I deeply apologize for being so inconsistent with my posting these past few days! My reading and blogging schedule has been insane lately, and I hope to set myself back on track soon! Wednesday Rambles is a weekly discussion meme, created here at Another Book in the Wall, where (as the name implies) I ramble about whatever is lurking in the uncharted backwaters of my mind. A trend I’ve noticed and have been wanting to address for a while, is how chivalry has become less common throughout literature in the past decade or so. In society nowadays, we tend to greatly stress girl power and independence. While this is often a positive reinforcement, I find myself missing stories with the knight in shining armor and damsel in distress.
Why I Enjoy Chivalry
I truly believe that chivalry shouldn’t die. I am by no means, suggesting that all female characters in books should rely solely on members of the male sex to save them, but am merely saying how I miss parts of this element in stories. Growing up, I adored the idea of princesses waiting for their prince to come, and it truly saddens me how this theme isn’t displayed as often in today’s society. Whatever happened to the kind gentleman who would move heaven and earth to save the woman he loved? I find this to be a beautiful and heartwarming motive, and love it when this is a driving force in the plot. Ever since this theme has taken a down turn in recent years, I don’t recall a single Disney movie that has released where the male hero saves the female heroine in the end. It’s almost always the princess or female lead who saves herself, the male protagonist, or someone else. Independence and self-confidence is a great subject matter to promote, but I can’t help but feel as though many books and movies are missing that classic touch. I am completely in favor of this being shown throughout media, but it would be nice if there was a sufficient amount of movies with men saving the day as well. Our prince charmings are being cast into the shadows.
Kick-Butt Female Protagonists Are Becoming Cliche’d
Perhaps this is just me, but I’ve noticed that most female protagonists in young adult literature leech off of a stereotypical model. The female is always strong, independent, hardened by life, and often reclusive or withdrawn from their social crowd. I’ve seen a number of Katniss Everdeen’s and Tris Prior’s in so many novels nowadays, that I’ve honestly grown bored of this trending pattern. Young women should be unique as individuals, and not be categorized as either extreme – helpless damsel or kick-butt goddess. When they’re portrayed as being incessantly powerful, without the help of others, this is both unrealistic and superficial. There’s no shame in a protagonist having to rely on others for support, regardless of their company’s sex.
Where Should the Line Be Drawn?
I believe the ideal female protagonist lies somewhere between these two types of character labels. A heroine should be able to make appropriate choices and decisions throughout a novel based on her own judgement and personal beliefs; however, I think it would be appealing if our female protagonists also relied on men every so often for support. There shouldn’t be a defining label for a male or female to be the hero and the defenseless. By instituting dynamics such as this, more complex and intriguing relationships can be formed, and this will constitute realism. Both sexes hold diverse skill sets, and I would love it if authors decided to utilize the strengths of male and female protagonists to their fullest potential. Wanting to save your true love, no matter the cost, is a lovely ambition, and I wish it was shown in literature more often – especially that of the male striving to save the female. Chivalry may have been altered and undervalued in the past ten years, but I don’t believe it is, or should be dead.
What are your thoughts on chivalry in books? Do you think it’s dead, or should be? Are female protagonists spiraling in the wrong direction? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!