Topic Spotlight: Super rich romantic heroes

By Marie on Jan 3rd, 2015

Super rich hero: A fan favourite
Self-made billionaires, tycoons, oil princes, regency dukes with vast lands and big mansions… Gazillionaire romatic heroes have been an enduring favourite of generations of female romance book readers. And rather than having a dude who just happens to be loaded among a myriad of other nice attributes, quite often his bank status is used as the leading feature in the book's title:
  • The Billionaire Wins the Game
  • Maid for the Billionaire
  • Stranded with a Billionaire
  • Dominated by the Billionaire
  • Bedding The Billionaire
  • Bought By A Billionaire
So plentiful riches really do seem to be a major point of attraction. And whilst enjoying the premise, personally I try to avoid getting caught with such a book in my hand which blatantly shouts its trope from the cover. It just seems to be a bit embarrassing to be honest. Certainly more than a bit materialistic (duh!). But are grand houses, luxury adventures and expensive bling really the main fantasy that is getting fulfilled here? Let's look at this trope from another perspective: Most women (and men) will know what it is like to be skint. Whether this is just for a short period of time or an ongoing thing, the pressure can be terrible. Especially if not only oneself is affected, but others as well one is responsible for. And even for those who make a good enough living, the status quo might not feel safe. Loosing the job, the knowledge that a serious illness can happen, another downturn of the economy, those are all fears everyone is familiar with.

This is where the fantasy of the uber rich guy comes in: These men are not just rich, they are super rich. So rich, that every conceivable misfortune could happen and they still would have plenty. And what do they do with their money? Well, taking care of the heroine of course. The hero and his sizeable wallet represent complete security in the financial department - and provide escapism from everyday anxieties about money. The stress of having to care not just for oneself, without support, but also maybe others, is momentarily alleviated by dreaming up a hero who has not only the means, but even more so the motivation to take over and shoulder that responsibility. Think about a security blanket in tall, dark and handsome format… Rather than just being a silly materialistic fantasy then, this trope provides escapism from anxieties that many share. And instead of demonstrating that women are materialistic creatures who only care about a guy's wealth, the popularity of the topic points toward a reality in which women have to shoulder their fair share of financial responsibilities and struggle. That being said, having nice stuff is still, eh, nice! Agree or disagree? Let's hear it in the comments.

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