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Women Who Love Men Who Hate Women

Continuing the discussion over the Isla Vista killer and misogyny, one reader writes:

I’ll have to dig up that study where women were became more turned on the more a man made them feel in danger. It’s a doozy.

And Ryan Booth answers:

You don’t need a study to know that. Let me tell you a story:

A girl is attracted to a powerful, weird guy. He tells her to stay away from him, because he belongs to a group primarily known for murder, and he in fact has a powerful urge to kill her on the spot.

Not in spite of this, but because of this, the girl falls for him and decides that this guy with the urge to kill her is actually the man she is supposed to be with forever, and they do indeed end up living happily ever after.

Of course, this is the story of the Twilight series, and the four books in the series were the four most popular books of 2008 (probably why Hachette has enough money to fight Amazon, by the way). The movies made over three billion dollars at the box office. It’s clear that this is a fantasy shared by a great many women — romance with a man with the power and desire to kill her.

That series wouldn’t have been so successful if it didn’t tap into something primal in human nature. Most every guy has wondered at some time in his dating life why so many women were attracted to men who treated them badly. The recognition of this reality is what drives the Manosphere, which, as far as I’ve read its stuff, dehumanizes both men and women. Still, there it is.

Again, Twilight wouldn’t have been so popular if it didn’t speak to the desires of teenagers, especially teenage girls, at a very deep level. But its popularity also catechizes and acculturates girls into what to expect from a male partner, don’t you think? I don’t think this is a good thing, mind you, but I think it is a thing.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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