Monday, 5 December 2011
Team Nice Guys
This post is a direct result of my ever growing DNF pile and also from last week's Follow Friday topic on pet peeves. Amongst the many pet peeves that popped up, I think the one that resonated with me the most is the stalkerish hot guy who is fast becoming a staple in YA books. I'm not sure if said guy is just a sure fire way to sell books or it's an alarming trend towards a mainstream acceptance of such behavior. Either way, it scares me.
Let's start out by defining this stalker hot guy archetype. Stalker guys' general qualities are:
-really really ridiculously good looking (I'm talking Derek Zoolander style);
-spends a lot of time watching the heroine sleep and thinks nothing of breaking into her house to do so;
-feels that it's perfectly fine to control all aspects of the heroine's life because he knows what's best;
-is not above forcing the heroine to do things against her will, even if she protests;
-is disdainful and rude to the heroine's friends and family but is forgiven because he's misunderstood (plus he's hot!);
-may literally be out to kill the heroine until suddenly falling in love with her for reasons unfathomable;
I have to point out that there's a difference between stalker guy and the more palatable jaded bad boy types, or even in some instances, the anti-hero guys. The latter are guys who don't necessarily play by the rules, but their hearts are in the right places and they have some measure of respect for the heroine to let her make choices for herself. Let me also add that books with stalker guys in them tend to have heroines who are too stupid to live and this adds to the proliferation of the lie that stalker hot guys are attractive and should be nurtured instead of tasered.
Maybe I'm just reading way too much into it (I've been known to do this a lot!) but I visited almost all of the bloggers that linked up to the FF post last week because I was so interested in the subject and you know what? Many bloggers said their pet peeve was the stalker guy and yet, their blogs were littered with 4 and 5 star reviews for books with stalker guy as the male hero. I just don't get it.
Either way, it makes me really appreciate books that don't use stalker hot guy as a selling point. Top marks for Lend from Paranormacy, Daniel and Jason from Telesa, Ryan from Raw Blue and all the boys from Jellicoe Road. In fact, if I sat down and wrote a list, I bet I could come up with so many more names of boys who deserve to be read about. These are the kinds of boys that I want to get to know. Stalker guys need not apply. Unlike your silly heroines, I don't think you're too hot to dismiss.
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Okay, maybe i'm the only one, but I kind of like the stalker guy. Sure it's a bit played out but I just love him. Granted, i'd never deal with that in real life, but it's fun to read about it.ReplyDelete
Actually i'll admit I have my own semi stalker guy. Not my boyfriend, but my ex. He calls with the whole "I'll be here no matter what waiting for you to know you need me/want me," "Please love me again," "I can always stop by if you want me to," "You should come back to me," "No matter what you do i'll still be the right guy for you." Nevermind the fact that he actually used to watch me sleep when we dated (major creep factor. I had to tell him to get a life and stop being wierd) All of the obsession does nothing but make me think he's pathetic and a loser but I think that If I had less of a backbone, then maybe he'd start creeping in my window and control my life and stuff. He know's that i'd kill him if he did but what If he didnt know that. Hmmm...
Nonetheless I think stalker guy is great because...well...he's hot (yea you said it) and also because I like reading about things that would never ever happen in real life.
I'm with you on this one, Lan! I scratch my head at the stalker-dude...probably because I'm fiercely independent in real life, so the thought of a guy taking that kind of control over my life freaks me out.ReplyDelete
I think you nailed it when you pointed out that books with this sort of hero usually have a passive/TSTL heroine...many YA stories seem to feature a female main character, but the true protagonist of the the story - the one who makes the choices and drives the action - is often the male. That bugs me. A LOT.
IMO, sexy guys are the ones who see the heroine as strong, capable, or both, and they're doubly sexy if they help her discover this about herself.
