Problematic Tropes in Books

TW: Mentions of Abuse

1. “I am not like other girls”: This trope is particularly targeted against women using harmful stereotypes. These girls could be portrayed as hating makeup or reading a lot or being awkward, which defines how women as a total acts in society. Such stereotypes are used to demean women and the activities they partake in.

2. Limited Diversity: This applies to both members in the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community. Authors only write these characters to earn some credit for being “open” and “inclusive.” Most of the time, these characters are used to further the main character’s plotline, have no character development at all, or are killed off. No matter where a story takes place, there will be more than one person of color and the LGBTQ community. People in these categories deserve representation too!

3. Enemies-to-Lovers gone wrong: This is a popular trope among book readers (such as myself) and could be enjoyable if done right. However, sometimes this trope uses abuse and doesn’t address it when the two enemies become lovers. This is a hard thing to do because if both of the people are good, how could they be enemies? Many people struggle with this and often defend the abusers against people who notice dangerous trends with these characters. Relationships should be portrayed as healthy, no matter what the trope is being used!

4. Love Triangle: It is common in this situation that stereotypes would be enforced in a harmful way. First of all, a woman is torn between choosing between two men. This choice becomes the only character development she obtains throughout the entire book, whether she chooses the right guy or not. Usually (not always) the girl chooses the guy who is more manipulative toward her because of the “intense” sexual tension between them (Relationships isn’t solely based around sexual tension but many books make it seem that way). And if it is 2 women desiring one man, they are often pitted against each other as competition, finding ways to demean each other and come out on top.

5. Love at First Sight: In no world could this be realistic. This attraction is caused by physical attraction which doesn’t say anything about someone’s personality. It states that love circulates around whether you find the person attractive and nothing about how they treat others around them. If young readers believe this as a real thing, many could potentially experience abusive relationships in the future. The “magic” that comes with the first glance of a potential love interest can’t make a relationship work out in the long run.

I might have said things that you disagree with (That’s okay. This is my viewpoint on these scenarios; you have every right to any opinion you have). And there must be more problematic book tropes that I didn’t mention above. If you have any you would like to share, comment them below!

-Saanvi V.

2 thoughts on “Problematic Tropes in Books

  1. I agree – these tropes can be quite problematic! It’s one reason why I’ve slowly stopped reading modern writers – I just can’t stand all the bad romance 🤔

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