Love and Sexism
What do you think about the relationship between the sexes in romance novels? I encourage you to express your honest opinions.
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ihrtbks
Okay, there's two kind of childhood enemies stories. The kind where they just prank and argue with each other all the time but defend, protect, and stand up for each other, which in my opinion can become a romance because my parents and grandparents argue over the stupidest things...like whether they're arguing or 'discussing', but start scolding and reprimanding when my sisters or I say something.

Then there's the kind SK is talking about...the "I hate hate hate him but he's so cute!*swoon*" I totally agree with SK. Even if they do end up in a 'situation', they're more apt to work together just enough to survive, but not enough to fall in love. Like the kid that had the locker under mine: for some reason unknown to me, he didn't like me too much. We worked together, eventually started being friendly to one another, but neither he nor I fell in love. And touching does NOT equal love, it equals primal survival instincts. The other problem is if the guy hates her as much as he says, why does he want to get her? If it's just to prove he can... would you really fall for a person whose only reason for courting you is to prove that s/he can get you?

Another thing...most of the male leads in these stories are notorious players; like we've mentioned earlier, what are the chances of a player actually staying with one girl he "fell for" who for the sake of the story hates him when said player is also the crush of 95 percent of the girls in the school and can supposedly have any of them he wants? That's like trying to become friends with a hungry just-woke-up-from-hibernating bear when you have dozens of puppies clamoring for your attention.

If someone who hates me suddenly starts being sweet to me(it's incredibly difficult to fall for someone when they're being despicable), I'd immediately become suspicious. Then there's the thing about how the hate is just a facade; if so, then why do you constantly mention how horrendous he is? Wouldn't you mention your secret crush on him more?

Why are the stories with arrogant players who have sarcastic nobodies externally hating them but secretly crushing on them read so much? Why are readers, who we've decided are mostly preteen-teenage girls, so attracted to this? I still don't get it...

7/22/2007 #91
Serom Kim
Yeah ... ihrtbks is right. It takes more than good looks to win a person over. It may be a contributing factor, but no respectable person would immediately fall for a person just because of his or her looks. And even if that handsome guy whom you hate so much decides to wink at you, I don't think the average girl would be thinking, "Ooh, I hate him ... but he's so handsome!" Rather, she would be thinking, "Arrogant lout! I hope he runs into that pole right in front of him."

And ihrtbks is right on the whole player issue. Players don't stay with one guy or gal (in these stories, more likely gal that guy). They move on and break new hearts. And if there's that one girl who doesn't like him, the player might be interested because he's not used to somebody resisting him. Yet, what makes you think that he's going to get her? What makes you think that he will actually fall in love with her and she'll see that he's not so bad? Any person who tries to get with you just to prove that he or she can has no redeeming qualities.

If somebody who doesn't like me (and I don't like that person either) started being nice, I'd avoid that person. It's as simple as that. Girls in these romance stories are too gullible.

Oh why, oh why do so many of the romance stories here have to be like this? It's not realistic! In the real world, these so-called heroines would not be seen in a positive light!

7/23/2007 #92
ihrtbks
I completely agree with the arrogant lout thing. You'd have to be incredibly desperate to go to him because "he's so handsome". And even then, if you had much self-respect and hated him as much as you say you do, you probably still wouldn't fall for him.

Like I said before, there are the pranking, name-calling "enemies" that actually care for one another and would believably miss each other if one went away (for example, James and Lily from HP[not mine]), but most "enemies" are bitter French-British (go back a couple centuries) enemies.

Not all the stories on here are unrealistic; it's not that all the player-turned-committed's aren't plausible; it's just that most writers don't portray 'him' as such. Seriously, if he's gone through a zillion girls, he won't stop at that one he just can't get. I dislike stories where the male lead sleeps with a different girl every week. If he does, then he's probably cheating on the female lead in the story, and who wants to stay with a cheater? What ever happened to respecting women as people, not objects? Why do the mostly female authors on this site write their girls like that? Even if he is "swooning cute".

I like the kind where he's with other girls just because he doesn't think the one he wants would have him when she secretly likes him back. But if it is this kind, he wouldn't have dated all the girls in the school at one time or another, just a few others.

What I find hilarious (in a manner of speaking) is that very few stories have playettes in them. Why can't girls go through guys faster than normal people go through a 30mm piece of lead? Is it because of the widespread belief that females on the whole are more caring than guys and therefore aren't as quick to break hearts? Because if that were true, then the b*** cheerleaders wouldn't exist either. And not all males are crueler than all females, not even the majority. It's the guys that always drink themselves into alcoholics while the girls just cry a couple of days/weeks/months.

Why does almost nobody write a story with a female player who showers her affections on this unsuspecting guy who immediately becomes wary but realizes that she does have good genes? I know Serom Kim has started one, and I sort of did; but I haven't seen any others. There are innumerable stories out there with similar plotlines but "traditional" gender roles.

