This is going to be a bookish rant post.
There’s a trend – especially in the Bookstagram community – that I just can’t wrap my head around.
Actually, it extends into the fantasy and movie/series loving community as well, so it’s not fair to single any group out. But it stems from characters written in novels so that’s why my frustration starts with Bookstagram.
I am so unbelievably tired of romanticizing the emotionally unavailable, gaslighting, swallowed by his own demons, mentally abusive useless male characters.
How can you read a novel about a male figure who spends 99% of his time moping about like a wet sponge, complaining about the planet, gaslighting the main character or ignoring her, and who is hot and cold, and hot and cold again (endlessly) throughout the story? What about this male appeals to you?
Do you like to be treated like garbage? Is that a fantasy you have? To be made to feel like a secondary choice by the person you love, to be continuously brushed off for yet another emotional meltdown?
Most recently, I’ve noticed this with the Bridgerton series on Netflix (which is based on a book). What about the Duke of Hastings makes you swoon? This is not a series about love, it’s a series about manipulation and being emotionally abused by an indecisive man-child. It’s difficult to even find the actor attractive because I find his character appalling.
Another example of this is Henry in Addie LaRue. How people could like such a wet blanket of a character is beyond me, and how you could desire a courtship with Addie and him when they just endlessly string one another around and have emotional – and irrational – meltdowns is beyond me.
If you want to know why women keep settling for men who don’t deserve them, it’s because we are endlessly finding this trope in every fantasy and romance book we read, and we are lead to believe it’s normal. This is how men act. And we must adjust ourselves to be more convenient for these soaking moldy sponges.
A real man doesn’t act like that. I was lucky enough to realize this when I found my husband who showed me that just because every other boy prior was an immature, emotionally unavailable, gaslighting man-child, doesn’t mean real men are.
You can have a relationship with a person that has, literally, zero fights. You can have a relationship with a man who doesn’t dismiss your emotions, even if they’re overly sensitive. You can have a relationship with a man who is both insanely attractive and emotionally available. Believe me, I know; I married one! I know these are fictional worlds, but art is inspired by life, no?
It is nauseating to see these worthless male characters being lusted over in Bookstagram.
It’s time we start fantasizing about male characters who: support the female main and don’t gaslight her, lay their honest emotions on the table with no games or nonsense, have a sense of purpose and have goals and aren’t just lumping about in these fictional worlds, and who are 30 years old and don’t act 15.
I guess the first step is having more authors write these kinds of characters.
So authors, read this and get to it.