Booktrovert Reader Podcast

The Most Irritating Tropes in Female Main Characters in Fantasy

July 06, 2023 Charity the Booktrovert Reader Season 1 Episode 18
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
The Most Irritating Tropes in Female Main Characters in Fantasy
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
Become a supporter and you will get a shoutout on an episode!
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript

It seems like women are pegged in certain tropes in fantasy.

So in a fantasy Facebook group, I decided to ask what people think on the subject. There is much to say apparently.

In this episode, I go over what people had to say in this group and my thoughts about it.

Fantasy Facebook Group: HERE
Facebook is a great place to have amazing discussions with other readers. This group is not mine, but I joined it and found amazing recs here.

Support the show

Loving this podcast? Please consider leaving a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback is valuable to me and helps me improve the show.

Thriftbooks Referral Code:
When you refer a friend to sign up for ReadingRewards and they spend $30 you BOTH get a FREE book credit!

Connect with Me:
Instagram » TikTok » Pinterest » Blog » YouTube

Join my Weekly Newsletter: HERE


Check out my Amazon Shop for Fantasy Book Recs: HERE

I get a commission every time you purchase a product through my affiliate link.

Hello readers. This is Charity, your booktuber reader, coming with you. A very exciting topic today, which is what is the most annoying thing when it comes to female main characters in fantasy books? So I was reading a particular book recently and and I'm not gonna give any titles, so don't even think about asking for it. But I noticed how she was a very whiny character of her situation. She just got put in a life of luxury. She has this amazing, fantastic power and she just whines how terrible her life is. She feels imprisoned, she feels stuck where she's at. She doesn't want help, she doesn't want to tell anyone or confide anyone's problems. She just wants to sulk and have her own problems. And I had to DNF this book because I just got so tired of this behavior, this attitude that she was having. It made me disconnect with the character and the writing and everything. And this is just my personal opinion, but I thought I should ask other fantasy readers because I wonder for them what makes it annoying for them when it comes to female main characters in fantasy. So the Facebook group is called Yanna fantasy book Lovers. I will put that in the show notes if you want to join this Facebook group. I basically just asked the question, the whole group, what is the most annoying thing when it comes to female main characters and fantasies? As you can guess, this group is very dedicated to fantasy books, so they had a lot to say about this. So I'm not going to give any names, but I'm definitely going to share what I've read and just give my opinions on what everyone had to say. So one person said the inability to communicate also when they are helpless damsel in distress. I would say that almost on every single genre I've ever come across. If there's no communication, if there is just a simple, hey, let me tell you what's going on, hey, no, let me clarify the situation, hey, let me talk it out. It would eliminate at least 100 pages of the book, but instead we got a miscommunication and it just keeps going and going and going when they act so shocked when they find out the male interest is actually in love with them, like, why are you shocked, hon? Pack it in. So yeah, I think I just came across that once upon a Broken Heart and she's just kind of shocked that this guy is showing her any kind of any feelings towards her. And a trope that I see so many times is that I'm a plain girly, but in the description of them, they are blonde with blue eyes and perfect skin and thin. Like I am 1000 10,100% understand and have sympathy for low self esteem. But I just struggle to not roll my eyes when I see this. Yeah, I mean even like the ones like they say like, I got these big boobs, and it's just awful. And I've read that a few times, and I'm like, Why are you complaining about this? It's not. Even an insecure thing. It's just like oh, what was me? And then the whole like yes, they are very beautiful on the outside, perfect skin. They're like all around is perfect, but I'm just plain it is kind of going against a little bit what they were saying. When a female male character can't be soft or Fenimine, you can kick ass and still be a Fenny woman. A lot of people had to say something along those lines. They think a strong woman is one that has to wear pants all the time and they hate wearing dresses. And a lot of people were saying, and I kind of agree with that statement because I'm just like, there's nothing wrong with wearing a dress and being feminine in that aspect. I think a good series is a little bit of Throne of Glass. She can kill anyone because she was an assassin, but she also enjoyed wearing feminine clothing, dresses and things like that and dressed up like the finer things of life and was very comfortable with