7/24/2007 #93
Serom Kim
Yeah, most of the writers here don't think like us. They like the cliche, but I will never know why.

I liked the fact that you brought up how men are not always the insensitive ones. Stories on fictionpress seem to portray the female as the innocent victim who cannot be blamed, and the males are the heartbreakers that everyone wants. Girls want to think that their gender is the "right" one with the exception of the few females whom they feel as if don't deserve to be portrayed as "right."

On the topic of Life as a High School Fairytale, though, I'm going to change the title to Star Crossed, and I'm going to rewrite the entire thing (shouldn't be too hard sine I only have three chapters). I'm going to try to make it more "realistic" for the critics while keeping Katrina as a player who wants Bryan for some reason that you guys are going to have to find out later.

7/25/2007 #94
ihrtbks
Here we are complaining about players and then trying to write player stories ourselves. But neither mine nor yours is "because I can" story, so I *think* it's slightly different. But then along with player, I got sibling's best friend, so here I am attempting at least a double cliche. *sigh* To sell it: Cliched for those who like them, reversed gender roles for those who don't.

Showing emotions is considered a feminine thing to do, and being a feminine guy supposedly indicates homosexuality. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with gay people, but most girls aren't going to try to score a guy they know is gay. But see, most the guys I grew up with did have some traditionally female traits, like introverted and emotional, so I don't think it's emasculating. I based most my characters of either my parents, grandparents, or friend's parents. And since most the males in that group are feeling and caring, the guys in my stories are too. I can't write a story with a uncaring womanizing hero because if the guy in your story isn't something you would desire, it's hard to make the heroine want him, and that's kind of the point of romance.

7/29/2007 #95
Serom Kim
Heh, we're not exactly complaining about all player stories, we're complaining because all player stories have to have a male player trying to get the bitter, cynical female. I don't know what I'm trying to do with High School Fairytale, but I just came up with this idea once and it wouldn't leave me alone, so I decided to write it before somebody beat me to the punch.

Showing emotions are feminine? Girls may show emotions more readily than guys, but does that mean that guys are cold, unmoving blocks of ice? No way! They have emotions, too. It's not a problem with me, and you can't judge a guy's sexual orientation by how much he shows his emotions. That's just a stupid romance thing that writers seem to have because they think the guy should be the strong one to protect the one he loves ... ugh.

7/30/2007 #96
ihrtbks
Yeah, but I still found that slightly ironic. On my story: I love "brother's best friend" but after a while, I got sick of it and couldn't for the life of me figure out why a player older sister couldn't have a best friend who falls in love with sister's rather inexperienced younger brother. Can't a sister be overprotective of her brother? Can't guys fall in love with that not-best-friend-but-I've-still-know-her-forever girl? Can't girls go through boys faster than most students go through 30mm lead?

I don't believe in feminism; I believe in equality for everyone. There IS a difference! Feminism is when you insist women have been oppressed. Equality is when you believe that it doesn't take a certain gender to do a certain thing. Feminism is believing females can be doctors; equality is saying men can be nurses. Most the writers on this site are under the impression that a believable guy and "real" girl have to have certain traits only their gender has. Granted, there are some physical traits that differentiate a guy from a girl, but not every guy's tough and not every girl's weak. Guys can have low self-esteem, and girls can be arrogant. Guys can be sarcastic, and there are smiling girls whom nothing bothers.

I find it entertaining to read about clumsy, "bottom-tier" guys and suave, popular girls because it's nice to see that not all guys who you can/should fall in love with are perfect, kind of a "you can have a 'just right for you' guy too" feeling. I don't want a guy who's perfect; I want a guy who's incredible but not impossible.

In my stories, I tend to make the guys super sensitive, not like "everybody hates me" sensitive, but still more than usual in romance stories. The stories that *usually* have the most reviews have guys that can and do cry and feel, so readers do like emotional guys. But apparently, repeated instances of being sweet instead of arrogant make a guy wimpy or homosexual. Which makes absolutely no sense to me. In my school they actually had this saying: Girls who act like guys are called tomboys; guys who act like girls are called gay. Strong does not mean unfeeling; you can't be strong or brave if you don't know hurt or fear.

They say writers should write about what they know, so that's what I do. My father and grandfather can cook (they're not going to confuse the sugar and salt) and clean(they know where everything goes), do care for and treat their wifes well, and tell what's on their minds. They're also down to earth and don't try to be perfect. And I know this kind of relationship works because my grandparents have been married for over forty years and my parents for about fifteen.

But a guy has to have a certain list of traits to even be considered desirable, so instead we end up with arrogant bossy school/sex gods whom the heroine is either secretly crushing on or hates but still finds cute.

