Sexual awakenings

Two recent examples in US pop culture of the idea that women who read romance novels are sexually voracious or suddenly have sexual awakenings.

So You Think You Can Dance:

And yes, the video for “Call Me Maybe”:

It’s not that these are wrong, per se. Many romance novels are designed specifically to make women feel something, you know, down there.

It is just interesting to me that the visual of a woman reading a romance novel can stand in place of having to explain through a narration that she is feeling randy. And, of course, this is endlessly interesting because romance novels have, generally, such a negative reputation as being not-quite “real” literature, being fluff, or being silly. Inevitably, it is not hard to see that one can simply drop out the romance novel bit of this and it becomes women’s sexual urges/awakenings/desires are not-quite “real”, are fluff, are silly. All of these messages are tied together so intimately in our pop culture.


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