In the last Shit I’m Sick of Reading segment Kat covered the highly overused trope: The love triangle. This time I’d like to
bitch moan complain chat about my biggest pet peeve when it comes to the YA genre. Insta-love. There is nothing that grates my nerves faster than insta-love. A book can have the best premise in the world, but evoke insta-love and I’ll barely give that book 2 stars. You know what I’m referring to here. Girl sees the howtest guy for the first time, swooning ensues and the next page they are declaring their undying love for one another. Not only is this method insanely popular, but it sells books faster than hot cakes at the county fair. Why is that? Now, one could argue that it’s just fiction, an outlet of escapism. And to certain degree I can understand that viewpoint, but these books aren’t being marketed towards adult women. The target market are young girls who may or may not have even had a boyfriend yet, let alone fallen in love. Are books that portray love in this manner just setting young girls up for unrealistic ideals about relationships?
As much as I would love to sit and blame Twilight for this unfortunate trend in Young Adult novels, the issue is bigger than that. Almost every girl has heard of the first Edward and Bella: Romeo & Juliet. That age-old love story is a prime example of the rule: just because it’s famous, doesn’t mean it’s good. Yet, no one really sits around and talks about the deeper issues of the story. Romeo and Juliet barely knew anything about each other, but the claim to have been deeply in love and in the end they kill themselves. How romantic!
How about in today’s media? What role models do young girls grow up watching? The Disney Princesses, of course!
Disney: Where all your dreams can come true
after you meet prince charming! I suppose I can’t fault Disney too much for their insta-love story lines. When it comes to feminism and Disney, insta-love is the least of their issues. I mean, they are working with only an hour and thirty minutes after all. Even I remember watching cartoons thinking, “Gosh, that’s so romantic.” Truth is I had no idea what was romantic. All I knew was what Disney and Cartoon Network told me. And what they told me was not reality. But as for Young Adult novels? No. When you have almost 500 pages written and you have the main characters making “contingency plans” in the event they are no longer together and they just met, something is wrong.
But wait! What about “love at first sight”? Isn’t that just what this is? Maybe. But in most instances these inta-love romances it’s not just love at first sight, it’s obsession at first sight. It’s “I love you so much I’m going to stop engaging in hobbies I used to, forget I have other friends and family, and we’ll live happily ever after!” And that’s another issue I have. Co-dependency is almost always accompanied with insta-love. It’s usually the same story line we’ve read before: Some unremarkable Mary Sue moves to a new school. Howt guy sees girl for the first time. They share one conversation. Love. Throw in a little paranormal or fantasy elements and you’ve got yourself a best seller. It’s ironic when you think about it. Jane Austin wrote about strong women attempting to break free of society norms and here we are in 2012 writing about damsels with only their strong men to save them. Here we are still fighting for gender equality by day and secretly wanting to be saved in our fantasies. Are we really trying to have our co-dependent cake and eat the feminist one too?
Where is the period of limerence or infatuation? Where is the relationship’s growth? Why is the heroine’s entire life altered by a hot guy at school? How can their love be forever when they know nothing about each other? Falling in love is easy, staying in love is where the challenge lies. Love is hard work! So believe me, I can understand the appeal of effortless love, but this isn’t love. It’s a cheap imitation knock off with lackluster characters, a thrown together plot, and equally uninspired writing. There is nothing deep about these relationships. They are superficial, vain, and shallow. Yet, we pour these ideals into our young girls from a disturbingly early age. This is what we grow up thinking love is. Do men really have commitment issues or do women just grow up delusional from all the propaganda? Are women really clingy or are they just unconsciously searching for their “happily ever after?” Are we dooming our relationships before they even begin with these unrealistic expectations?
There aren’t any easy answers to those questions, but one thing for sure is that reality is a bitch and she always comes to collect on your fantasies. And while I don’t solely blame the current state of the Young Adult genre on woman’s relationship issues, I’m just sick of reading this shit.
How do you feel about insta-love? Does it bother you as much as it bothers me?