I am perplexed by JMSmith’s suggestion that Nell Fenwick appreciated being tied to train tracks by Snidely Whiplash, and I’m sure I have no idea what Mr. Spock was insinuating when he said to Janice Rand that the evil transporter double Captain Kirk who had tried to rape her had “interesting” qualities. But I can’t deny the evidence that they understand something about women that I don’t.
A while back, I got my older daughter (1st grade) a kid’s book on Greek myths. I thought it would be the sort of thing she’d like, and she took to it right away. Then she invented a new game. She’s Persephone, I’m Hades, and I have to kidnap her and take her to my underworld kingdom. Other stuff can happen too, but that’s the important part. She’s had us do it lots of times. After being recruited to play Demeter, her younger sister (preschool) realized that this is a fun game, and wanted to be Persephone too. It’s strange, because all versions of the myth they’ve heard make it pretty clear that Persephone is not happy to be kidnapped and made Hades’ wife. (In their games, she seems happy enough.) Nor does Persephone in the myth do anything particularly exciting. However, the myths are also clear that she is a particularly beautiful and desirable goddess, and my daughters are fascinated by pretty girls.
The only sense I can make of it is that girls can appreciate a genuine compliment. A man who tells a girl she looks nice may just be being polite, but kidnapping is always a tribute in earnest.