Sexist Romance Novels: Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

It was by chance that I picked up my first romance novel when I was sixteen. I was in high school in class, and one of my classmates was reading Dark Magic by Christine Feehan. I skimmed a few pages and was intrigued. I bought a copy of the book for myself and soon enough, I became a fan of the Dark series. I thought they were incredibly interesting with great plots, great stories, and great character development.

And then I discovered what these novels really were:

Sexist. Beyond sexist. To both men and women.

Yes, everyone, there is such a thing as sexism toward men. Don’t feel bad. It took me a bit of time to realize it also.

In this section of my blog, I will examine passages of several of Christine Feehan’s novels, and I will point how how utterly disgraceful they are in their portrayal of relationships and love.

The first passage is from the first novel in the series, Dark Prince.

Mikhail, the male protagonist, is the Prince of the Carpathians, and he feels incredibly alone. So alone that he roars his pain out in a powerful mental call. Raven Whitney, the female protagonist and a human psychic hears him and tries to console him. Mikhail immediately has the hots for her, and wastes no time in cementing himself as the future dictator of her life.

Oh, yeah. And he molests her too.

“Mikhail’s body refused to obey. His mind was filled with pictures of her, with erotic, taunting scenes. A vision of her lying on her bed, her body naked beneath white lace, her arms outstretched to greet her lover. He swore softly. Instead of his body taking hers, he pictured another man. A human. Rage shook him, raw and deadly.

Skin like satin, hair like silk. His hand moved. He built the picture with deadly precision in his mind. He paid attention to every detail, even to the silly polish on her toenails. His strong fingers curled her small ankle, felt the texture of her skin. His breath caught in his throat, his body tightening in anticipation. He slid his palm up her calf, massaging, tantalizing, moved up farther to her knee, her thigh.

Mikhail knew the precise moment she awakened, her body on fire. Her alarm slammed into him, her fear. Deliberately, to show her what she was dealing with, his palm found the inside of her thigh, stroked, caressed.

Stop! Her body ached for his, for his touch, for his possession. He could hear the frantic pounding of her heart, feel the strength of her mental struggle with him.

Has another man touched you like this? He whispered the words in her mind, dark, deadly sensuality.

Damn you, stop! Tears glittered like jewels in her lashes, in her mind. All I wanted to do was help you. I said I was sorry.

His hand moved higher because he had to, found heat and silk, tiny curls guarding treasure. His palm covered the triangle possessively, pushed into her moist heat. You will answer me, little one. There is still time for me to come for you, to put my mark on you, for me to own you, he warned silkily. Answer me.

Why are you doing this?

Do not defy me. His voice was husky now, raw with need. His fingers moved, probed, found her most sensitive spot. I am being exceptionally gentle with you.

You already know the answer is no, she whispered in defeat.”

So Mikhail telepathically molests Raven to “show her what she was dealing with” like any egotistical power-obsessed rapist. And because “her body ached for his, for his touch, for his possession” that makes it okay.

Oh, and he was being exceptionally gentle with her.

As he continues to molest her, he tells her not to defy him and that HE WILL OWN HER whether she likes it or not. And what raging defiance does our heroine fight back with? Why a pathetic whisper of defeat of course! And when she tries to run from him, is it with terror and hatred for the trauma he put her through?!

“She wanted to stay and learn from him, but he was far too dangerous in his casual use of power.”

No. With reluctance. Fucking reluctance.

He molested her…and she considered staying with him.

Stay tuned folks, for this is only the beginning.

xXx

PART 2 

PART 3

PART 4

 

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9 responses to “Sexist Romance Novels: Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

  1. I hate her books. I can’t believe that I actually at one time liked her! It’s absolutely horrible what she does to her characters!!

      • I think that there is a masochistic streak in young women that we outgrow as we get older. An element of ‘beat me, whip me, teach me love’ that turns into lust for alpha males – again – something women seem to grow out of as we mature.

        I used to read some similar ‘bodice ripper’ crap in my 20’s. By the time I was in my mid-30’s I was over it.

        I blame it on overactive hormones. LOL

  2. That’s a pretty awful book, yeah, and what it portrays is a gruesomely unacceptable framing of rape that is unfortunately all too common in fantasy, and not always with the filter of “mental” or psychic violation.

    I’m not saying that the conflict of a rape victim torn between emotional and physical ambiguities of response can’t be fertile grounds for a good story – it can – but this cheap, dime-store glorification of stealing a woman’s agency is definitely inexcusable.

    That being said, I’m also more than a little irritated by your comments on sexism. Of course sexism is possible against males, that’s why the word is gender-neutral. It doesn’t even default to women, and if it did that would raise a host of other unfortunate implications.

    Implying that sexism against men is strange, surprising, or less common, does more harm than good.

    • Thanks for commenting!

      I didn’t “imply” that sexism toward men was strange. The comment was meant to be sarcastic because in this day and age the word “sexism” is almost always associated with women. But I am aware that sexism is equally disgusting toward men. In fact, the reason I grew to loathe Sharon Osborne is because she called the mutilation of a man by his wife due to wanting a divorce “fabulous.”

  3. Perhaps “imply” is the wrong word, because you state:

    “Yes, everyone, there is such a thing as sexism toward men. Don’t feel bad. It took me a bit of time to realize it also.”

    Sexism isn’t almost always associated with women. Perhaps you have been unaware of it until recently, but that doesn’t make it so. I applaud you for discussing something as important as gender relations on your blog, I just don’t like to see anyone get marginalized even by accident. 😉

  4. Yes, this book has sexist views on men because Carpathians think that men are expendable and they LOSE their emotions but their women don’t.

    Also, notice that there are no female villains? They’re always men and Feehan thinks only men are abusers.

    Sorry if I sound snippy but I’m glad you brought up the fact that it’s sexist to men as well.

  5. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, of course, but I happen to love her books. My purpose in reading them is to enjoy the world Feehan has created around various predatory peoples–meaning they can shift to animals, have many of the traits of those animals–who have hidden in plain sight. Some of the animals they are patterned on are also sexist in their natural world. Animals generally are, on certain levels. And if you want to get technical, many paranormal races are sexist. *shrugs

    In the context of the culture of Feehan’s world, both the men and the women are strong and can be warriors. Additionally, both men and women can be on the villain side. Carpathians are on the brink of extinction, know there is only one woman destined for them, to save them, if you will, from the darkness and turning to evil. Long lived and yes, sexist in the sense they have lived 1000’s of years and are from eras when the man was the dominate one of the sexes.

    If you’ve read her books (DARK PRINCE was her debut novel many years ago), you’ll also see that she recognizes that and has used more modern women to wise these arrogant men to modern women’s rights, thoughts, and feelings. It’s a fun clash to watch.

    Just a thought to keep in mind, in THIS world, since minds can be read, then attraction can be clearly seen when it’s mutual. And some of the women can play sexual mental games too.

    Your purpose in bringing Feehan’s book to this table is to show sexist examples of writing in today’s novels. For sure you’ll find them if that is what your looking for. You’ll also find them in many paranormal romances, especially if the *race* involved has a dual basis–animal and human.

    That’s just my opinion, of course. 🙂

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

    I’ve read books in each of her series. Take a look at Ghost Walkers series and you’ll see she plays the strengths of both men and women. Leopard series, women leopards are also predatory.

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