Shivani

Shivani

University student of creative writing, philosophy, and journalism.

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    Latest Topics

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    Why is the byronic hero trope so persistent?

    Analyse why the byronic hero trope continues to be popular and "sexy" male characters are still often depicted as arrogant, proud, brooding, unemotional on the surface and somewhat antagonistic to the female protagonist in the beginning to create sexual chemistry. Why haven’t we moved past the Mr.Darcy fantasy- now the Mr.Grey/Edward Cullen fantasy? Why do male characters, especially those in YA such as Jace Herondale in the City of Bones series for example, continue to be by far one dimensional leather-jacket-wearing, smouldering "bad boys". There are SO MANY examples that could be discussed and explored here!!

    • I think that, largely, it has to do with toxic masculinity. We’ve been programmed to view men who don’t express outward emotion (except in very intimate settings) as “strong”, when in reality that isn’t the case at all.In the case of Edward Cullen/Christian Grey specifically, I think these characters romanticize relationships where there is an unhealthy balance of power. In any other context but a book, controlling who you see or don’t see would be considered abusive. Twilight and 50 Shades, however, paint these behaviors as “he just cares about you”. It also really doesn’t help that Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele seem completely oblivious to how problematic these behaviors are. – RebaZatz 2 years ago
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    • Nice topic. Don't forget Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester. Other examples might include the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, or even Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series is said to qualify too, although he's not considered completely Byronic. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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    • And don't forget Deadpool! Also worth considering is Dallas from "The Outsiders." Dally was the ultimate byronic hero. Throughout the novel, Dally is represented as the uncaring bad boy, but at the end it is revealed that he was the character that truly cared the most. – EmskitheNerd 2 years ago
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    • They appear in shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. See the link: https://the-artifice.com/byronic-hero – L:Freire 2 years ago
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    • i feel like men are shamed for being vulnerable by showing compassion etc. – Glimmerkill 2 years ago
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    • Feminism created an entire genre called YA for young adult women to enjoy the strength, independence and power we aren't given in a patriarchal society. In these novels, young women are constantly undermining structures of power and are given a wide range of character types and depths. And yet YA has failed in many ways to provide the same feminist message to men by giving them characters who are emotionally vulnerable and sensitive. – sonyaya 2 years ago
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    • My understanding was that a big motive for writing original "Byronic heroes" was so that female authors could have male characters who were a little more like themselves--privileged by being male but still "lesser" in some way (for instance, Mr. Rochester is a younger son and so not first in line to inherit an estate). Probably the closest thing to this I've seen in a modern work is, interestingly enough, the male lead in Me Before You--a rich and powerful man who's held back by having a profound disability (or so he thinks). So, in a strange way, I think they are more "relatable" to the female audience than a lot of male characters who are targeted toward men, even if they treat women badly in general. – Debs 12 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    Shivani

    Really though? We always have the beauty-and-the-beast tropes with ugly male leads but this is never reversed- The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, The Phantom of the Opera etc. This also includes the hoard of romantic movies, (which include rom coms of course) with attractive women and ugly/average looking men whose talent/funniness/some aspect of their personality is highlighted which is also a trope that’s never reversed, and there are several examples of this (um, every Adam Sandler movie ever, romances with Billy Crystal, etc). Whenever this even appears to reverse, it’s always with a beautiful actress who has been dressed down with glasses/braces/frizzy hair/sloppy clothes that gets a makeover to win the man’s heart while in the male version, they never have to be anyone but themselves to get modelesque women- it’s just unfair! Your first point having being refuted, I will say that I agree with your statement that people prefer to watch attractive leads on the whole but does the “it’s all about the money game, we’re just producing what most people think they want” claim fair? We won’t really know, until we produce films with average looking leads whose stories are brilliantly written, shot and acted and see the reception they get! Moving to your third point, I never claimed that Disney doesn’t have non-white princesses, only that all of their depictions centre around Eurocentric beauty. Even when their skin colour changes and they may change one or two feautures like Mulan’s eyes and nose, they still have largely the same impossible body types, doe eyes and general facial structure.

    Fairytales and Feminism: "I Don't Wanna be Like Cinderella"
    Shivani

    This is such a fascinating article and the topic is so thoroughly explored and the concerns made evident- I completely agree that it’s high past time we wrote new fairy tales! Not only does the “expected behaviour” of the passive, beautiful, gentle girl position girls up for insecurities and disappointments, it also tells them that if you don’t fit the eurocentric-standards of beauty- the small nose, big eyes, luscious flowing hair, impossibly slender waists, etc- then you CANNOT be a princess and if you can’t be the princess- can you ever have your own prince and happily ever after? Are you entitled to happy endings and love if you don’t look like any of these princesses? Even princesses like Merida and Elsa who don’t have love interests and are fierce and independent are still classically beautiful – this creates an expectation of beauty making you more “deserving” of being a protagonist and makes it more likely that your dreams will come true and is the most problematic aspect of not just fairytale women but most of today’s media representations of women.

    Fairytales and Feminism: "I Don't Wanna be Like Cinderella"
    Shivani

    I find your question of why certain representations of ‘strong, female characters’ are linked to abstinence? and if it makes them better, to be an extremely interesting- albeit concerning one, to ponder upon. This uses the concept embedded in our social psyche that having sex makes women weak and men powerful. Of course the counterexamples some might pose to this is that we have examples of fictional women who are cast as spies and such that use their sexuality as a weapon to seduce and kill or procure what they need- as a means to an end, but my argument for this is that sexuality in these cases is not used in a context of true intimacy and the woman is never fully involved in it, she never actually loses herself in the sexual passion- thereby retaining a sort of detachment from sex even in the midst of a sexual act. What worries me is that these women have to have that distance from sex, as not really ever wanting it, to be perceived as powerful or “badass”. However, I think Jane The Virgin does an excellent job of portraying a woman with sexual desires that is not a warrior, whose abstinence isn’t linked with the maintenance of any perceived power.

    Representation of female celibacy in Television and Film
    Shivani

    This is such an interesting article! I’m not certain I can offer a fully adult perspective at nineteen, but neither is mine a sully adolescent perspective. At one point (at around 15/16) I would cringe if the blurb mentioned anything about young love and two competing love-interests and the YA fantasy genre was unmentionable- anything with vampires or werewolves or with the sudden appearance of undiscovered powers, all with gorgeous undeservedly celebrated protagonists made me livid but then I came across Rainbow Rowell and she made me fall in love with YA all over again. ‘Eleanor and Park’ was about young love that faced obstacles- a typical plot point- but how the characters were written- both away from the ideal of beauty, both endearingly flawed and awkward and so REAL, made the book a heart-warming read. I think a lot of YA fails to do this anymore, not because it uses cliches, but because so many of the characters are written in the same way- the solution is to capture the complexity of ordinary human beings within even the extraordinary characters. Let them have skin that breaks out- how many sixteen year olds have porcelain, perfect skin? Let them stutter and do stupid things in front of their crushes- how many teenagers articulate poetically and flawlessly?

    Has Cliche’ in Young Adult Literature Decreased It’s Appeal to Adult Readers?