I am putting together an opinion piece similar to this Best Pride & Prejudice Adaptations and why we wont Leave Mr. Da...
I'd love opinions on this new crop of domineering, possessive and semi-abusive male characters in romance, Urban Fantasy and YA. I've been going around forums and blogs like Tumblr asking fans of Twilight why they love Edward Cullen, just to get an idea of what is fiction, what they would accept in real life and whether or not they know the distance.
I'd like to know all opinions on the subject. To get it started I will pose some questions. Is this just a fiction trend or are woman readers really looking for a Christian Grey in real life? How much abuse is acceptable and when does an author cross the line? Does morality belong in genre fiction or does anything goes?Also, is there an age limit to when behavior becomes unacceptable? (ie, Karen Marie Moning's "ICED" centers around a 14 year old heroine and men who are all much older, one who is ageless and immortal.)
I'd love to get this discussion going.
"domineering, possessive and semi-abusive male characters in romance"
I love that. I'd lose the "semi-" though and say something like "borderline".
I don't think morality enters into it, the real question is whether or not the characters are true to life, or at least true to their own motivations. As long as there's a reason for what occurs, in that it moves the story forward or demonstrates aspects of character that can't be demonstrated another way, the "moral" aspect is overshadowed by the need to remain "true" to the tale.
To set "moral" limits on imagination is a slippery slope that ends in tyranny. Sure, we shouldn't encourage people to create gratuitous depictions of sex with minors, but "Lolita" is an acknowledged masterpiece, and "100 Strokes With The Brush Before Bed" was written by a 17-year-old girl and chronicles her real-life experiences at the hands of mostly adult males, Anais Nin's work deals at times with tales of adults with fixations on minors yet aren't considered by most well-educated individuals to be "child pornography" but serious works of art - even though they were written to satisfy the audience of a porn publisher.
EVERY subject is fit for investigation. You don't root out the darkness by allowing it to hide, but by shedding light on it.
Anyhow, in relation to this branch of "the cult of man as expressed by woman" - it has value even if much of it is poorly written, in that it illuminates the psyches of modern women, and allows for an exploration of issues in fantasy that would be dangerous to approach in real life without adequate thought in advance.