Romance Novels, Soap Operas and Porn

During my adolescent years, much of my lazy day summers were spent reading Harliquinn Romance novels.  I gobbled them up.  Doesn’t the the idea of a handsome, knight in shining armour rescuing "me" the damsel in distress appeal to every young girl.  As I grew up I moved to Danielle Steele.  I also loved the soap operas.  I hated to miss a day.   I could tell you who was doing what to whom on any given day.  If I missed a day, I would tape it so I wouldn’t miss anything.  That’s what my high school friends talked about.  We were living our romance through "As the World Turns" I stopped watching soap operas long, long ago.  There weren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with 4-5 hours of soaps and live my life too.  But I expected my life to be like the soaps, and the romance novels. 

When I answered God’s call, I stopped reading Danielle Steele, in favor of Christian novels.  But many of the Christian novels had the same message only the participants we’re Christians.  The story was still full of romance, and handsome men, sweeping the young woman off of her feet. (notice, never a 40ish woman). There’s even an entire line of Christian romance novels similar to Harliquinn in size, color, romance, etc. I have never read these, only seen them in the stores.   But I can guess at the content. 

I gave up authors like Lori Wick a long time ago.  It bred too much discontentment.  I have a wonderful husband.  One of the most wonderful men I have ever met.  He wants to serve me, protect me, and take care of me.  He is my handsome knight in shining armour.  If I pick up a novel now, it isn’t the romance novel I once would have devoured.  I like historical fiction (yes history–I can’t believe it either). 

I ran across a book at the library the other day that looked interesting.  "Sex and the Supremacy of Christ"  it is edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor.  One of the articles by David Powlison talks about the romance novel  and how they women’s porn.  I would have never used the term before I read his thoughts, but it makes perfect sense to me. 

"the culture of romance novels, soap operas, and women’s magazines does not draw nearly as much attention as male-oriented pornography.   Men do graphic pornography.  That’s an obvious problem.  Women do romance.  It’s the same kind of problem, though the participants keep their clothes on a while longer, and there’s more of a story to tell before they tumble into bed.  Romance novels are female pornography.  The sin comes wired through intimacy lust first and builds toward erotic lust.  The formulaic fantasies offer narative emotion-candy, not visual eye-candy. " 

He goes on, but you get the picture, don’t you?   I have never thought of romance novels and soap operas as hard core PORN. Did you?  I would have never likened Harlequinn romance novels with Penthouse and Playboy.  But Mr. Powlison does. 

Today, the culture would say, "whatever it takes to get a child to read".  (think Harry Potter–that’s another post).  Well I’m hear to tell you, that whatever you read is NOT okay!  We are to be reading whatever is true, ("perfect" romance is not true)  whatever is noble, (a man seducing a woman to bed is not noble), whatever is right, (focusing on sex is not right) whatever is pure (need I even comment) whatever is lovely (not lovely when a young girl fantacizes and then finds out that real life isn’t anything like the fantasy), if anything is excellent or praiseworthy (none in any romance novel is anything to brag about), think about such things.  Thinking on things like romance novels, soap operas and women’s magazine’s are not helping us reach the call God has placed on our life.  In fact, they can do much to sew discourse and discontement in our marriages. 

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4 thoughts on “Romance Novels, Soap Operas and Porn

  1. This is the very thing that some ladies and I were discussing this past Shabbat. Why is it so easy for us ladies to say, "Oh men struggle with that kind of thing" but we can't seem to admit that we, too, fall prey to similar sins? Why doesn't anyone tell us when we're young that these things lead to so much pain down the road? We learn to compare our husbands to fictional men, we learn to confide in someone other than our husbands, we learn a lot of things that simply aren't real or good for us. Then we hear the world tell us, "Oh, it's okay. You're not actually doing anything…" It is so easy to sweep under the rug.

    I'm glad you mentioned this today.

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  2. This was a good blog post. I quit reading romance novels after I got married – realizing that fantasy is not good for a marriage. I wish someone had told me that before I was married. It is not good for young girls to watch movies and read books about whirlwind romances and then to expect a storybook life. I have a good marriage, and I have friends, that read romance novels, that seem to never be content with their situation. Romance novels breed discontent.

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  3. I confess that Sphie's Heart by Lori Wick is one of my all time favorites….

    I think this is one of those issues that got me thinking were we in the right church. I would see ladies I knew checking out Danielle Steel at the library and really wonder how they could read that when it was to me the same as their dh's watching things I wouldn't.

    Sorry about the position statement thing. Sounds ucky.

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  4. I never watched soap operas or read the heavy-steamy romance novels, but the ones that were just "love stories" or romantic in nature were bad enough. It took a while for me to realize that it was making me less than perfectly content with my husband– why can't he be romantic like <i>that</i>?!

    But my husband <i>is</i> romantic– in the ways that matter and in the everyday. I certainly don't need him arguing with me and then sweeping me up onto his horse and whisking me away. After all, doesn't the heroine and her man always argue or hate each other in the beginning? đŸ˜‰

    Zowie. Mr. Powlison is right. It really is pornography… And that is very serious…even if there aren't any pictures in it. The imagination can often be much worse.

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