7/30/2007 #97
Serom Kim
Feminism has become a dirty word nowadays. I don't know when, but it might have happened sometime around the 70s. A very self-absorbed time, I've heard it being put that way ... back to the topic at hand, though. We need to use the term pro-equality or equalism or something like that today rather than feminism because it sounds like we're still fighting for women's right while in reality women in the U.S. have a lot of the same rights as men. Countries in the other parts of the world, some of them are a little behind in this. Those places are where we need feminism, but in the U.S.? Not really.

My characters in my stories are ... odd. No other way to put it. I'm not sure whether I can call the guy (or some of the girls, as a matter of fact) sensitive or make that decision because I'm not too sure. It's mostly a story where different people get together and try to get along because they all have the same thoughts and opinions on the world around them or similar ones at least. I think that they're about right, however ... they're not super sensitive, but they're not unfeeling.

Romance stories are still backwards, though.

8/2/2007 #98
ihrtbks
Maybe I just read the wrong stuff, but it does seem like romance writers are still stuck in an era where the guy was supposed to court, woo, and propose to the girl. That implies the heroines can't do any of that. If girls do that, they're called names like "w***" and "s***". Which is completely sexist.

We don't need feminism anywhere. We need equalism. Even in those places where women's rights are significantly less, they still believe that men can take decisions for the family, but are incapable of taking care of the family itself beyond finances, that the home and family are solely a women's domain. Surveys show that women usually earn less for doing the same work men do. A father can take care of a kid just as well as the kid's mother can, while a woman can do the exact same quality of work as a man can. A father's/brother's care differs immensely from a mother's or sister's but is just as important, hence the terms "male role model" and "female role model".

In *most* stories I read, a single mom is kind and caring and overworked, while a single dad is often abusive or just absent from his kids' lives. I still don't get why there's this huge deal about "traditional gender roles". I think a lot of it has to do with what we think guys and girls should be like instead of what they actually are like. For example, males are traditionally portrayed as more extroverted, promiscuous, and/or arrogant while females are more likely to be sarcastic, less popular, virgins, emotional, and insecure. But then again, these are just stereotypes that have been circulated everywhere with very little to back them up.

Sensitivity...sometimes characters can be tactless and/or dense, but completely-cold-and-shut-off is a boring cliche now. What makes the other lead any more special/worthy than the other circa 6.6 billion people out there? It's just another one of those things that don't make sense, even if "love isn't supposed to make sense." If players aren't going to change their habits, why are hermits/no-nonsense people? If they're starved for attention, they wouldn't have cut themselves off in the first place.

8/2/2007 #99
Serom Kim
Another stereotype in these romance stories (at least the ones on this site) is the abusive stepfather. I haven't read enough stories about stepmothers to decide how they are usually perceived, but the stepfather hating his stepchildren, more specifically his stepdaughter, I've seen that too much. That implies that stepfathers don't love their kids, when it's not like that all the time. It is sexist as well and adds on to the stereotype that men don't know how to raise children or something like that. I agree with you on the single mom and single dad stereotype as well. Sucks, huh?

Remember how my story High School Fairytale had Katrina making all the movies and stuff? Anonymous, a reviewer who criticized but had no spine and didn't leave her email or pen name, called Katrina a cheerleader s*** or something similar to that. She's not a cheerleader, first of all, and if Bryan had been making the moves I might not have received the comment.

.

8/4/2007 #100
ihrtbks
It's not just stepfathers who are abusive. Blood fathers are often abusive alcoholics as well. That's how most emotional scarring stories are. The funny thing is a lot of the writers have stepfathers or friends with stepfathers that are completely trustworthy and will keep the kids safe. One of my best friends' mother's boyfriends had basically become a father figure to the kids. My own mother and grandmother would trust my sisters and me to their husbands.

This is what I mean by we don't need just feminists because you can be sexist against men too. So that's why I'm an equalist. Feminism implies that men aren't discriminated against, which is obviously not true. There's also the stereotype where men are more vengeful and women are more docile. If somebody wrote a story where a couple was separated, the man would go and kill/seriously injure whoever hurt his wife/girlfriend but the woman would probably just sit there surrounded by tissues that missed the trashcan. Didn't we say earlier how men usually became raging alcoholics?

Another stereotype is everybody knows the guy likes the girl but the girl herself. This would usually be considered a "sweet" story. That's all fine and dandy, but can't guys be denser than lead? If this is the case, the story is usually a "poor girl" story. We seem to be under the impression that guys are less emotional but catch onto subtle signs and flirting more often. Contradictory much, or is it because guys are more likely to try to satisfy their "urges"? I'm so confused!

If Bryan made the moves, then it'd be like half the stories out there. The fact that Bryan is the insecure "invisible" makes your story entertaining. But then again, most writers here are attracted to the popular guys in the school, and writers write their own desires, so the guy is usually an insanely popular school god.

