Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Musings: In which Elizabeth discovers she has some not very feminist ideas about love



I have recently come to (yet another) very startling and uncomfortable realization about myself:  I value what the male love interests want/need/think more than what the female love interest wants/needs/thinks.  Yeah. I said that.  And it goes against EVERYTHING I BELIEVE IN.  And I think I've always been this way, I just hadn't noticed it.  This is usually how love interest ranking goes in my head:

1. What boy wants/needs her more
2. What boy I think is best for her
3. What boy the girl thinks is best for her.




What kind of screwed up priority is that? 

It's most obvious to me when I am reading/watching a story where the girl is the one chasing the boy. I love it when the boy is pining after the girl - I can get super swoony over it (assuming it's not stalkerish. I'm talking Ren from Skip Beat sort of situation)  But I've realized something.  In K-Dramas more often than not, the girl is the one who is pining after the boy.  And a lot of the time I hate it. I spend the whole time asking my tv WHY? Why do you love this jerk?? This other dude is SO much better for you!!  (Ok, admittedly a lot of the relationships with the main love interests can be kind of abusive on the male end of things, so there are other things at play here).  If a girl is going after a guy who is clearly not into her, it makes me uncomfortable.

Why is that?

Why is it ok when I'm reading all these books with alpha males going after women who are resistant to the attention (at first)?  Admittedly, I'm not a big alpha male reader, but when it comes down to it...it doesn't bother me as much as the girl chasing the guy.

It suddenly put a conversation I had a long time ago with Christina in a whole new light for me.  I had mentioned that I shipped the other guy in Goong, not the main one.  And she had said that she totally didn't get that because my guy didn't care about making her happy, he cared about wanting her to be with him - which wasn't the same thing at all.  At the time I didn't get it and just brushed it off as a difference of opinion.  And who knows? Maybe on a rewatch I'd still agree with my original assessment - but in light of everything I've just realized about myself, it makes me think she more than likely has a really excellent point.  Because I do distinctly remember one thing: At no point does the MC ever show interest in my guy.  I just wanted her to be with him because HE wanted her to be with him. How is that any different from when the girl wants a guy who is totally not into her? (As was the case with the MC and her love interest at this point in the story)

So...how do I go about fixing this? It's a definite preference choice, I just happen to think that while it is totally ok for me to love men pursuing women, I need to be less critical of women pursuing men.  I think watching a ton of K-Dramas has helped that a little (it's definitely made me more aware).  But...do I just immerse myself in stories where the woman is doing the chasing? How does one actively change their opinion on something?

19 comments:

  1. This is me too! I care so much about the boy’s needs more than the girl’s. I absolutely care who is the right boy for the girl. I weigh the guy’s actions to make the girl fall in love with him which always happens with in the second male love interest. Because how diligent he was it made me root for him. I don’t like girls chasing boys. I want the opposite. But you’re right; you made me realize that what they are doing is exactly the same. I don’t know why it is so much appealing to see the guy pursue a girl than the girl chasing the guy. It is omething I need to ponder about. ^^:

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  2. Oh, I do so love your posts! And honestly, you change your opinion by actively questioning your judgement ... just like you're doing here! In other news, I can relate to this too. Unlearning is hard; we just work on it. I mean, even Buffy needs to train on the regular! ^_^

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  3. This is so interesting! I haven't really thought about my preferences. I don't think it bothers me one way or the other now that I think about it. I'm not sure I even register it? And to be honest, I've been the pursuer in all my relationships. I think I prefer it that way because it puts me in control and I direct the courtship actively rather than letting it happen passively. But, I absolutely have an opinion on who I think the girl (or boy) should end up with.

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  4. I'm going to have to think about this too! I enjoy seeing the guy gradually win over a girl in a story but I don't if that preference comes from a lack of exposure to stories with the reverse trope either. I enjoyed Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach which features a kickass urban fantasy-like heroine in a kind of spaceship setting. She chases the guy + her career path and that was good fun. Speaking of K-dramas, I'm watching Let's Eat Season 2 (I haven't watched season 1 but I think each season has different characters). In between the yummy food tangents, the girl enlists the help of the 1st guy to seek out the 2nd guy for her - so they're essentially both chasing the 2nd guy for her until it reverts back to the 1st guy pining trope.

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  5. Hmm... why do you have to change your preference if it is genuinely yours? I think the frowning upon women chasing men, from another female's perspective, would be the reaction of most independent women. Is it because if she has to chase him it is percieved as showing she doesn't have enough self worth? I think that is how I veiw it because I don't care for the girl chasing guy senerio either. Also, I think a bit of it comes from years of seeing men not fully appreciating women, and seeing a guy actively pursuing a girl, or pining after her, soothes that a little, even if it is fictional. I absolutely love Theo in In the Age of Love and Chocolate. Thanks for bringing this up, I have never really thought about it.

