For a while now, I’ve been wanting to add something non-review-y to the blog. But due to one reason or the other (usually laziness), I haven’t done it. Finally, I’m changing that.
Trope Tuesday is for book tropes. It can be a trope that I hate, one that I love, or simply one that I wish to discuss. The ‘hate’ ones will likely be more prominent since I already have a list that I made a couple of months ago. In fact, I’m kicking things off with a popularly hated book trope. I mean, what better way to start, than with the dreaded love triangle.
A lot of people hate love triangles. I actually thought, at one point, that everyone hated them. I was quite surprised when I found out that some people didn’t. Which is why I like to think that my hatred is a tad more intense that it usually is.
There are many reasons for my passionate dislike. There is, of course, the uncertainty of ‘who will she choose?’ that’s very frustrating. But also, when we get love triangles in a genre other than romance, it takes away from the main plot. It’s all about who the girl will end up with and the angst that comes with it, instead of being about the world that’s about to end or whatever. The aforementioned angst is also a huge problem. Angst, especially excessive amounts of it, makes me a very unhappy customer. Like my-jaw-hurts-from-gritting-my-teeth and I-want-to-throw-this-book-across-the-fucking-room levels of unhappy.
But an even bigger reason lies in the light the trope paints females in. For example, in the above paragraph, I used “she” and “girl” for the person who’s in the middle, and most of you probably didn’t blink an eye at that. Hell, the first time (with “she”) even I didn’t notice what I’d done. That’s because over 90% of love triangles involve one girl and two guys.
Part of me understands the purpose of that and the reason behind it. The girl is the protagonist, she’s supposed to be all special and stuff (that’s another trope to discuss) and the author is also usually female. But why do most people not realize that it’s making women seem as if they’re disloyal and unreliable. You’re making woman look bad, female authors! That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing! You’re supposed to tell a story unaffected by the gender of the characters. And if you’re going for empowerment, then you’re supposed to make women look good. Instead, I find them untrustworthy.
I’m gonna tell you a little story of when this little fact become glaringly evident. I was reading the sequel of a novel. In the first book, the two protagonists met and fell in love. But at the end, they were separated and had to find their way back to the other. Both had a companion of the opposite sex. With the male protagonist, I was absolutely certain that, no matter how many woman he met, he wouldn’t develop any romantic feeling, even if he was pursued by someone else. With the female character, despite knowing that she really did love the guy, I couldn’t be as sure. That tells me that books have made us think that females (in novels, at least) are more prone to straying than males.
Think about it. How many times have we read about a girl who has a fight with a guy and immediately finds herself involved (physically or emotionally) with a different guy? If a male character had done the same, he would be called a grade-A dick, because it’s a dick-ish thing to do. But with a woman, it’s… commonplace.
So I have to say it. Women are not any more likely to be unfaithful than men. Their feelings are not less concrete, they are not unreliable, and are just as capable of loyalty as men. By using this trope to increase reader excitement or simply to say that everyone wants the female protagonist, you’re demeaning women. If you want to write a love triangle, that’s fine. But it has to have a deeper purpose. There has to be a good reason behind it too, if you’re showing your protagonist in a positive light. Otherwise, it just makes them indecisive and unlikable.
Also (the rant’s over), as a side note, please ensure that the two people vying for the protagonist’s love aren’t pathetic. Seriously, give them some self-respect so they’re not just letting someone string them along and mistreat them (unless the mistreatment is part of the plot).
…And I’m gonna stop now. There’s a good chance I’ll remember a dozen more things I could’ve said, or should’ve said, after I’ve posted this. But the post’s gotten long enough. I’ve made all the points I wanted to make. I fucking hate love triangles. I actually returned a book two days ago just because it had a huge love triangle in it that took up most of the plot. There were other reasons for the return but this was the biggest one. To conclude, I have a question: Do y’all hate love triangles too? If yes, is there a specific reason? If no, how?