Another thing you addressed are flamers. Jeez, if you believe your flame is valid, then have enough confidence to sign the review or at least leave your email address. Otherwise, it gives the impression that you know your flame is groundless and you're just being spiteful.

8/4/2007 #101
concerto49
Oh talk about abusive - yeah I hate it. I knew a friend that had a stepfather issue.
8/6/2007 #102
Serom Kim
One thing I will never understand is why people who have good relations with their families write stories about a character whose life is horrible and stuff. Subconsciously people write about what they themselves might want out of life, but why would anyone want to be hurt like this? It's not that they want to get hurt, it's that they want pity. They want everyone to see them as the victim so they could be protected and taken care of. Writers who do this are more likely to be female, and they don't want the people who hurt them to be female because they think that having been hurt by a male might make them figures of more sympathy. And at the same time, they make males who are respectable seem bad as well.

Feminists ... ugh, they complain about everything. I can't stand it. And I agree, sexism towards men is possible. It's everywhere in pop culture and stuff. Notice that in comedies, there is a bumbling father figure who is constantly on the receiving end of slapstick comedy.

Another thing I will never know is why girls like the popular guys so much. People like that aren't concerned with their future. They care about being popular in high school and getting nowhere when they grow up. Why are people attracted to people like that? Bryan is a shy nerd with an inferiority complex because I would prefer a guy like that over a popular j*** like in all the other stories. I don't like a guy that makes the moves because they sound arrogant a lot of times. My male characters in my stories aren't interested in relationships and don't make moves so I guess it's one explanation why my characters aren't like that.

That reviewer, Anonymous, made me so mad. Half of the things that she complained about had nothing to do with the story. She said that the Japanese names were fake, even though they were not (I got Bryan and Shigeru's last names off two people from my school with those last names and Shigeru, come on, everybody with a Nintendo knows about this name) and Meng Zhang is a Chinese name. She complained about the title, which is a stupid thing to complain about. I know that it's not proper grammar, and I don't care. One other thing that she complained about was irrelevant too, but I forgot what it was.

8/7/2007 #103
ihrtbks
People are under the impression that characters with perfect home lives are boring to read about. It might just be me, but I enjoy an occasional lighthearted story in which everything's perfect, nobody's been scarred for life, and nobody's a sarcastic introvert. I know life's not perfect, but it's still nice reading about it like it is. Not everyone can write abusive childhoods; add drama with something else: evil teachers, bad thunderstorms, son of the devil employers...

Equalism all the way! Also notice how fathers are usually portrayed as idiots who don't understand anything about their children's lives while mothers catch onto every little thing, including crushes. Also see how a brother are generally overprotective and dense, but sisters realize everything and tease about it endlessly. Male best friends are also oblivious to everything while female best friends can recognize even the most well-hidden crushes.

In my stories, the characters are already in relationships, but that's not their biggest priority, as the majority of them are notorious overachievers. I can't handle stupid guys, nor can I handle jerks! Bryan's shyness is cute! I'd rather have a Bryan than a arrogant player any day.

My attempt at explaining why girls find these kind of guys alluring:

Back before civilization, the teen years, after puberty, were just to reproduce during, since few people made it past like twenty-five. Natural selection theory says mothers will try to choose the mate with the best traits for their children. Back then, the cutest guy was whoever would most likely live longest: strongest, fastest, best improviser, most leaderlike, or most virile. If you break down our cliche male lead, you'll see that he tends to be all of the above (captain=strongest/fastest). Science shows that different hormones make different guys appear desirable. So during certain times of month, you want a hot guy; during other times, you want a sweet guy. As we've discussed, the majority of the readers on this site are giggly teenagers, inherently hormonal, which makes them more susceptible to choosing attractive guys over adorable guys.

I know this is kind of old, but I wanted to add something to our love-hate discussion. Why's it almost always one-sided love from the guy's side? Not that I don't find it adorable when a guy attempts to court a girl who constantly insults him. But those are the innocent insults, not the serious "you're not worth my time" at all kind like the b*** cheerleaders deliver.

I use blatantly foreign names in mine too, but that's part of the character. One of my characters is half-Chinese, and her name reflects that. In another story, some of them are Indians, and others are Spanish, and once again their names reflect that. I know lots of Asian kids who have "Anglicized" names but Asian last names. How the hell does one criticize a title? That honestly doesn't make any sense...

Another thing...guys are either meek or emotional are considered effeminate. o.O Are guys not allowed to ever feel fear or sorrow or happiness? Or is there some kind of unsaid boundary between manly emotions and "feminine" emotions.? On the flip-side, analytical girls are usally viewed as "ice princesses/queens/b***". And yet another vexing stereotype... it's always girls who threaten, "Get away from him; he's mine." So guys feel no attachment to a girl they want but don't have when said girl is attracted to a certain nobody boy?

