December 28, 2013

Conditioned to Love Bad Boys?

Question: Does anyone else ever feel like they're trained or "conditioned" to love bad boys from an early age? Think about all of the books that you've read recently. How many featured bad boys as the love interest or hero, and how many got the girl in the end? Was their even a "good guy" present? Or did the bad boy take all the glory?

Did he sweep the heroine off of her feet, tell her his sob story about his broken home and how his life sucks? Did she fall for it? Did you fall for it too? I'm going to profess it right here and now: I'm pretty much in love with the bad boy trope. Piercings, tattoos, motorcycles, reckless behavior? I'm in.

So it's made me wonder... have we been conditioned to love things like that? Because I've noticed that something like 98% of book bloggers suffer from this affliction, while the other 2% either doesn't care or rolls it's eyes at us. But we can't help it. We swoon over the silliest things. Pressing people against walls? *swoon* Driving dangerously so the girl will hold tighter to you? *swoon*

We fall for the most abusive relationships. The ones where you know that you shouldn't love this couple together, they're only bad for each other, but you're totally rooting for them. We're totally and completely conditioned, and it doesn't help that so many books these days are making abusive relationships okay.

Edward? He stalked Bella, watched her sleep, craved her blood, and got her knocked up & bruised within a week of their marriage. Fail.

Jacob? Also after Bella, but more primal about it. He falls in love with Bella's whatever aged daughter, and is kind of creepy after that, because she's so young. It's gross.

Patch? (Totally like him, sadly.) He convinced Nora that he was killing her on a roller coaster, stalked her, Was plotting to do something terrible to her, and he also pushed her up against every surface available and wouldn't really let her say no.

I hear that Jude from Crash is a doozy, and there are probably several other characters that could be mentioned as being lusted after yet bad choices. I feel like, maybe as women, we have this idea that men should be rough and possessive. What does that say for all of our futures, and for the futures of children, if we all lust after men who are on the road to abusive-ness?

I will freely admit that I like it in books when men/boys are possessive, and ride motorcycles, are overly tatted, or have a face full of piercings. That's no problem for me. But is there something that makes us love these tropes? I tend to fall for them all, no matter how bad they are, or what they do. Sometimes I draw the line, because stalking is creepy... but there are some guys that I still love who are totally stalkers. What does that say about me? Am I a bad person?

What do you think? Is it bad for us to love these seemingly uncaring, bad guys? Do you fall for them as well?


  1. Hmm... interesting discussion topic. I've noticed that most readers are crazy about bad boys. Now you're making me ask myself if I am drawn to them too. After thinking pretty hard about it, trying to remember all the bad boys from the books I've read, my conclusion is: no, not really. I remember reading Beautiful Disaster. I wasn't impressed by Travis. He was just a jerk and that was that. However, I remember liking Warner more than Adam in Shatter Me. But I guess that was simply because Warner seemed more complex as a character. So, no, I don't like bad boys just because they are bad. But I don't like good boys either. You know what I like? Both in fiction and real life... :) Intelligent boys.

    Oana @All Fantasy Worlds

  2. We want to fix them, and be the center of their world..LOL It seems to me that bad boys push the edges of our comfort zone. We want a mix of naughty and nice, smart and sweet.

  3. I'd take a bad boy over the good guy any time. Excepy when it's Patch... you know how I feel about him and Hush, Hush. lol.
    I'm not always loving the bad boy in a book but it's very rare when that happens. I even like some of the guys in a book when they are truly evil. Sigh. I am cursed. :')

  4. Great topic Meg.
    Once in my literature class,I was supposed to tell the class about the kind of characters I have a soft spot for,so initially I talked about my love for bad boys.
    But then,my teacher asked me " do you think it's possible in real life?"That's when I started to think about it.
    Bad boys have always been heroes in YA books mostly because our heroines need a distraction.I've seen a lot of romances in which the girl goes for the bad boy to distract herself from the problems she faces.Take The DUFF for example.
    And then there's the vulnerable side of these guys.We swoon when they are all arrogant,rude and sometimes behave like total assholes.We can't help it.But we fall in love with them when we see that broken side they're trying to hide.
    So don't worry Meg,it's completely normal:)

