The Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and to celebrate Valentine’s Day the topic of choice is all about romance.
Love is one of the most fulfilling emotions we can experience in our lifetimes and there are few emotions that can blind us and possess us in the ways an all-encompassing love can. To acknowledge the most uplifting and humbling emotion that we humans have the privilege of experiencing, I have decided to highlight some common literary tropes I think would help everyone understand that love is fulfilling as it is gentle and not the toxic cesspool of domestic abuse it is often disguised in fiction.
So I present to you today…
Top Ten Romance Tropes In Fiction Detrimental To The Idea Of Romance
I will try not to get sidetracked by the outdated and repressive genders roles whilst discussing these but in no particular order…
- The virgin and the player. This is just a very obvious method of forcing outdated gender roles on participants and then pretending it’s romantic because one has changed the other. We usually have a shy blushing virgin (usually a girl) in her physical prime (but not so old that it’s unrealistic for her to be sexually inexperienced, so ideally university-aged) flatteringly being pursued by some sex god (usually a boy).
- Dominating, emotionally manipulative, alpha men who’s behavior are deemed romantic. You know the ones.
- And on the flip side, bland women who are given a personality through their relationship and only live to get married. You know the ones.
- Same-sex couples with a sad ending, e.g. one of them dies, or worse commits suicide. What is this? Why are we still doing this? I know all the real-life statistics point to a less-than-happy ending for same-sex couples but for once, I just want to read one where they don’t experience the trials and tribulations of being in a same-sex relationship, just a cute story where they get together and everyone lives happily ever after, because, you know, it’s fiction.
- Dubious consent to sex disguised as a passionate romance. No. Just, fucking no.
- Troubled men with mysterious dark pasts who are changed through the love of a good woman. Love cannot fix someone who does not want to be fixed because fundamentally, love cannot cure all woes and we should not expect that.
- Any kind of “forbidden love” where it’s just morally wrong because there’s an imbalance of power, like teacher/student relationships or adult/child relationships.
- The partner is kidnapped and a love is formed because they just happen to have mutual interests and the victim sees the kidnapper’s behaviour as an act of love. I’m pretty sure this is just romanticised Stockholm Syndrome.
- That really messed up trope where a person hates the other gender due to their bad experiences with them but is then changed through the love of the right person. See point six.
- The one where the lead deems to pursue a relationship with their romantic counterpart, purely as a dare and to highlight their social differences only for them to actually fall in love and everything turns out ok. Why would you mock someone to that extent?