it. Another one is a big one. Is she's not like any other girl? I mean that's this whole setup of a story is usually when they have special powers, they're the only people that can save the kingdom and all this stuff and they're just different from everybody. They're always isolated, they have no friends and all this stuff and yada, yada, yada. So yeah, it is kind of a redundant thing to be the only one that the character is just misunderstood and nobody understands her. If you're talking plot point, I absolutely despise when the female main character loses all of her powers or gives them up for a greater good. In any book I've read where the total loss of power thing happens, it's always the girl and never the guy. Why must the female give everything up to save everyone? Why can't the guy feminist rant over? Yeah, I do notice that that happens a lot. Is that why can't the guy be the one who sacrifices his powers for the greater good but it's always the female that's always doing it? I can name a whole bunch of books where that's the case, but it's never the opposite. And I think one person referenced shadow and bone. Oh, this one, I agree with this one. When they don't use their full potential cause they're too dangerous and scared to do so or refuse to accept who they are and whine about it until the end of the book. Now, I did read Broken Bonds by J. Brie and that was the main theme of the first and second book. You didn't understand what her freaking powers were. You didn't understand what was so scary about it. But yet she kept complaining how she just couldn't do it. She wanted to protect them and it was just kind of annoying to me a little bit. I did enjoy it and now it's kind of like that coming down phase where I'm like, okay, X, Y and Z. I think I just got really annoyed by it by the third book, when I felt like there was no development in the story. It was just constantly like, oh, I can't use my powers. They're too powerful, they're too scary and all this stuff. And you just got kind of old about that and really turned me off about it. When they don't use the support of friends or men because they're too strong and independent. I would say that because the fact that there's been this one book where. They have this strong support system of friends and family that are willing to do anything for this main character who's willing to go over and beyond what they need help to help this person, but this person refuses to ask for help. So you spend the whole time, this whole book just listening how oh, I can't share this with them because I got to protect them. I can't do it. This is my burden. This is my thing. And you're just kind of like if you just asked for help this would be a lot easier to handle. And sometimes it gets a little frustrating to be the reader on the outside saying, look, these people will do anything for you and they've proven that, but yet you are still too stubborn to ask for help. And I can see it and it's annoying. Some people didn't like the virgin trope. I don't really care. I think my thing is more of the fact that if they are always talking about being a virgin that's when I'm kind of annoyed. It's like how the bachelor? If there's that one guy that goes on and he's a virgin or the female or whatever the case may be, they talk about it so much they even put it on the bottom banner of their name like so and so virgin. 1.2s Who cares? Who cares about talking about that all the time? Okay? It is what it is. Supposedly smart and brave but is always doubting herself and making dumb decisions. Yeah, I do kind of have a hard one hard thing like that. Especially if they brag about how good they are and how great their powers are or whatever the case may be. But then they still make really dumb decisions that put themselves in danger. Then I'm kind of like is it though boasting of being strong and indifferent to love and then falls in love instantly with the first pretty boy she sees and it changes her completely to a needing and irritating teenager. I don't think I've read enough books to kind of see that difference. But it is kind of interesting to see that development of character when they do claim they don't need anybody then all of a sudden they're like, yes, I love them. They're everything to me. And all of a sudden I need that person and only that person. Yeah, it is a flip flop of character and I do like to see the consistency. I'm more of a slow burn person. I just love to see the barriers and the outside protection and then slowly chip away to finally start trusting that person and I'm more of like that person instead of instant love. I hate instant love. I hate it where they hate the person and then all of a sudden they're like I love you. I have feelings for you. Okay. Constant cussing. It's so cringey and sounds like a twelve year old who learned to cuss and I'm specifically talking about the Bonds That Tie series. Okay. Yeah, the F bombs are dropped, and every once in a while, I don't mind a curse word, but I do feel like if it's said in every sentence, it kind of sounds childish to me. That's just me, in my personal opinion. Yeah, I kind of agree with that. When they go from