When I first started getting into romance novels, in the early 2000s, the typical male protagonist was millionaire-rich. I remember seeing ridiculous titles like ‘the millionaire rancher’ all the time. It seemed like it was a prerequisite that for the exquisite woman on the cover to fall in love with you, you had to be a millionaire on a rancher/soldier/cop/doctor’s salary.
Now, we seem to have made a bit of a jump from millionaire to BILLIONAIRE. That’s kind of huge. But I guess it sounds a little chunky to title something ‘pregnant with the tens of millionaire’s baby’ or ‘the hundred millionaire’s secret submissive’.
I still wonder though, what does it say about our society if every romance novel features a ‘genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist’, to quote Tony Stark. There is nothing wrong with marrying into money, or even with wanting to marry into money. There is something wrong if that is the basis of every book I browse online.
Just listen to some of these book/series titles I picked at random off goodreads
“Marriage to a Billionaire”
“Maid for the Billionaire”
“The Billionaire wins the Game”
I was day-dreaming in the car a bit ago, wondering where all this started. It is true that a million doesn’t go nearly so far today as it did twenty years ago. Then you had the rise of billionaire businessman hero types, especially after Fifty Shades hit it big. A lot of really great authors picked up on E.L. James’ success and wrote popular series perpetuating this subgenre, in particular Sylvia Day. And of course, the incredibly annoying yet catching and honest tune, ‘I want to be a billionaire’ by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars came out.
Do you remember it?
‘I want to be a billionaire so freaking bad,
and buy all of the things I never had.
I want to be on the cover of
smiling next to Oprah and the Queen’.
Admit it, it’s true. You’d like to be a billionaire too. And of course, Marvel hit it huge with the first three Iron Man movies, featuring the aforementioned Tony Stark. And I may not be American, but I remember hearing about that crazy Powerball lottery last year where some guy won half a billion.
I’m not saying I’d turn down the money if it was me. But I still wonder just when authors felt compelled to make every character a billionaire in order to make them attractive. And hey, why can’t some of those peeps be genius, billionaire, playgirl philanthropists.