Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bodice Rippers vs BDSM

He mounts her with savage, tearing hands;
The girl turns white as a timid turtledove.
She screams for mother; she weeps.
As the girl is mounted, she begins to yield,
Even her fear increases her melting pleasure.

The quote above is an abridged paraphrase of a poem by Ovid, written more than two thousand years ago about the rape of the Sabine women. It could also be the synopsis of a non-consent historical.

Bodice rippers, historical non-con romances, enjoyed great popularity in the seventies and eighties. Prime examples include The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Stormfire by Christine Monson, Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers, and Whitney my Love by Judith McNaught.

The only bodice ripper I can even remember reading is Whitney my Love. I don't recall the rape, just a flogging. So I'm not an expert in the genre. However, as much as I object to contemporary non-consent stories billed as BDSM, I don't have a problem with bodice rippers. Such historicals aren't considered BDSM. The stories also take place in cultures far removed from the modern world. That means that enthralled readers are generally not going to be inspired to look for an abusive Duke on a dating site. And even if they are, where are they going to find one?

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