Africa Asia Editor's Blog Europe HK People News World

Escapism in romantic novels

Written by Daniel Otero

Why todays females love romantic novels?


By: Daniel Otero



Love will break your heart, allow you to become happy or sad; but romanticism will never fade away.  At least in the life of any female over 13 years of age.


It’s through a book or soap opera.  The fever is still there to get entangled into the tears, excitement and emotional ups and downs these dramas cause.  Even when it’s all fictional.


For us guys, we call it a bunch a nonsense.  But I’m still curious, why females are so into these novels?


Is it a complexity issue to be rescued by the ‘perfect man’?


In truth, I was explaining to a young lady of English name, Cher.  That men are all in the same category all across the globe.  We get better with age; however, deep down we’re ‘the eternal-boys of summer’ and selfish.


Then, this lovely-young lady began to explain to me her fascination for these novels. But what came out of this young professional from Chengdu was surprising and refreshingly different.


On a flight from Chengdu to Hong Kong, we had time to burn.  She spoke about romantic novels and her excited anticipation in meeting-up with her boyfriend in an escapade for lovers.


We began to speak and I decided what the heck, what better time to ask questions and satisfy my curiosity.


She explained, as a feminist she felt no need to be rescued.


The novel which she read focuses on the actions of a strong-female lead.  Not the stereotypical ones, but a kick-ass action heroine.  This young woman is trying to rescue/save a paraplegic-young man from his suicidal tendencies.  In the end, even with all her efforts, the young man still takes his life.


I got passionately angry at the character, asking Cher, “Why did he do it?” almost screaming.


She quickly answered, “He was selfish to give up that easily!  Even after his accident, he found love again!”


I still went on to ask her, why did she go for these romantic-syrupy stories?


She stated, she preferred the modern, more contemporary woman.  The one who can fend for herself and doesn’t need a man.  Then she rapidly backtracks, “Well, you still need a man to give love and feel loved!”


Cher further explained that it helps women to become better in touch with their feelings.  She said, it helped to get out all the negative emotions of life through these novels.


In many ways, I had to agree, since men bottle everything inside and have more heart attacks than women.


She told me, there was no particular cultural inclination when she read a novel, whether it was in English or Chinese.


Talk about the changing of times and attitudes in young ladies.


This young lady wants to be the strong-feminist type without a man to control or tell her what to do.  Without traditionalism…


For this reason, this Sichuanese believed that love can still change the world and make it a better place.


I added, “You’re young.  I hope as you get older your views of the world never change!”


I guess it’s a good ideal to have and live by.


But for Cher, she also preferred to be a realist and in the now, not with her head stuck in the clouds.


She wanted her romantic novels, and with her background and education wanted them to be intense.


However, she also thought it was bad enough to read a cliquiest story.  You know, those with the silly Hollywood-happy ending.  She wants the heroine to be cool, honest, sexy, full of love and one in which she can determine her own destiny–without being controlled by others.


Welcome to the 21st Century female reader of romantic novels.  Now times or people are certainly changing!

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.