8/7/2007 #104
Serom Kim
No one has a perfect home life because there is no such thing as perfect. But others have it better (supportive parents, good friends, etc.) and they are the ones who usually don't have a story on this website. All the teenage girls here want to be pitied.

Males are seen as bumbling and overprotective, for sure. Brothers can be overprotective, but they don't have to be ignorant, nor do they have to beat up everyone just for looking at their sister. Why can't they be protective of their younger brothers, too? Older brothers in the stories here have a younger sister whom they care about and are overprotective of, but the same devotion is rarely seen when they have a younger brother.

In addition to this, a lot of brothers fall into these three patterns:

1) they were the sister's best friend, but they're now dead

2) they abuse their sisters

3) they are overprotective and suffocating

Sisters ... stories like this don't have sisters unless the sister is a rival for the main boy's attention or one who is annoying and everything that the female character or the author hates.

Only reason that a mother might caught onto events in their childrens' lives is if they spend more time with them. A father who spends more time with his children than his wife is going to catch on faster.

Bryan is better than any of the arrogant players in the other teen romance stories. I just need to work on him a little.

Everything goes back to the past, right? All the way back then in time. Sure, you need to be strong and fast to survive. Nowadays, though, if you're denser than lead, you're not going to go anywhere. You're going to have a minimum wage job that doesn't get anywhere in time and living expenses are high. Smart people are able to become scientists, doctors, and engineers. They're the ones who make the future. Brain over brawn. Smarts beats raw strength anyday.

Most of my characters are Asian American, specifically, Korean American. I'm Korean American, so I know what mot Korean Americans deal with. My characters who have foreign names are either from the country of origin, or their parents just gave them one. Various parents give their children foreign names even if they are planning on staying in the U.S. My name is Korean, and I have friends with Korean names as well although they were born in the U.S. and their parents weren't planning n moving.

A person can criticize a title by complaining that it's not grammatically correct. Life not a Fairytale was my original title; Anonymous said that I should have an "is" between "life" and "not" and something about how her English teacher would go nuts. I'm not some English flunkie, I've been in honors and AP English classes ever since I entered high school, and I know that it's wrong! I don't need somebdy to point it out to make thenselves feel smart!

Feelings ... having them is not a bad thing and guys are allowed to have feelings too! Only reason that people criticize guys who show feelings is because they have low self-confidence and need to take out their issues on whatever they can.

8/7/2007 #105
ihrtbks
Right-on about brothers. It's nice to see stories where the older brother is actually trying to get his sister to go date, but it's usually her sister or best friend who does that. I'm attempting (keyword:attempting) to write a story where the older popular sister is overprotective of her younger semi-nobody brother. About defending sisters and not brothers, it's another ingrained myths that women need protecting more than men, hence the disbelief in male sexual harassment. Younger brothers are usally used to tell either the female MC or male MC about the other's love for them.

If you weren't smart back then, you wouldn't end up in a minimum-wage job, you'd end up dead. Even today, those who can claim speed in their chosen field still earn more. Nobody likes waiting. And you still need endurance in today's world. If you want to be a scientist, doctor, or engineer, you still need to be able to work efficiently through drowsiness.

I'm Indian, and all my sisters and I have Indian names. My best friends do too. It's a cultural thing, part of who you are. And if somebody just wants to give their kid an exotic name, who cares?

There is bad grammar and then there's style. Some people like saying red, others like saying maroon, burgundy, or scarlet. Neither's bad grammar though the latter might be said to have better style. I think yours was a style thing. I don't think titles have to be sentences...

Feelings...guys who feel and can talk about their feelings are HOT.

8/7/2007 #106
Serom Kim
I can almost guess what stories of girls who have older brothers are going to turn out like. I don't even want to read them anymore, because older brothers who are overprotective of their sisters to the point of beating up any guy who looks at her, don't they even think that the person that they're beating up on is somebody's son, brother, whatever? And I agree with you on the myth that women need protecting more than men. (Insert bad word here.) In romance stories, younger brothers have little to no importance to the plot unless they are rivals to the older brother in the girl's love or they're the main character.

What you say about endurance is true but all the endurance in the world isn't going to help you if you're dumber than a brick wall. Not to mention that people with researching jobs or jobs of similiar intellectual levels have probably stayed up late at night studying and they would have patience if not insomnia.

I think that the title was a stylisic ting as well. Putting "is" in there seemed to make the title unneccessarily long for some reason ... not sure why, but it sounds better without it.

People around you have Indian names if they are? I can't say that I have the same situation because although I have friends who are Korean or Korean American like me a lot of them already have Western names. I know only about five people who have Korean names, not including me. My brother has a Western and Asian name and I have two Asian names but I guess it's because I might have lived in Korea had it not been for something.

