; [1] Linda Lee also cites scholarship to conclude that "by the mid-1980s, the rape fantasy was rejected". [13] However, forced seduction has been used as a plot point in post-1980s romance novels. [14]

Analysis

Stevi Jackson, a scholar of gender and sexuality, begins an analysis of forced seduction (in "The Social Context of Rape", first published 1978) with the "sexual scripts" that culture male and female sexuality, which for the male posit "supposedly uncontrollable sexual aggression". "Conventional sexual scripts" also dictate that "a woman's satisfaction is assumed to be dependent on male activity" and that "women need some degree of persuasion" before they will engage in sex. Once this obstacle (dictated by inhibitions and propriety) is overcome, they gladly surrender themselves: "the masterful male and yielding female form a common motif of our popular culture", lending credibility to not a female but rather a male rape fantasy. [15] Jackson's generalizing comment on seduction from this article is cited in at least two legal and ethical studies: "It may not be that rape is forced seduction but that seduction is a subtler form of rape". [16] [17]

In "Even Sociologists Fall in Love" (1993), Jackson takes scholars of "ideal romances" to task for conflating two competing ideas about love—the need for nurturing, which she says for heterosexual women is frequently not fulfilled, and "romantic desire experienced as overwhelming, insatiable". The latter desire is frequently found in romances, and "the hero often rapes the heroine in these novels"—novels in which "spectacularly masculine" heroes hurt and humiliate women characters but reveal their "softer side" when they "declare[ their] love" for their victims. Such novels portray male desire as uncontrollable, thus proposing that it is actually the woman, as a motor for male desire, who is in charge of the man; "the attraction of romance for women may well lie in their material powerlessness". [18]

Angela Toscano, in a 2012 study, states that earlier studies of the theme have focused too much on sociological and psychological aspects, and rejects the notion that first, all romance novels can be treated the same way, and second, that the theme somehow "constitutes an instantiation of some fictive collective female consciousness (in which all women operate as a single affective entity, like the Borg)". Toscano claims to study rape in romance within a narrative context, distinguishing between three types. The first two types ("Rape of Mistaken Identity" and "Rape of Possession") exemplify the violence always involved in breaking down a barrier between the subject (the hero) and the Other (the heroine) whose identity and desire are as yet somehow essentially unknown to the raping subject. Toscano argues that not all rapes in romance are forced seductions; the latter is, rather, what she calls "Rape of Coercion", and comes about through the desire on the part of the hero to come to know the heroine—"the hero wants a response from the heroine because it is in her dialogue with him that her identity is revealed. But instead of waiting for her freely to speak to him the hero forces the heroine to respond to his sexual and verbal assault". Thus, in Anne Stuart's Black Ice (2005), the hero, a spy, rapes the heroine, believing her to be a spy and wanting to hurt her into revealing her identity; in Patricia Gaffney's To Have and To Hold (1995), the hero rapes his formerly imprisoned housekeeper in an attempt to discover why she killed her husband. In all cases the rapist himself is broken, his identity annihilated. In the end, according to Toscano, "the true violation is not the rape at all, but the act of falling in love". [14]

In soap operas

In American soap operas, a well-known example of forced seduction is the supercouple Luke and Laura from General Hospital . [1] [2] In Thai television soap opera, the theme is quite common. A Thai study from 2008 reported that among 2000 viewers aged 13 to 19, 20 percent reported that the rapes were their favorite element in soaps, and an equal number thought that "rape was a normal and acceptable element in society". Sitthiwat Tappan, a director of Thai soaps, said that the depicted and suggested rapes in these shows provide a valuable lesson: they teach women not to venture out alone or dress provocatively, and teach men not to drink too much. In 2014, the rape and murder of a thirteen-year-old girl on a train resulted in intense public discussion around the propagation of rape culture. A petition to "stop romanticizing rape on television" quickly received 30,000 signatures. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

A love triangle is usually a romantic relationship involving three or more people. While it can refer to each of the three people having some kind of relationship to the other two, it usually implies two people independently romantically linked with a third, often with two people vying against each other for the undivided attention of a single interest.

Romance novel Genre novel on the theme of romantic love

A romance novel or romantic novel is a type of novel and genre fiction which places its primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and usually has an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."

Sexual fantasy

A sexual fantasy or erotic fantasy is a mental image or pattern of thought that stirs a person's sexuality and can create or enhance sexual arousal. A sexual fantasy can be created by the person's imagination or memory, and may be triggered autonomously or by external stimulation such as erotic literature or pornography, a physical object, or sexual attraction to another person. Anything that may give rise to a sexual arousal may also produce a sexual fantasy, and sexual arousal may in turn give rise to fantasies.

