Recently I came across a movie review bemoaning the habit of romance plots to include thoroughly unlikeable male love interests who treat the heroine like crap. His particular hatred was for how they are always forgiven and always get the girl in the end with little if any punishment for their awful behaviour.
He’s kind of got a point. A lot of classic love stories and also a lot of modern movies do exactly this. Oh and he’s not talking about ‘bad boy’ heros, where being bad is part of the appeal. No, these are meant to be the good guys.
The reviewer’s point was “Why do women like these movies? Why don’t they vote with their feet, and move Hollywood away from such terrible representations of what women should accept in a guy?”
It’s an interesting question.
Do writers and viewers think men are all arseholes and therefor this is representative of the truth? Or is it just too hard to write a convincing flaw so that the male lead can be redeemed from?
Then I started to think that maybe these ‘no so good guys’ are just a genteel version of the ‘bad boys’ who, let’s face it, make far less credible happy ending material. So in place of danger and rule-bucking-excitement you get rude and inconsiderate?
It should also be said that the lack of repercussions in romance plots actually cuts both ways. Women too get away with a startling degree of bad behaviour if the main character is male. Romance plots, like action plots, are very frequently illogical.