It's interesting how there are girls like the ones who write romance stories and there's us.

8/8/2007 #107
ihrtbks
And then there's us.

Yes, there's us. I think the biggest influence in my 'romance writing' are the Indian movies I grew up watching. They're inherently more melodramatic than American ones (don't argue). Now I sort of borrow habits of the heroes from them: I won't steal her away, I'll win her away; she's mine, I'll fight Death himself for her; won't touch her until she expressly says I can; and I'm gonna sing to her (my dad himself sang when he courted my mother). In India, there's also an entirely different sets of values, like the virgin-til-marriage, even for guys; no divorces, unless it's a soap opera; clothes that hide everything, especially for unmarried women; asking permission from the girl's parents before you do anything with her; and the wooing of her entire family. Compared to America, it might seem like an archaic culture, but I believe in all those things. Like we said earlier, you write what you know, and I do; if the male lead comes across as effeminate, well too bad.

About the names, yes. If you're Indian, chances are 1 in 1.1 that your name's Indian as well, but that's not saying that kids in America don't keep American nicknames.

The title did sound better without the 'is', but I think you might could have put a comma or colon in there.

Endurance is also persistence. I believe that people who don't do well at school aren't stupid; they just don't care. If you don't care, you're more likely than not to fail, unless you're one of those lucky kids who can ace school without trying. If you do, you're gonna be able to at least pass.

I don't think you can honestly say little brothers are pointless. They usually either inform their brother or the female lead about the other's affections and are also the first to know. They also offer girl advice to their older brothers, and it's that innocent kid advice which is funny and true. They're not always rivals.

8/8/2007 #108
Serom Kim
I haven't been on this site for a while ...

Indian movies would probably be different than American ones, their cultures are different. Guys who grow up surrounded by Indian culture might grow up to be more respectful towards women than American ones, still I can't help thinking that at times cultures where the man has to woo the woman contributes to stereotypes where the female waits for the guy and he has to get her and take action. Me, on the other hand, I don't watch romance movies at all, American or Korean, so I just go by things I know.

Looking through the stories on this website, I realized what my most-hated cliche is: girl in an all-boys' school ... and she stays there!

This is in no way realistic. Think about it! A parent, in his or her right mind, would not let their daughter enroll in an all-boys' school unless it was the first year of integration. In othe words, she would not be the only girl. Accidentally sending the girl there doesn't cut it either. Schools could get sued for this. They would explain to the parents that there was a mistake and work something out. No way that they'll stay there.

You're right about the little brother issue, but it's not good enough for me ...

8/13/2007 #109
ihrtbks
Okay, there is a disproportionate majority of "guy woos girls" stories on this site, but how many of them honestly have the guy trying to win the girl? In most of them, neither of them are actually trying, it just happens. Since most of these were written from a girl's viewpoint, the guy becomes the wooer while the girl becomes the wooee. And "girl wins guy", how many of them are out there besides mine and yours?

If you read girl in guy's boarding school, you'll see that most heroines in them keep their identitied as females hidden. Unless the girl's very young, which would make romance out of question, she has certain necessities that can't be hidden very well. What's wrong with a co-ed boarding school? But even more than that, I hate arrogant womanizer enemy maybe-once-upon-a-time-best-friend stories. Those are incredibly overdone. If he was your best friend, how did he suddenly become an enemy? And even if you did have this huge falling out, he's more likely to be indifferent towards you. And once again, why do desirable guys need to be womanizers?

My dream guy is that guy who doesn't spend all his time flirting and sleeping with various girls; instead preferring to work hard to be ranked in the top one or two percent in school. But they don't write that kind of guy anymore. He has to be a womanizing sports captain who regularly skips class.

If we were to dissect any story and examine the role major supporting characters (not main character couples) play, we'd find that if they're not rivals, they either disapprove of the main couple's relationship and wish them to be apart at all costs or they believe they're meant to be together and try their best to get them together. It's not just younger siblings; parents,friends, and older siblings fall into one of these categories as well.

8/13/2007 #110
Serom Kim
I think that most stories have guys wooing the girl because the female writers want to imagine that it's her getting wooed. She wants to pretend that some guy loves her enough so that she doesn't have to do anything about it in the first place.

Girl in a guy's boarding school stories don't work with me because I don't think it's realistic. Heroines in romance stories are very beautiful and have a large chest in a lot of cases. How can they hide their identities well? Coed boarding schools are fine with me, but if there's only one girl and it's meant to be an all-boys' school and the school doesn't have any plans of integrating then there's a problem.

Again, I agree with you on the arrogant womanizer enemy stories. But I guess I just meant that I don't like the boarding school one because I was almost put with a guy as my roommate during my college orientation but they switched it immediately. Reality fixes those problems and they don't leave them there.

