It’s been a long time since I’ve really read anything new. I am notorious for being very picky about the things that I read. I’m known for reading the same series over and over again until I am sick of them (same with tv shows and movies as well). One place where I have been exposed to new stories, however, are choices apps on my phone. There are quite a few of them, and I couldn’t possible name every single one, but I have been recently reading stories on the app called ‘Chapters’.
Chapters, like the other apps, includes a series of stories where the reader plays the protagonist (usually female) and has the option to make choices that affect the storyline throughout. Some of the choices are free and others are paid (which is another story altogether). The issue is that these stories rely heavily on romance and eroticism to attract readers.
While I don’t have an issue with romance per say, I do find it to be a bit boring and predictable, especially when it’s the only plot. There usually is a small collection of paranormal stories on the apps, which is where I tend to gravitate until I read all of them or I get sick of the app.
The problem is that the romance that I’m seeing in a lot of these tends to be pretty toxic. In one story, the protagonist was kidnapped by the male lead, and then he spends the read of the time relentlessly flirting with her. Stockholme Syndrome anyone?
Honestly, this is one of the better ones, because the forced interaction is a necessity. It takes place in sort of an apocalyptic world (my observation, not necessarily what the author intended), and aside from the male lead’s relentless flirting, there has so far been no forced romance. The characters are essentially being forced to work together by the situation they are in, which I find to be more tolerable than the other stories I’ve found on the app.
In another, the protagonist is forced to go on a date with her stalker, even with making every possible choice to avoid this outcome. And yet, this is not the worst of the stories. In another story, the reader has no choice but to endure sex with her captor (I stopped reading as soon as things started to heat up).
My concern is that this is what young women and girls are being exposed to and taught that romance is. No wonder 50% of marriages end in divorce, and a majority of the rest are not happy. Our society has forgotten how relationships and sex are actually supposed to be, and that can be dangerous for women and girls.
Relationships should be built on mutual trust, respect, and affection, and while sex can be a part of that, it’s not about being drawn to one another and losing oneself in an animal frenzy with a man you barely know.
We need to have better examples of relationships and sexual encounters in literature and the media, otherwise, we as a society will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past and be completely out of touch about what a real relationship can be.