  5. Great question, Mags.
    I think we are definitely conditioned in some way to love the bad boys, especially in books where you're correct to say there is an abundance of bad boys. Personally, I'm not blinded by that - I different between bad boy and jerk. Isaiah from Crash is a "bad boy" - he's no jerk. I swoon for him. Patch is a literally bad boy, and a jerk. I hate him. I also think we're being taught to be okay with jerkiness. I even noticed this with myself - there was a character I heard so much about how he's a sexy jerk on GR (Daemon from the Lux series), but when I read the book he wasn't as big a jerk as I had thought he'll be, or made him to be in my head and so I actually liked him. I was literally going like "he wasn't as bad as I expected - so I actually liked him! In real life, I would've probably hated him.

    but I also think it's very natural to love possessiveness in a man, or to like it when the guy puts up a fight against us, or wants to protect us (even if it's totally unnecessary). I mean, on a primal level it shows that he cares and love you, doesn't it? Now, I don't mean possessiveness to the level of he doesn't let you out of his sight, gets angry at you if you have a male friend or something like that. That's abusive. I talk about jealousy, and a bit power shows.
    As for piercing and the likes... well, we as a culture view those things as "manly". Girls, in general, look for manly guys. So.. all quite natural lol

    So... I think what we're being conditioned to love is not necessarily "bad boys", but more like "jerks".

    Long speech there. Very lecture-like. Dunno why it came out like this lol

  6. I sometimes like the "bad boys" and sometimes don't. I think it's better that we like bad boys in fiction than in real life. Fiction lets us experience the assholes without having to be stuck with them when we're done wanting to feel used and abused. As a woman, I think my taste change in men depending on what time of the month it is. It's better that I trade in my "man" for a fictional one than a real one, LOL.

    It's a much scarier thought to be in a relationship with an asshole in RL and to have only the fiction good guys to keep us afloat.

  7. This is a really good question! I DO think that we've been conditioned to love bad boys, but in fiction, which really hurts our reality. I haven't read Twilight, but I don't think I'd be a fan of THOSE bad boys. I guess I like mine as Anne (from Green Gables) did...that they COULD be wicked, but chose not to. I don't like stalkers or creepers or guys who were written as if they are trying too hard to be bad. Bad boys are more swoonable though, but I keep looking for those dorky, good guys who will sweep me off my feet in fiction!

  8. Thanks! Hmm... it's interesting to see someone else who believes that we've somehow conditioned to like them - and it does hurt our reality. I have, but Edward is just ridiculously creepy. I don't understand how anyone could like him. YES. Everyone CAN be wicked, but it takes a truly strong person to decide not to be.

    Me either! I don't understand anyone who could pick to like the stalker mentality. It's just horrifying! Haha, I think that I like both. Which is simply terrible. ;)

  9. I'm like that, as I explained above. There comes a point when "bad" just becomes creepy or terrifying. I guess that's a good way to explain it. I don't want to be stuck feeling like that, and I'm sure that not anyone else wants that feeling either. Hahaha, well. ;D

    It definitely is! To be stuck with someone who's truly a bad person... that thought is a bad one.

  10. Thanks!
    I sort of differentiate - when it's obvious. But I see a lot of bad boys that ARE just jerks! And I don't care for that. ABSOLUTELY. He's so sweet - he just can't be a jerk, he's too wonderful. :) I swoon for him as well! But... you know my odd weakness for Patch already. WE'RE DEFINITELY being taught to be okay with jerkiness. Elsewise, why would there be so many douchebags around?Hahahah, well... I hear so much about how hot he is... I actually HAVE to read that one soon. ;)

    Yep... I think that's also part of it. We see possessiveness as a good trait becuase, like you said, on a primal level we want it. That you described is SO abusive, but I don't really think that's the kind we crave. We want a little bit animalistic - not a control freak. Hahaha, not necessarily. There are women everywhere that have all kinds of piercings... so I don't view a lot of them as manly. Just some.

    Haha, don't even worry about it. I enjoyed reading it! :)

  11. Thank you!
    Hmmm. That actually sounds like a fun presentation. :) That would be such a fun question... O.O

    Most definitely - there's always bad boys with hearts of gold. In The DUFF, Wesley may be a bad boy, but... he's so sweet. That's absolutely it - you said it perfectly! Glad to hear that I'm normal, LOL. ;)

  12. Hahahah, I most definitely know how you feel about Patch. ;D So you like redeemable bad boys, LOL.
    It's rare for me to not like the "bad boy" too. A lot of the times, if there's a geeky and a bad boy... I'll go for both of them. But it just depends, don't know? LOL.

