Stereotypes: Damsels in Distress vs. Guy in Distress

I’ve been thinking of doing this post for a while now. I first got the idea while I was reading Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer. I was thinking about how I liked that book so much more than the original and I wished that that was the story that was put out initially.

Damsel in Distress
humorous

A young woman in trouble.
"She makes a rather sweet damsel in distress."

In the original Twilight Bella was what we’d call a damsel in distress. This wouldn’t have been an issue if she wasn’t always in distress. She was known to be clumsy and a magnet for trouble but did this stop her from going out looking for danger? You guessed it, no it did not. What further cemented the idea of this post is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. As I read the book I thought: well here is a boy who notices a girl. She looks a little sad so clearly she must be a damsel in distress and needs to be saved immediately. Don’t get me wrong, I liked that book, this was just an example.

I have no major issues with damsels in distress, sometimes it helps with a plot line. No, my deal is that it’s sometimes used as an excuse to show that the woman is weak. To make her seem mild and demure. There is no problem with being or looking weak exactly. If you haven’t got the strength, no need to force it but if a character doesn’t develop over time and continuously has to be saved by the supposed hero of the story then what are we even doing here?

A person can be strong from the get go and that’s awesome, a person can start off weak and grow over time. It’s just one of my peeves when absolutely no character development in the department of noticing one’s own strengths, standing up for yourself, or taking charge takes place.

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I was posed with a question a little while ago asking who my favourite two male and female characters were and why. I could think of the males easily but I was having some difficulty with the female characters. This caused me to think about all the books I’ve read and which female characters I really liked and why.

Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments: starts out strong from the beginning of the series and is an all round BAMF! Sure she has her ‘weak’ moments here and there but who doesn’t? When she comes back, she’s all the more stronger.

Sara Crewe from A Little Princess: This little girl allows nothing to bring her down. Even though she’s going through one of the worst things imaginable, she still puts others before her. This is proof that the good you do for others comes back to you.

Feyre Archeron from A Court of Thorns and Roses: I never thought of Feyre as a meek character. She got swept away by love and a fantasy of a better life and she drew the short end of the stick. It took some encouraging and persuasion but she broke free and showed what she was really made of and seeing all this happen, her starting out as character with guts then being mentally and emotionally beaten down and ending up as this- as Lilly would say- BAWSE was the main reason why she’s my favourite female character.

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I don’t have many favourite female characters as yet but I’m getting somewhere. I take note each time I read and one day I hope to increase the number on this list.

Here’s where I start sounding…hypocritical? I don’t wanna say a bit ‘feminazi-ish’, seems too strong but Guys in Distress? I live for it.

I have to elaborate and explain what I mean. It’s the same with a female character: I prefer- expect actually- character development and I’m always bummed when that doesn’t happen.

As I was growing up, I was exposed to many ‘teachings’ about how the world is and how men and women are treated. You get the man of the house, the person who wears the pants in the relationship- if it’s not the man, he’s ridiculed. A girl shouldn’t go out late at night without a man there to protect her. It’s not safe for a girl to live alone because that automatically makes her a willing victim. I’m going to cuss in a second, it’s not something I do often especially not on my blog but I’m going to do it just this once- I think that fucking bullshit.

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As soon as I realised that even though this was the way worked, my thinking didn’t have to reflect it. This is why I like it when men are sometimes portrayed as being in distress. I was taught that they’re supposed to be strong and to show no sign of weakness but I don’t believe that.

Asking for help is not being weak. Showing emotion is not being weak. Being human does not mean you’re weak. Cry your heart out if you want. Just make sure you keep yourself hydrated in the process.

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I find it an attractive trait when a guy can admit that he needs help. Show me you’re not a robot. When I read about guys like this in books, I admire them. Not everyone can admit that they need an extra hand, or that they’re lost…it takes courage me thinks.

I hope this post makes enough sense and that my mini rant in the middle didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading. I’ll be seeing you, bye bye.

Thanks for stopping by,
Caron xx

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Gifs source: Google Images

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One thought on “Stereotypes: Damsels in Distress vs. Guy in Distress

  1. Pingback: My Week and Happenings (#15) | Diminishing Thoughts

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