helpless to weak, more powerful than anyone who's been training their whole lives. I'm looking at you, Nesta. Oh, yeah. Specifically for the court of Silver and Flames. Felt like Farah had to train quite a while for her powers and then Nesta comes in and suddenly it's like the bomb at these powers and she's super good at it. And, yeah, I kind of see that. I like a little development in people's developing their powers. I like to see them struggle and try to learn how to master it and not be so good at it. In the very beginning, I noticed that sometimes that's how the female main characters are written, where they're just suddenly just empowered to do the great things all of a sudden, when the bad a translate to being necessary, mean, harsh, rude or pick me, girl stereotype badass main female main characters can be caring, compassionate and vulnerable. Plus what others have said already. Spawn on. Yes, I agree with that. It's such a turn off for me when you're supposed to be strong in all this, but you're just not a nice person on the outside. And I don't necessarily for myself translate that to be very powerful. You can be quiet. I mean, this is just me. You can be quiet and not say anything and just be as powerful as the person who's cursing the other person out or get into that fight because they insulted your mom or whatever the case may be. And I think I agree with that one. And again, when she's completely normal in the beginning, but comes into some kind of powerful magic and instantly the absolute best at it can plan out battles and fights with little to no questions from people who have been doing this for years, outsmarts everyone. There so much. Yeah, there is one in particular book. It's kind of the same one that I mentioned to you before. It's like these human people don't have these powers. They've never been known to have these special powers. And all of a sudden she's an anomaly. She gets these powers, suddenly she's very good, just as much as the person who's been training his whole life for it. She's the one with the amazing suit and the leather, whatever the case may be. And then she goes to the castle and whines about her situation and it's just very annoying to me in that situation. OOH, this one violence from female main character to male man character that if reversed, would be considered abuse. I haven't read a book like that. I'm pretty sure I might come across that one day. But I did have that opinion with other genres I picked up in the past where if the female was doing it to the male, but it wasn't considered anything, but if it was a reverse situation, it would be considered something. So that is a pet peeve for mine and that's for all genres because I read different genres, science fiction, romance, Dystopian, things like that, and I've come across those situations too. And you're just kind of like that's just not right. Still, when she's too perfect when she suddenly has special power that supposedly no one else has. And she's great at everything and super beautiful. I mean, that's totally unrealistic to me. And I can't relate to the character like that at all. No way. They could be good at everything when they didn't know they were so powerful at first. And even then, they still shouldn't. Sell at everything. Also don't like how they're always so young. Yeah, it's kind of like the time and true character of every first fantasy book in the series that you read is that they have these powers and all of a sudden they're fantastic at it, even though they never had proper training or anything like that. Common thing I keep seeing is that she's barely trained in anything, but then no one tells of the plan, no communication. OOH. So I would be the first one to say I'm not a big fan of love triangles. I'm not a big fan of that. I like a very direct path towards these romances and these fantasies. That's why I kind of like Sarah J. MAS. How she did it. I know some people would disagree, but the first book was all about one person and then it turns out she was completely in love with another. Sorry, spoiler. I'm not a big person. Like, I love them both. I can't choose. 1.2s Granted, it could be life exception, it could happen in real life, but I'm not a big fan of it. I'm more of a decisive person. You either like them, you don't one or the other. Stop playing with the emotions of both of them. Make a decision and move on and be clear and communicate that, hey, I want to be with this person. And I know it creates a story, I know it creates the angst, I know it creates the second book. But I just personally think that it would be nice to just keep to one and stick to one. She was so tiny and he towered over her. Why? I do kind of notice that a lot of female main characters in fantasy, they're always super tiny, super petite, really short. They're like kind of described as 4952. And every male character is always described over 6ft tall. Not that it's a wrong thing, but it's kind of a common thing trend that I'm noticing. And then I'm like, why can't we have like a characters where they're looking at each other, looking into each other's eyes? Because the height is almost the same or she's more