Stalkers should always be tasered!!! I know how you feel, so many reviewers complain about the things they read the most. I do it all the time... but seriously, stalker boys are probably one of the worst common denominators in YA lit. It almost feeds young girls into believing that it's a good thing to have an obsessive boyfriend controlling them. I'm just glad I'm old enough to smack a boy if he tries that crap on me.ReplyDelete
This is just a great post. :)
Stalker-ish types are a bit of an epidemic in YA lol! I'd love to see a girl get her stalk on and creep out a boy for a change. Maybe I'll write that next 0__o JK! Hope you're having a great one Lan, and I gave you 2 blog awards (if you want 'em :))ReplyDelete
Lol! Lan, this is hilarious and, oh, so true! I'm sure I've rated books pretty good even if there are stalkerish guys but it had NOTHING to do with the guy. My biggest pet peeve about them is how they think they can control every aspect of the heroine's life and she's so stupid she lets him! But apparently that's horribly romantic! And he's doing it under the guise of love so we shouldn't judge. ;)ReplyDelete
Sherre: At least you can see where the line should be drawn and that reading about it is different to putting up with it in real life. Tell me though, what is it about stalker guy that you enjoy? Is it just because he's hot? That he's persistent? Help me to understand. I agree about the comment regarding reading things that don't happen in real life, but stalking does happen in real life and it's horrible. I can understand the romance in having a guy who's that into you, but there are guys who do that and also don't stalk you! Maybe I'm just not good enough at suspending my belief.ReplyDelete
BJ: I'm with you on what makes a sexy guy. Which is why I love the Rose/Dimitri dynamic so much. I cannot imagine Rose thinking it was super romantic if Dimitri started ripping out the motor of her car because he didn't want her to get hurt.
Jessica: I wish I could taser some of the stalker boys I've read about. Maybe it's a sign of my age that this kind of thing really bugs me.
Ninja Girl: Thanks again for the blog awards :) I am so happy. And yes! I'd love to see a girl be the stalker. That's the funny thing isn't it? If it were a girl doing it, or say a male love interests ex, readers wouldn't be so into it at all, so a bit of a double standard!
Jenny: I know right? When did romance become about all consuming possessiveness masked by a thin pretense of love? This kind of thing could only happen with a stupid heroine and I agree that that's the worst bit for me as well.ReplyDelete
OH MY GOSH, YES!!! x) LOL you're so right, Lan! There's a fine line between good-on-the-inside bad boys and guys that girls would file a restraining order against in real life. I have to admit that I've got a thing for bad boys -- who doesn't?? -- but I think that the sweet boys are so under-appreciated too! Like Lend. I seriously love that boy! :) <3ReplyDelete
I love this post!! And it's really good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks watching someone in their sleep is a little creepy LOL! I think my face would turn beat red if a boy admitted he did that! My pink cherry pajamas are so embarrassing! x)
You make my day, Lan! That is all. :)
Well when you put it that way, these hot stalker boys don't sound that hot :)ReplyDelete
All of these comments are cracking me up! Great post Lan!
Yay! This goes along with my pet-peeve of the Nice Guy never getting the girl because stalker creepy guy does, due to being so much hotter. Why can't sweet, cute awesome Nice Guy get the girl for being all those things? He definitely deserves her more.ReplyDelete
I think you've completely described Edward Cullen to a T. But, who trumps him? Super sweet Harry Potter, of course, and we all love him!
I think the problem is that nice guys--when they're not written right--can get, well, boring. Don't get me wrong, I almost always root for the nice guy in all the YA love triangles, but I'm willing to admit that the stalker boys are usually hotter and have that element of brooding mystery that keep girls interested. And I think there tends to be more stalker-y love interests in paranormal YA than in contemporary.ReplyDelete
And I LOVE that you mentioned Jellicoe Road--when I started reading your post, I immediately thought Jonah Griggs as an example of a more brooding, mysterious guy who is completely UNSTALKERISH.
I am so guilty of liking the stalker guy, sigh. Im ashamed to admit it, but its true. (throw rotten bananas at me now, go on, you know I deserve it!) Actually the only stalker guy I know and really have a thing for - is Edward. And yes, yes, he is the epitome of stalker guy.I havent tried to analyZe why I have a thing for Edwards stalkerishness - prob because my 'trash' reading should never be analyzed! LOL But your post is forcing me to do some painful self-examination ...I think the whole, 'im obsessed with you' thing is kind of attractive, when youre a teenager anyway. And the 'i cant live without you' is just so reminiscent of how I felt when i was a teenager that its just so super cool to read about a BOY actually feeling that way. (It wasnt just me! yay!) And yes, even the 'i make decisions for you because I do know better and care about you' can be appealing as well.ReplyDelete
Having said that, the me now, would hate it if some fool tried that stalker technique on me. But thats cos Im old. And i struggle with not being bossy with husband enough as it is! Me and 'Edward' would never make it to vampire forever-ness. For me, then i like my fiction, completely fictional. And I try not to look too deeply at what diff things mean/signify. endnote? I still havent let my 13yr old daughter read Twilight. But not becos its stalkerish. Because the love is so overwhelming and consuming. Teenagers love that way enough as it is without having it further confirmed in Twilight! lol
Mimi: I've got a thing for bad boys too. You're right, we all do. But I wanted to make the distinction between the bad boys and those who do things that are beyond bad and somehow get away with it because they're hot...ReplyDelete
Lauren: LOL. They can still be phyically hot, but for me, it's all int he personality. If a guy is hot, but is a nutcase stalker, they may as well be a toad. Glad you're enjoying the discussion :)
Cathy: Funnily enough, I wasn't really even thinking of Edward when I was writing this post. There's just so many other books with stalker guys in them. I think it's time for us would be writers to support the nice boys.
