The Trope I Am So Grateful For

Photo by Rupert Britton on Unsplash

The past few years have been...interesting, for me. And for the world, really. Media is ever present and also ever dissected and criticized. I learned about tropes through YouTube & blogging reviews- this was probably discussed in an English class somewhere, but I forgot about it or didn't hear it called a trope specifically. 

Another word for trope is kind of...stereotype. Or super-common idea. And they are usually talked about in a mostly negative way. I've seen people call it lazy writing, I've seen it said that it ignores the complexity of humans by focusing on one aspect of a character's personality- and I see that point.

But I think they are also super useful sometimes. 

A trope that personally pulled a lot of strength from as a pre/teen was the Not Like Other Girls trope.

I was a child in the 90s, and it definitely felt like there were expectations about how a girl should act and think and be. To be clear, I am confident that this was not a transgender issue- it wasn't that I wanted to be a boy in any way. I just didn't want to do a lot of the traditionally girly stuff all the time.
So when I read books about girls who were girls but not girly, I enjoyed it. Today there is a big push to acknowledge that girly does not mean bad- and I fully support that! I've been guilty of dismissing people just because they are pretty or interested in fashion, and I regret that.

But I am personally so grateful that there were stories around that said "You don't have to be traditionally feminine for a straight guy to think you, a straight girl, is pretty and attractive and hey, weird can be good." 

*I specify straight because at that time "gay" was used as a negative and kind of hung around as a "threat" for weirdos- which is hugely unfair to many people and ignorant in many ways. 

That sounds so stupid now, in 2018. But in 1998? in 2005, even? There weren't a lot of those things being said, at least not where I could see them (ie mainstream media) and I needed that to be said. Yes, it sucks that it ended up hurting people or adding to the stereotype that girly=bad, but it also had a really positive effect on me.

And it is because I saw those examples and learned to be comfortable with myself that I can now lift other women up and recognize their right to be however they want to be. 

I remember how boxed in I felt, and also how much privilege I still had, and don't want anyone to feel that way.

So here's to tropes that serve a purpose- maybe not always the best, but certainly a stepping stone for those of us who need them.

1 comment

  1. I do think they serve their purpose in some ways, specifically in how you have explained it here.

    Think about women never hearing ANY of these things we hear now back in the 1940s.