I have absolutely no issues at all with BDSM. I respect it and it’s practitioners as a strong, vibrant community. So, I have no problem with women being submissive, if that’s what they want. However, I do have an issue with protagonists that claim to be independent women who like to stay in control and take care of themselves, suddenly deferring to the male MC.
The lesson, of course, being that any woman would be happy to cede control and let a man take care of her it it’s the right man. So these women, suddenly allow some random man, often one they’ve just met, to tell them what to do and feel and totally take over their lives. Suddenly it’s “Oh, I always take care of myself and I like it like that, but here’s this sexy man and for some reason beyond my comprehension, I like it when he takes complete control of me and makes me beg.” What??
I’m not saying it’s bad to let your SO take care of you. It’s not, that’s healthy. Instantly becoming totally submissive and dependent on a man you’ve just met? That is totally unhealthy.
Insta-love is a turn-off for most people (including me). Insta-lust is pretty much a staple of most romance novels. I have an issue with insta-trust. Especially when the protagonist then proceeds to enumerate all of the reason she has trust issues while still trusting the male MC way more, and way less, than is realistic.
Also, I don’t know a ton about kinks, but I feel like women don’t just spontaneously become submissives in bed just because they encounter an “alpha male”. I do buy them suddenly discovering a kink, but one that just erupts because of some dude? No thanks. But whatever, what do I know.
P.S. (Not sure I’m being totally clear with this one? If anyone’s offended, sorry, promise I’m not trying to kink-shame. It mostly just about how romance novels paint some fantasy of a woman becoming a sudden damsel in distress who turns herself and her agency over to a man -but only a sexy alpha male she barely knows, of course – completely, because 18th century gender roles.)