  13. Yep. That's exactly what we want to do - and the problem is that brokenness makes us swoon. We want a mix of it all. ;)

  14. Thanks. I'm crazy about bad boys, so I've noticed the same thing. That seems like the way to go! Intelligent is nice. There's no reason that a nice, smart girl should go for a dumb guy... no matter how bad he is. :)

  15. I know right?:)Our literature teacher is great.She lets us talk about a lot of different things.

    Exactly.I mean take Isaiah.He's the perfect example for that:)

  16. Hee hee. :)

    He is the perfect example - I love Isaiah! :D

  17. I also think the term "bad boy" is wrong. Bad boy indicates someone who is... bad. Someone who does bad things, and is dangerous, and wrong for us, and stuff like that. The bad boy we think of when we say "Bad boy" is someone with an edge, someone who looks rough, someone rouge-ish. But the "bad boys" we fall for are actually good boys, who've either been misunderstood, or have very difficult circumstances that forces their hands, or use their "badness" as a shield, or soften up next to the ones they love, being "dangerous" only to those who wish to harm them.
    So technically, who we love are not really the bad boys ;P Thought there Are a few proper bad boys I love. Like, assassins and the likes lol

    God only knows why people love Patch. I mean it. He's ABUSIVE.

    We don't crave abusive love. I completely agree that we crave the animistic kind. Humans are animals, after all. Pact animals at that.

    But you'll agree with me that a man with piercing and tattoos looks manly? I also think there is a completely logical reason for that- "manly man" are strong, can endure pain, physical, etc. Tattoos, for examples, hurt when you make them. Having a lot of tattoos means the man in front of you have endured the pain - making him manly. And if there's a romantic reason behind the tattoo? We're goners.

    And once again, a wall of text. Oh well, you bring out the worst in me <3

  18. On some level it is - because we want a bad look, not a bad attitude. I think it's just the phrase that's been coined, no matter how inaccurate it is. Rogue-ish is a good way to describe it... I like that term. LOL. But everyone is different... I'm sure that some go for the literal "bad boy".

    I know that you feel that way, but I'm ridiculously nostalgic about him. You don't even know!

    To some post, yes.

    Tattoos, yes yes yes. But piercings are touchy for me, I mean I actually think that some of them (such as a septum, all I can think when I see that is "boogers") are super gross. Absolutely, I think that we definitely think that way... for one, I actually see all kinds of pics of guys with tattoos - and beards. And for me, there's an immediate "that's a manly guy" connected with tattoos and beards. I like facial scruff (and beards!), it's similar - not so much pain (I mean it's just hair) but the fact that men are the only ones who can successfully grow beards. There's something manly about a guy with a beard.

    It's okay, I like the you that I bring out. ;)

  19. (glad you like it girly! <3)
    Well, there are some characters, or rather professions that are literally bad but we love them, like Assassins. There are many books that feature assassins as the mc or the love interest. Technically speaking, those are real bad boys.
    I just hope you'll never be nostalgic toward that kind of character in your real life. If you ever get a boyfriend and I ask you which book character he's like (because, let's be honest, that's a very likely question lol) and you answer Patch, I'm hopping on a plane and flying to make an intervention.
    There's also a limit to tattoos. I will not be impressed with a "No Ragrets" tattoo lol
    And yeah, I'm actually not the biggest fan of piercings. I find a single earring is pretty hot and stuff like that, but too many of those (or nose, tongue and the likes) are just... yeah, no. And earrings like this ( are a HUGE no no.
    LOL I'm all for scruff, beards are a little less okay with me. But I get where you come from!

    Aww, thank you! that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me *sniff* (lol)

  20. Haha, technically speaking - assassins are badass. And yes, that does make them bad boys as well - I agree.

    OMG that would be too funny... and yes, that is definitely a valid question. Chances are, I would NOT answer that he was like Patch. In real life, I avoid guys like him, LOL.

    Pretty sure no one was impressed with that tattoo. :P

    UGH A GAUGE. GROSSSSSS. I'm not a fan of gauges - and did you know that people gauge their noses? I like some piercings (lip barbel, eyebrow ring, etc) but lots of them are gross to me.

    Hahaha, we don't share an obsession for facial hair then. I have actually asked to feel people's beards before - he let me. Can't say that it wasn't a weird thing, though. O.o