Sociobiological theories of rape Theories about how evolutionary adaptation influences the psychology of rapists

Sociobiological theories of rape explore how evolutionary adaptation influences the psychology of rapists. Such theories are highly controversial, as traditional theories typically do not consider rape to be a behavioral adaptation. Some object to such theories on ethical, religious, political, or scientific grounds. Others argue that a correct knowledge of the causes of rape is necessary to develop effective preventive measures.

A rape fantasy or a ravishment is a sexual fantasy involving imagining or pretending being coerced or coercing another into sexual activity. In sexual roleplay, it involves acting out roles of coercive sex. Rape pornography is literature or images associated with rape and sometimes Stockholm syndrome as a means of sexual arousal.

Mills & Boon is a romance imprint of British publisher Harlequin UK Ltd. It was founded in 1908 by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon as a general publisher. The company moved towards escapist fiction for women in the 1930s. In 1971, the publisher was bought by the Canadian company Harlequin Enterprises, its North American distributor based in Toronto, with whom it had a long informal partnership. The two companies offer a number of imprints that between them account for almost three-quarters of the romance paperbacks published in Britain. Its print books are presently out-numbered and out-sold by the company's e-books, which allowed the publisher to double its output.

The Lustful Turk, or Lascivious Scenes from a Harem is a pre-Victorian British exploitation erotic epistolary novel first published anonymously in 1828 by John Benjamin Brookes and reprinted by William Dugdale. However, it was not widely known or circulated until the 1893 edition.

<i>The Black Moth</i>

The Black Moth (1921) is a Georgian era romance novel by the British author Georgette Heyer, set around 1751. The Black Moth was Heyer's debut novel, published when Heyer was nineteen. It was a commercial success.

Rape by gender classifies types of rape by the sex and/or gender of both the rapist and the victim. This scope includes both rape and sexual assault more generally. Most research indicates that rape affects women disproportionately, with the majority of people convicted being men; however, since the broadening of the definition of rape in 2012 by the FBI, more attention is being given to male rape, including females raping males.

The concept of rape, both as an abduction and in the sexual sense, makes its appearance in early religious texts.

Sheila Holland, née Sheila Ann Mary Coates was best known under the pseudonym Charlotte Lamb as a prolific romantic novelist. She signed her novels with her married or maiden names – Sheila Holland, Sheila Coates – and under the pseudonyms Sheila Lancaster, Victoria Wolf and Laura Hardy. She was married to Richard Holland. They had five children, including a set of twins: - Michael Holland, Sarah Holland, Jane Holland, Charlotte Holland and David Holland.

Erotic thriller is a film subgenre defined as a thriller with a thematic basis in illicit romance or erotic fantasy. Most erotic thrillers contain scenes of softcore sex and nudity, but the frequency and explicitness of those scenes varies.

<i>The Sheik</i> (novel)

The Sheik is a 1919 novel by Edith Maude Hull, an English novelist of the early twentieth century. It was the first of a series of novels she wrote with desert settings that set off a major revival of the "desert romance" genre of romantic fiction. It was a huge best-seller and the most popular of her books, and it served as the basis for the film of the same name starring Rudolph Valentino in the title role.

Violet Winspear was a British writer of 70 romance novels in Mills & Boon from 1961 to 1987.

<i>The Flame and the Flower</i>

The Flame and the Flower is the debut work of romance novelist Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. The first modern "bodice ripper" romance novel, the book revolutionized the historical romance genre. It was also the first full-length romance novel to be published first in paperback rather than hardback.

There are many different theories explaining the causes of sexual violence. The theories that will be discussed in this article include military conquest, socioeconomics, anger, power, sadism, traits, ethical standards, laws, and evolutionary pressures that lend some explanation to the causes of sexual violence. Please note, most of the research on the causes of sexual violence has only been done on male offenders and is in no way fully developed.

Rape is a major issue in Afghanistan. A number of human rights organizations have criticized the country's rape laws and their enforcement.

<i>Welcome to Temptation</i>

Welcome to Temptation is a contemporary romance written by Jennifer Crusie and released in 2000. The novel explores the love story between Sophie Dempsey, a screenwriter making a movie in the small town of Temptation, and the mayor, Phinneas "Phin" Tucker. Over the course of the story, they solve a murder and deal with conflict around Sophie's movie, which is alternately a documentary or a porn flick. The lead characters appear in supporting roles in the sequel, Faking It, which centers on Sophie's brother, a secondary character in Welcome to Temptation.