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  6. I think I'd be less bothered by all of this (mostly the my opinion being more important than the girl's) if I didn't way what the boy wants/needs so much more heavily than the girl's. It's also funny because I so frequently ship the secondary love interest instead of the primary one in K-Dramas (Princess Hours, You're Beautiful) because he's the one who's been patiently waiting on the side lines and is usually much nicer!

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  7. Thank you! *blushes* It's definitely become something I'm noticing/thinking about more when I'm reading since I started writing this post, so it'll be interesting to see what changes happen along the way. (And if it will change how I ship in K-Dramas. Maybe for once I will actually ship the guy she ends up with!)

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  8. I think that's exactly where I want to be - ok with either. I'm likely always going to prefer the boy chasing, because it is what gives me ALL the swoons. But I'd like to be comfortable/able to enjoy girl chasing instead of immediately being irritated by the girl. And maybe my personal relationships have an effect on this too - I didn't want relationships for the most part and didn't make first moves, so most of the chasing was on the guys part. (The only guy I DID show interest in wasn't interested in me haha *pouts*)

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  9. I hadn't thought of that - it's very likely that since culturally whether in books or movies I predominately see men chasing women that I prefer it so much more because it's what I'm used to and therefore comfortable with. And I know Fortune's Pawn is on my TBR - I'll have to bump it up the list!

    It looks like Season 1 and 2 are like...completely separate. Like they don't even have similar story lines hahahaha! Is it good? I'm just about to wrap up Last Cinderella (a J-drama) and am not sure what I'm going to watch next. But since I'm sick and have the day off tomorrow I'm likely going to start a new drama sooner rather than later! (I don't have time to watch them usually, so I only watch one every couple months)

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  10. Interesting post - and good for you for both noticing this and addressing it! That's the first step to changing your thinking. The next is to keep noticing when you're applying the old way of thinking (this one, or any other you want to change) and contradicting or correcting it each time you catch yourself thinking it (without being negative toward yourself. Just change the thought, don't beat yourself up.)

    I think this sort of thinking - privileging the male character's needs and wants over the female character's - is culturally ingrained. As women, we're taught to please, to make other people happy, and we're also confronted over and over with the idea that men and boys are more important. So it's no wonder that we internalize that over time, in many ways including the one you've just identified.

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  11. Which is actually a pretty reasonable reason to prefer the secondary interest, in that case!

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  12. It always takes me by surprise when I discover something about myself that doesn't feel like something I would have done on my own - if that makes sense. I also have an issue where I'm so damned nice to people even when I WANT to get angry...99% of the time I don't. And I think that's a bit of who I am on my own, but a lot of it is definitely a cultural thing. I didn't even realize I was letting things that bother me slide until a couple years ago and...well, not a whole lot has changed to be honest haha. But I try. And I also think this topic is going to be a lot easier for me to tackle. And now I have all the excuses I never needed to go binge watch a ton of K-Dramas. It's all in the name of exposing myself to girls chasing boys of course!

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  13. I totally didn't realise, until I read your post, but I DO THIS TOO! It's like I prefer reading novels from a male POV. I have no real reason to, I just do (unless it's chick-lit, then of course it's female POV all the way). Maybe I'm just not reading the right female lead books in other genres *ponders* might need to do some research on that.

    Gosh your post has made me think thinky things! :)

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  14. Yeak K-dramas are kind of a special case for me. Part of me wants to appreciate the female interest's preference...but most of me is like man there is a CLEAR better choice here haha!

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  15. You know, it's probably because I read mostly YA, but I very rarely read from a male POV. Most of the books that do have a male POV are shared with female POV as well. (Unless you aren't talking 1st person because I just realized you didn't specify that) I think? you read a lot of sci-fi? If I'm right about that, it totally makes sense then, because almost all the sci-fi I've read is male pov. I honestly don't know if I have a preference! I'm going to have to pay attention and see if I do!

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  16. How interesting! I think my preferences are a big tangled mess. I think my favorite scenario is girl pining for uber cool guy and finally attracting his attention. I'm not sure where that falls except in wish fulfillment:). I blame all the movies that were popular when I was a teen - it's all John Hughes fault. Though actually John Hughes didn't use that trope very often.... Anyway made me think and I'll have to pay more attention

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  17. I was in the mood for a lighthearted drama and I like it but it's early days yet so I'll let you know if it's worth a full recommendation in the end ^^ I really need to get back into J-dramas - maybe I'll try Last Cinderella.

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  18. Lol! It helps a lot when the guy is not a big old jackass (which is usually my first problem, and it's a separate thing really). Ahhh John Hughes....Sixteen Candles is probably one of my all time favourites. (Although I may never forgive him for Pretty in Pink. Andrew McCarthy IS a total babe...but man he was a wimpy jerk in that film >:-l)

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  19. I'm definitely more of a K-Drama girl, I've only seen two or three J-Dramas. And...Last Cinderella was fun, but ultimately nothing new. It had a lot of potential and it just didn't do anything with that said potential. I mean it's good, I liked it, but I'm also a little disappointed because they didn't explore a lot of things they could have. So take that as you will :)

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