“And I shall marry a nice steady man if I find one?” I asked demurely.
Harry came close to me.
“My God! Anne, if you ever marry any one else but me, I’ll wring his neck. And as for you—"
“Yes,” I said, pleasurably excited.
“I shall carry you away and beat you black and blue.”
Agatha Christie ~ The Man in the Brown Suit
Agatha Christie and Mary Stewart are my favorite mystery writers. I love reading their books, except when the narrative strays into a dominant-submissive, male-female relationship. That sort of thing ruins an otherwise good novel. Why on earth they do that is beyond me.
Ayn Rand, that champion of extreme individualism, is also guilty of subtle misogyny. In her novel Atlas Shrugged, there is a scene where the strong-willed heroine Dagny Taggart wears a chain-link metal bracelet to a party. Rand notes that the bracelet gives Dagny the feminine characteristic of being chained. Chained? Are you kidding me? ARGHH!
When Christie’s character Harry threatens to beat Anne “black and blue,” the latter does not flee, as any rational woman would; instead, she marries him, where she lives happily submissive forever after.
Consider the dominant-submissive relationship in the following songs:
“Down by the river, I shot my baby. Dead. I shot her dead.” Neil Young
“Hey, Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand? I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady. I caught her messin’ round with another man.” Jimi Hendrix
“You better run for your life, if you can, little girl. I’d rather see you dead little girl than to see you with another man.” John Lennon
What was always weird to me about those songs is that Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, and John Lennon appeared to be peace-loving guys, possibly even feminists. Yet they wrote a song about killing a woman.
I recently read a novel where the heroine extricated herself from one dysfunctional relationship only to get involved in another. The only difference between the two men, as far as I could tell, is that one was the villain and the other was the hero. However, both were just as bossy, ordering the woman around and telling her what do to. It made me crazy.
Come on, ladies. Is the siren call of dominant-submissive relationships that hard to resist? I wonder. I just know that it has marred many a good story, spoiling my reading pleasure.