of a stockier build than other people or something like that, where she's not like so tiny and she's supposed to be like, going against other people and fighting and supposed to be the best at everything. And yeah, I do wish there was not that always that always thing where it's him being super tall, over 6ft, and her being petite, being five foot. This one's good. The cute, stabby female main character, girls who stab, kicks, punches, shoots the male main character all the time, but the male man character never touches them or even accidentally hurts them when he's trying not to die. Miraculously managing to magically deflect all of her aggressive attacks without even getting hurt. Sometimes the female main characters comes across as very hot headed, quick decisions and they're just like, really super aggressive when it comes to their fighting skills. This guy who's supposed to be like, most of the time describes as 6ft, muscular and all this stuff is barely able to defend himself on that and not hurt her at all. Typical fantasy book that you come across. There was this one fantasy called The Sky in the Deep by Andre. Young. This female main character is really good at fighting, but she also gets hurt herself, which she gets really caught really badly and barely wins the fight and almost gets killed herself. And several times, even though she is a good fighter because of her frame, and she is almost accidentally almost killed by the other tribe that comes against her. And that's why I really like that book, because it was Viking inspired and it was actually felt really realistic. And even like, with her going through the healing process, it showed that she took time to heal. And that's another thing is, like, these people get really hurt, but you don't see that process. They kind of just get stitched up and they just move on as if being stabbed by a sword never happened to them. It's not like it's a super important details, but I did kind of notice that it didn't feel real, like they're human, like they can get hurt, that they feel pain. I sometimes like to see that they're human, they make mistakes and they can get hurt by not being fast enough or making decisions quick enough or deflecting the blow fast enough. That's kind of a wish I can see a little bit more. All right. I do kind of wonder about this one. It's kind of like a personal jab for me. So when she's depicted as a warrior fighter, able to do intense cardio and strong moves but doesn't have the lifestyle nutrition to back it up, this person says, I work out and train about six days a week with a miserably healthy lifestyle. When they go on vacation or have a weekend or drinks, treats and healthy food without workouts suffer. Drives me crazy when they can eat pizza, fast food, drink wine, beer, eat junk and do little training and still be in peak physical form. I mean, come on. That is the most annoying thing. Granted, you don't want to be that girl that eats the salad and never eats a burger, but it is kind of frustrating that they can do these long winded sprints, they can fight, they can do all these amazing physical things, but they eat crap. I kind of agree with that. The fact that these women are built to be like every man's dream, but they're still thin as crud and their bodies are perfect. So it's kind of a thing. Here's another one. When they go against the villain and win the great battle after only a month of trading or with power owed friendship. Miss me with that Disney and give me an actual character development. Another one of those things where you say they only trade for like a certain amount of time. They find this power, suddenly they're all great at what they can do. Just going through these comments, a lot of them are the same. I'm kind of seeing a trend where they just don't like the perfect girl or the girl who doesn't think she's pretty. But even though she's described as this gorgeous being coming into the powers and suddenly knows how to do it better than everybody sacrificing the powers when the man can or when they are introduced to the love interest, they're suddenly just only can focus on the love interest. So yeah, there is a very common theme and I'm hoping that we'll start seeing a trend of just stronger women in the regards to just like they don't have to be perfect to be strong, things like that. I mean, I'll still read the books, I think there's certain hard lines that I would say I would probably not read. I'm noticing that Ya fantasy books have the tropes that I personally don't like, so I've been kind of staring clear away from them. But what do you guys think? What is the most annoying trait or what's the most annoying thing that female main characters are written in fantasy books? Well, thank you for listening to my podcast. Follow me on Instagram for more updates and to participate in future polls. And if you have a moment, please consider leaving a review on your favorite podcast platform. Please let me know what you think about the most annoying things for female main characters to be written in books and your opinions valuable to me. So thank you again for supporting me and happy reading. 

Podcasts we love