A Book Trope I’m Totally Sick Of

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.

Reality check:

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.

xx C

16 thoughts on “A Book Trope I’m Totally Sick Of”

  1. Food for thought, as those types of characters indeed are romanticized because of their “mystery”. Yet, in real life, there is no mystery and it’s mainly misery.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, 100% spot on and this trend NEEDS to go away. I’ve been mindful of it in my own writing and when I have male characters that are (or act like) total douche-canoes – they get called on it.

    I think this “trope” goes all the way back to early novels like Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is just so unlikeable and yet, readers and writers of romance are always seeking their own Mr. Darcy. Ugh, wet blanket and porcupine men are not appealing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is definitely a trope that I don’t love. I do wish books/authors/everyone would stop romanticizing this idea that it’s okay and normal to be treated badly! That’s not romantic at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t disagree with you, the trope is really overdone and a lot of the men are infuriating. I don’t necessarily find an issue with a little hot and cold or distant at the beginning but grow to love them overall. I like a guy that seems to be a little rogue or distant and then turns out to be amazing. Like Han Solo or Rhys from ACOTAR.

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  5. I was with ya on this until you mentioned Henry. I didn’t see him in that way at all, but obviously, everyone is up for different interpretations. I do hate enemies-to-lovers/bully love because of this particular toxic situation though. A lot of that comes from my own past with abusive relationships, but I do wish that there was less fantasizing over “the bad guy” or manipulative relationships. I definitely don’t think they’re healthy or that they should be so popular in books!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel like you just read my mind! There are so many books with garbage male characters and we, the audience of readers, are supposed to swoon over them?? I haven’t seen Bridgerton nor read Addie LaRue, but one character that came to mind for me while reading this post is Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. He was a trash boyfriend who tried to lie to his ex instead of, oh I don’t know, TALKING to her and lead Lara Jean on. Then when they finally got together, he was just a moody, sulky dude who had NO character development at all. Ugh, just the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, I TOTALLY agree with you about Peter! I felt the same way. I also feel this way about Gabriel in Emily in Paris and the main guy in that book-turned-netflix-series about the New York bookshop and the clues inside books with the name I no longer remember lol…

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  7. Ug, yes! I 100% agree with you on this. And I don’t understand why women think it’s attractive or ok. We need better male characters for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

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