8/22/2007 #111
ihrtbks
Okay, I'll be honest. Most of my stories are "guy woos girl", but check it out this way. *Most* of the time, it's not totally the guy who does it; the girl first shows some interest; maybe by flirting, maybe by playing along, maybe by just not ignoring him. Most of these guys are the "every girl in the world would kill for me" kind of players, so they don't really need to get the girl.

What annoys me to the point of baldness is where it's a meek woman who can't think for herself. I think this is another one of those pity cases. Meekness is not attractive except to power-hungry domineering males who probably aren't the best people to be with to begin with. Another thing that I detest passionately are the overly sarcastic girls who're constantly PMSing at everybody and think the entire world's out to get them, but the guy still puts up with her. Do you honestly want a guy that desperate or submissive? But I do like the kind where the girl just thinks the boy is on a mission to vex her and it's actually because he's subconciously trying to get her attention.

And in your boarding school thing, most of the women are actually described as flat-chested. I'm gonna venture into psych again and say this is because girls wish for an atmosphere where all the guys would go for them; when you're the only girl there, it's somewhat of a given. I've occasionally read some girl with hidden identity in boarding school, but the coed ones are much much better. And like you said, most of the time, it'll work itself out.

8/22/2007 #112
Serom Kim
When I said that it'll work itself out, I meant that girl should get kicked out of boarding school because if it's an all-boys' school then the school can get sued.

I can't really say that I like any type of woman in a romanace story. All I really wish is that they would think for themselves, realize that they're not the only ones in this world with problems, not think that women have some sort of rights that men don't, and heroines who aren't shallow and don't fall for a guy they say they hate just because he's handsome.

8/29/2007 #113
ihrtbks
Let's wander back to the cliche for a second, shall we? The cliche heroine is USUALLY either a sarcastic nobody or a girl who runs with the populars. MOST of these writers don't go to schools where there is that strong of a social hierarchy, so they steal from other stories which tend to get a lot of reviews. The first time this kind of story is written, it sells. After that, not so much.

I completely agree with you. I try to write my heroines as compassionate equalists, but if you're writing from first-person or third-person limited, the characters are going to be a little self-centered because people innately are. I'm still waiting for the story where the MC cries over her best friend's break up... when it's not with her brother.

But then you have to watch what you do the heroes too, lest you end up giving them the same characteristics you hate in heroines. How many stories are there were the guy 'loves' the girl just because she's hot? Of course, that's probably why he noticed her to begin with, but that's still a stupid reason for him to fall irrevocably in love with her. Or all this might just be the equalist in me. I can't handle submissive guys, but I can't do domineering ones either. They have to be assertive, yet willing to listen and/or compromise. Same with the women.

I like to read stories with women who will fight against their significant other for their dreams, the women who are resilient and don't go depressed/suicidal over some stupid guy, the women who fall for the sweet guy inside instead of the pretty face on the outside.

Like I said earlier, my dream guy would be that virgin nerd who can deliver steller presentations but can't flirt without going red, preferably with dark hair. Not that arrogant athlete who goes through girls faster than said virgin nerd goes through a piece of 30mm lead but tries to sweet-talk the teacher out of punihsing him. A little self-confidence is endearing, but too much of it is just gross.

8/30/2007 #114
Serom Kim
Honestly, does anyone go to a school with that strong of a social hierarchy? About ninety-nine percent of schools aren't like that, but reading too many high school romance stories and you think it's the other way around! This cliche has been done more times than I can count, but most of them still seems to get a lot of reviews.

And while it's true that people are innately self-centered, unless their self-confidence is so low, some things that the main characters do in the stories don't make sense.

Stories where guys "love" a girl because he thinks she's good-looking aren't too believable. It's not love, love at first sight, or anything like that. It's infatuation, and you might be interested in that person because of his or her looks. Still, no one falls in love because of looks.

People with very low self-confidence could be just as annoying as those who are arrogant. No matter what you tell them, that everyone is bad at something, no one is perfect, your drawings/writings/poetry/whatever aren't bad, etc., that person always says, no I suck at everything. I'm a loser. I have a friend like that, and no matter what I do, I can't make her feel better about herself. From personal experience, I know that extremes aren't good.

8/30/2007 #115
ihrtbks
Okay, there aren't schools with that strong a hierarchy, but in some of the bigger 2000-plus-student-schools, there are people everyone knows either by name or reputation and there are nobodies who even the teachers don't remember the names of for the first two months. The only problem is none of the schools in stories actually seem that big, maybe 500 or so students because scheduling and hallway traffic doesn't fit; you can't have a highly publicized break-up that the entire student body knows about within a few periods in a school with 2000, no matter how many gossipers you have.