Karen: Jonah Griggs is the perfect example of what I'm saying. He's troubled, brooding and def mysterious but not at all a stalker. In fact, he's quite a nice guy and to this day, he;s prob one of my fav boys.
I have to agree with Ryan and Lend. (I don't understand why so many like Reth from paranormalcy I much rather prefer Lend.) Then again I also liked Patch from the hush, hush series and he kinda fits the stalkerish bad boy type. -sigh-ReplyDelete
Lani: Maybe it just depends on the person. Or perhaps stalker guy wouldn't be so popular if he wasn't always good looking. I don't mind over protectiveness sometimes. I don't even mind a guy doing something a bit drastic because he's so in love with the heroine. But when someone blatantly disregards the heroine's wishes and puts her intelligence into question that's when I just have to put a book down. Maybe my dislike of the stalker guy stems from the portrayal of the heroine in line with stalker guy. I just don't like weak stupid heroines and they seem to be the only ones who fall for stalker guy.ReplyDelete
Ash: Reth was a nutcase and Evie didn't want a bar of him. Which is one of the reasons why I love Evie so much. She chose the right guy. Patch is on my perimeter of stalker guyness. But then again he was supposed to be a stalker guy so I guess that kinda explains it.
What I think a part from what I feel on the subject- The Stalker guy is a teen version of the romance novel's SUPER(not just Alpha, but SUPER) Alpha male. They show all the same qualities, and I think this is a fetish or fantasy. The fantasy is that a guy is so into a check that he thinks of nothing but her, is obsessed with her. At the same time he doesn't loose any of his masculinity because he isn't above forcing his way.ReplyDelete
How I feel about it- I am with you. It annoys me. I take that back. I want to see this hero suffer, badly. In fact I liked Twilight, but I hated Edward after the second book, and I LOVED the scene where Jacob thinks real hard about Bella all hurting and crap in front of him!! He is like "Stop!" and I am giggling with evil enjoyment. I like when someone gives this kind of guy a nice kick to the groin! I love it even more when it is the heroine.A good example of this is Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels series. I think the two leads are a match made in heaven. Alpha male and female.
Beth: I love the comparison with the alpha male. I guess at any age, women want to be utterly worshiped. I just wish books would try to convey that in a more healthy way.ReplyDelete
"spends a lot of time watching the heroine sleep and thinks nothing of breaking into her house to do so"ReplyDelete
Mwahaha! Not that you're talking about anyone specific, right?
OH MY GOODNESS YES! You're so, SO right, and these guys are crazy-creepy, but at the same time, I'm guilty of having enjoyed a lot of books filled with these kinda guys... I have nothing against strong male types, and even romance novel alpha guys, but I only dig this when it's give/take, like Elena and Raphael in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. While Raphael is uber-alpha, Elena won't take a bar of it, and he has to learn to curtail his assholism. It's kind of a underlying story arc in the books.
While I have to admit that I *did* really enjoy Hush, Hush, Patch scared the BEJEEZUS out of me. Not only is he hot and stalkerish, he quite literally manouevered his way into Nora's life with the intent of murdering her! How is that hot/attractive/smexi?
Sarah: *cough* no *cough* I didn't have anyone in particular in mind at all :) I don't have anything against dark, protective guys at all. But there has a to be a line drawn somewhere and stalker is that line for me. My jury is still out on Patch. In a way he annoyed me but in another, I don't think he was mean to be nice. Still a stalker though....ReplyDelete
Amen to this... I don't GET some of the supposed love interests in YA. I don't understand how someone who controls the heroine's life and stops her from having a life besides him is supposed to be appealing. I think most people are smart enough to realize this isn't healthy, but I still don't think it sets a very good example. People (and authors, I guess) need to realize you can still be mysterious and banter-y and sexy while being a nice guy and looking out for the heroine's needs and protecting her without being smothering/possessive and creepy.ReplyDelete
I cant really explain why. I think its because despite evrything he's doing he really thinks he's protecting her. That he wants what's best for her. OBVIOUSLY he's doing it in the wrong way, but I like the fact that he feels that way at least. If only he could do it without seeming creepy....ReplyDelete