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I want to start by saying that these rants are based in books I’ve read and by read I mean started and finished. For that reason I’m not counting Evermore or whatever book I’m recapping at the time. When I’m doing rants like this based on my general feelings. I’m not forcing anyone to agree with me.  Also, this will be a short one.

 

With friends like these, who needs enemies? After all what is a friend if not somebody who will fawn over you on the outside just to plot your doom on the inside? Or constantly be tripping you over? Or steal all your boyfriends? Screw your mom? Crash your car? Or tell you that shirt looks horrible at the store just to show up the next day wearing it?

I won’t deny there are people like that in the world. After all, people come in all shapes, sizes and souls. I can’t say I’ve had the displeasure of these types of relationships since I’ve always been one for few but awesome friends. Still, I do wonder what some of these writers think friendship is or the importance of getting at least 1 good friend growing up.

“What, you are going to get Disney channel on me?” No, not really. That would include friendships with weird handshakes, bad catchphrases and convoluted situations that can only be solved by paper thin disguises. That’s not how friendship usually works either.

My guess is that writers of the genre are trying to be edgy with their stories feeling that the crowd of “sad” teenage girls will eat it up. How many times have we felt misunderstood and underappreciated or wished to be admired by large groups of people (and when you are greatly admired you are usually envied too)? How else is the writer going to show what a special snowflake the main character is if she’s not as pushed as she is desired?

Even when it’s not a popular girl among popular people the way some of these female characters interact with their so called friends worries me a bit. Not because it affect my delicate sensibilities, but because I can see where it limits the genre. Stories with male characters are usually treated as “world stories” that both genres can appreciate, but female main characters usually don’t get that treatment (and not only in books either ). One of the reasons being the amount of wish fulfillment usually found in main female characters and thus the envy and hatred of those around her versus those with male characters for the most part. (No, I haven’t read Eragon so not counting that)

It is in this wish fulfillment that part of the humanity of the character is lost, if you ask me. I believe that almost everyone has something in them that would help them connect with others, even if it is a small group or a single person. This can even function to flesh out your character, move the plot and create a connection with the reader that runs deeper than just being the main character by proxy. If even I, in my awkward, lonely, grew-up-with-my-blind-grandma existence have made great friends, why hasn’t these characters?

I hate using the same example over and over, but it’s the one I know whoever read this will know, but Harry Potter and his friends. Harry grew up as a lonely kid yet still managed to make friends. And he fights with them, talks to them and plays with them and in doing so we see a more human Harry than just one that is the constant target, both in awe and disdain, to everyone who sees his forehead.

And if you use this idea, don’t over use it. Because, again, I feel it robs some humanity off your character. A couple of haters is all fine and good after all not everyone in real life like you so not everyone should like your character. However, when you get to the point nobody is her real friend I stop thinking what’s wrong with them and start thinking what’s wrong with your character.

 

on 2010-08-26 03:36 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zelda-queen.livejournal.com
I have to agree with you. I know that there are the "mean girls" and spiteful friends and whatnot, but whatever happened to close friends? Those people (or even just person) who's always been there for you and who you'll always be there for? That's one of the reasons I liked The Princess and the Frog - instead of making Lottie a spiteful rich girl (which I think was their original plan), she was a sweetie who was good friends with Tiana. Thus, the movie distinguished itself a little bit by having a rare example of the princess character having friends who are major characters.

And yes, Harry Potter is a good example. Seriously, it's not until the fourth book that there's even a hint of romance (well, third book, but that's one line XD). It doesn't get serious until book six. And all of the protagonists' relationships are with people they were friends with first, which reminds me of something I once read - that the best romantic relationships start with a foundation of friendship. After all, romance and lust fade. Friendship lasts longer.

on 2010-08-26 05:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] shaolina.livejournal.com
I have no words to describe the amount of love I have in my heart for Lottie. She is the sweetest, kindest, funniest female character Disney has ever made. She's like Kuzco, but with a good heart from the get go. They even both make the same type of entrance. XD She really made the movie for me and I would have liked it way less if Lottie had been mean spirited or consciously selfish and self-absorbed.


And I made a similar point in my previous rant. Friendship is the base of all love. That's hat makes adoptive families work, couples last until old age and friends to always be there for you. That's an element that many female YA stories are missing from what I can see so far and it's kinda disturbing.

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