Which of the following statements are true:
1) When I read or watch a movie like The Hunger Games, I am transported to a dystopic world and imagine myself as someone like Katniss, Peeta, or Gale to the point where I actually think I am one of them. Where's my bow and arrow?
2) When I read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings (or again, watch the movies) I find myself believing in hobbits and elves, and I am constantly on Google Maps searching for Rivendell and Middle Earth.
3) When I watch Star Trek (in any of its incarnations), read the fan fiction, or dress up like a Klingon or Vulcan and attend a Trekkie convention, I am in need of my anti-psychotic meds because I'm expecting to be beamed up at any moment.
4) When I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works, I am a brilliant detective in Victorian London, shrouded in fog and intrigue, working feverishly to solve a complex riddle before something deadly happens. I also talk in a British accent and refer to my dog as Watson, although his name is actually Buster.
5) When I read Pride and Prejudice, I realize that Mr. Darcy is the perfect male specimen and insist that any and every man I meet must measure up to his standards. Relationship expectations cannot be taken too lightly.
Answer: None of them is true. And yet, could any of them possibly be true, in certain situations? Sure.
Most of the articles I've read related to the romance genre would make the claim that none of the above statements is true—except #5. Apparently the writers of the articles would have us believe that women, in particular, are unable to distinguish between fantasy (as it relates to the romance genre) and reality, when it comes to love and their romantic expectations in their partners.
And yet these same women watch movies like Transformers and the various Harry Potters and have no more expectation of having their Volkswagens turn into a robots, or plan to fly on a broom while playing quidditch than the men seated next to them. Are women actually watching Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling on screen and expecting either actor (or character played) will propose to them? Are men hoping Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie are going to give them a smile and a "hey, baby, text me" anytime soon? I don't honestly think so.
That being said, everyone—whether sitting in a theater, reading genre fiction, playing online games, or doing the traditional couch potato thing—can benefit from the occasional self-inventory when it comes to escapism. Sometimes people do run too far and escape for too long. And if we frequently find ourselves in that position, seeking to avoid the realities of our daily lives by these means of escape, then I suggest that maybe it's time to figure out why and head safely back to the world of reality.