Victorian erotica is a genre of sexual art and literature which emerged in the Victorian era of 19th-century Britain. Victorian erotica emerged as a product of a Victorian sexual culture. The Victorian era was characterised by paradox of rigid morality and anti-sensualism, but also by an obsession with sex. Sex was a main social topic, with progressive and enlightened thought pushing for sexual restriction and repression. Overpopulation was a societal concern for the Victorians, thought to be the cause of famine, disease, and war. To curb the threats of overpopulation, sex was socially regulated and controlled. New sexual categories emerged as a response, defining normal and abnormal sex. Heterosexual sex between married couples became the only form of sex socially and morally permissible. Sexual pleasure and desire beyond heterosexual marriage was labelled as deviant, considered to be sinful and sinister. Such deviant forms included masturbation, homosexuality, prostitution and pornography. Procreation was the primary goal of sex, removing it from the public, and placing it in the domestic. Yet, Victorian anti-sexual attitudes were contradictory of genuine Victorian life, with sex underlying much of the cultural practice. Sex was simultaneously repressed and proliferated. Sex was featured in medical manuals such as The Sexual Impulse by Havelock Ellis and Functions and Disorders of Reproductive Organs by William Acton, and in cultural magazines like The Penny Magazine and The Rambler. Sex was popular in entertainment, with much of Victorian theatre, art and literature including and expressing sexual and sensual themes.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Kent, Alison (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance. DK. pp. 223, 288. ISBN   9781440650758.
  2. 1 2 Oppliger, Patrice A. (2008). Girls Gone Skank: The Sexualization of Girls in American Culture. McFarland. p. 139. ISBN   9780786435227.
  3. 1 2 3 "In Thaise soaps is verkrachting iets 'romantisch'". Trouw (in Dutch). 16 October 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2014. Er was eens een erg knap meisje. Zij werd verkracht. De jongen smeekte haar om vergeving en ze leefden nog lang en gelukkig
  4. Diana C. Moses, "Livy's Lucretia and the Validity of Coerced Consent in Roman Law," in Consent and Coercion to Sex and Marriage in Ancient and Medieval Societies (Dunbarton Oaks, 1993), p. 50; Gillian Clark, Women in Late Antiquity: Pagan and Christian Life-styles (Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 36.
  5. [R. H. Barnes, Marriage by Capture, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1999, 57–73.]
  6. Mack, Sara. Ovid. Yale UP. pp. 100–102. ISBN   9780300166514.
  7. Ziogas, Ioannis (2013). Ovid and Hesiod: The Metamorphosis of the Catalogue of Women. Cambridge UP. p. 105. ISBN   9781107328297.
  8. Smith, Merril D., ed. (2004). "Mythology". Encyclopedia of Rape. Greenwood. pp. 132–33. ISBN   9780313326875.
  9. Carnell, Rachel K. (1999). "Subverting Tragic Conventions: Aphra Behn's Turn to the Novel". Studies in the Novel . 31 (2): 133–51. JSTOR   29533325.
  10. Ferguson, Frances (1987). "Rape and the Rise of the Novel". In R. Howard Block, Frances Ferguson (ed.). Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy. U of California P. pp. 88–112. ISBN   9780520065468.
  11. 1 2 Regis, Pamela (2011). A Natural History of the Romance Novel. U of Pennsylvania P. p. 70. ISBN   9780812203103.
  12. Block, Sharon (2006). Rape and Sexual Power in Early America. U of North Carolina P. p. 59. ISBN   9781442957701.
  13. 1 2 3 Lee, Linda J. (2008). "Guilty Pleasures: Reading Romance Novels as Reworked Fairy Tales". Marvels & Tales . 22 (1): 52–66. JSTOR   41388858.
  14. 1 2 Toscano, Angelo R. (2012). "A Parody of Love: the Narrative Uses of Rape in Popular Romance". Journal of Popular Romance Studies. 2 (2). ISSN   2159-4473.
  15. Jackson, Stevi (1999). "The Social Context of Rape: Sexual Scripts and Motivation". Heterosexuality in Question. SAGE. pp. 43–56. ISBN   9780761953432.
  16. Donovan, Brian (2005). "Gender Inequality and Criminal Seduction: Prosecuting Sexual Coercion in the Early-20th Century". Law & Social Inquiry . 30 (1): 61–88. doi:10.1111/j.1747-4469.2005.tb00346.x. JSTOR   4092668.
  17. Conly, Sarah (2004). "Seduction, Rape, and Coercion". Ethics . 115 (1): 96–121. doi:10.1086/421981. JSTOR   10.1086/421981.
  18. Jackson, Stevi (1999). "Even Sociologists Fall in Love: An Exploration in the Sociology of Emotions". Heterosexuality in Question. SAGE Publications. pp. 94–112. ISBN   9780761953432.