People aren't supposed to make sense, but some characters are written so unlike themselves just to forward the plot. Like the enemies thing...if they hate each other, they're not going to notice how hot the other is. Now if they're forced to do something like, maybe, COMPLIMENT each other, they have a valid reason. Otherwise, the whole enterprise makes no sense. Once again, people have forgotten that we no longer live in BCE times; a person may sleep with someone because he or she is attractive, but they won't fall in the "true love" most of these stories end with.

Okay, there's people with low self-confidence, but then there's people who worry about everything. I'm the latter; most of my friends would say I have self-esteem problems, but I know I can say without sounding arrogant that I'm smart. Most of the time, it's not me that says it; it's other people, and you can't really disagree or agree with them, can you? I know what I'm good at, and I know what I suck at. It's nice when characters are like that too; if your character is horrible at English but excellent in math, your writing should show that, maybe with him/her favoring the teacher or trying to convince someone else the class is easy as eating chocolate cake with fudge icing(if you like that kind of stuff...) I actually think people with low self-esteem are more annoying than arrogant people because you can't really hate them; they kind of force you to feel a little sorry for them.

You know what else I noticed? Almost every story on here is written from the girl's first person POV. Most published books are written in omniscient third-person... But there's so few stories written from the guy's first-person POV, and if they are, they're usually split half and half. It's so difficult to figure out what the 'general audience' thinks makes a guy effeminate or sweet because the line between them is nearly nonexistent.

8/30/2007 #116
Serom Kim
Not really, there are kids who would be considered the popular kids in my school and I'd never know about them. It depends on how often you go to school social events and read the school newspaper. Only people I know are the smart kids in school like our valedictorian.

About your point on characters being written out of character just to forward the plot, exactly! Authors want a strong female character, but they want the female in question to fall in love with the obnoxius guy. Both characters are OOC.

Self-esteem is a big problem for everyone, but certain people have it worse. I think that you can admit that there are some things you are better at than most without being arrogant, and that you're terrible at something without sounding like you have low self-confidence.

You're right on how most stories here are in the girl's first person POV. The authors here are mostly girls, same age as their characters, so they want to write it like that. I was going to make High School Fairytale and one of my other stories first person POV but it's better leaving it the way it is.

9/2/2007 #117
ihrtbks
Well, it could just be where I'm from, but everybody knows the names of a few of the kids, and their reputation precedes them wherever they go(kind of like me, but I'm a complete nerd) If they don't know your name, they know your face and reputation.

Completely random, but there are some thoughts about love that I believe in, like:

The heart knows no master.

Love begins and ends in friendship.

If you love them, let them go. If they come back, they were always yours. If they don't, they never were.

True love stories don't have happy endings because true love doesn't end.

Of course all of these are internet wisdom that usually does work itself into romance writing, but sometimes they're given way too much emphasis, maybe because all the writer knows about romance is this internet wisdom stuff. Most of these probably do have some truth in them, so maybe it's just an attempt to make it realistic.

While we're on this topic...if you never forget your first love and true love never ends, does that mean your first love can just be a infatuation? Or does that mean you can't ever forget your first true love that doesn't end even if you break up? Or am I just thinking too much into the whole dang thing?

Another thing about OOC is people try to make their characters 'multi-faceted' by giving them contradictory traits. Some things work, but others don't make any sense: You can be smart and oblivious, but you can't be intelligent and stupid, the same way you can't be arrogant and self-conscious but you can be arrogant and friendly.

It's not the problem with first-person. It's a problem with them usually showing only the girl's thoughts and feelings unless they do a split POV. Like Childhood Betrothal...it's mostly from the male's POV, but it's just as difficult for girls to understand guys as they claim it is for them to understand us. So I'm sitting here guessing a lot of it, so I have to put in a little from the girl's POV to differentiate between a girl's and a guy's thought processes.

You can do third-person from the just the girl's POV as well. But I think it's better when you show as many emotions as you can. And back to our wish theory, writers write what they desire.

9/2/2007 #118
ihrtbks
You know what else vexes me?

Why does every guy have to be half-a-dozen feet tall? I know lotsa guys are great runners and shooters and kickers, but what is with the attraction to gymnasts? Because there is absolutely no way a guy over maybe four inches taller than you can kiss you without having to bend. I'm just wondering about the preferences of all those stories with guys a foot taller than girls. Not that I don't want a tall guy; I'm just curious as to why six-foot-giant equals attractive.

And it's not just on FP either. It's in published stories as well.

9/16/2007 #119
deep in the high
Usually the women are portrayed in a couple of ways, 1. innocent and meek

But sometimes you need it to be that way. Like in my story, it'll be a romance/fantasy from a made up world where women are to be seen and not heard, and are quiet and incredibly polite.

10/26/2007 #120
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