Culture and Entertainment

The Rake gets the Virgin and the Harpy gets the Angel Boy

“You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”

I LOVE the film Catching Fire, and I always think Peeta is an angel. But thinking that and with all the Georgette Heyer books in my mind . . .

Georgette Heyer novels represent an/the old type of common thinking, the men do what they want and get the best girl and act all self-righteous if she is even slightly less than perfect even though they are horrid. This led to why rake, libertine, playboy, etc. not having the same connotation as whore even though they are literally the male/female correspondents (like Fez calling Kelso a whore when calling him out on his double-standards, it felt more “right” because he was, rather than cheering him on as a player, you know?). I mean to get the same connotation you have to say man-whore, um, I don’t think this circular, I think it started with the men!

This started when most stories were written by men and later some women (ahem, Heyer) who liked the save-the-bad boy trope. Also, don’t blame this all on the patriarchy, tons of women upheld (and uphold) this in fact and fiction, glorifying the bad boy. The stories might be dying out or at least certain aspects, but the reality doesn’t feel like it is (although, perhaps the mores were never quite as extreme as fiction seems to imply?).

Naturally that perspective makes my blood boil. Guess what, “feminism” didn’t fix it; we know have other problems including the exact opposite (although not sexual mores this time, but more in overall character). We have an overarching storyline (watching Hunger Games, Hallmark, and listening to women at work) where the woman can be as shrewish, manipulative, and hateful as possible and blame all men for everything without at all examining themselves. And not merely not understanding equivalency (you are both awful) or even normalcy (he’s the average to your awful, so normal is better than you), but expecting an angel boy.

Yes, it can happen, but that doesn’t mean it should, you shouldn’t get a good boy, the good girl should get the good boy. The bad man shouldn’t expect a angelic princess. The good people should expect the other good people. Why is this so hard to grasp? I know everyone is some extent blind to themselves, but to be so blind?!!!! To hear most people talk about relationships, you’d think he/she is the saintliest of people who always so incomprehensibly ends up with the devil. Did you ever perhaps wonder just once if you just might possibly have contributed one smidge to the problem?!

Here are the actual possibilities for a relationship. For simplicity’s sake I’ll assume three states of being although in reality they represent the absolute ends and middle of the spectrum of humanity.

  1. Good
  2. Average
  3. Toxic

Person A is good and  Person B is good
Person A is good and Person B is average
Person A is good and Person B is toxic
Person A is average and Person B is good
Person A is average and Person B is average
Person A is average and Person B is toxic
Person A is toxic and Person B is good
Person A is toxic and Person B is average
Person A is toxic and Person B is toxic

Even in this highly simplified situation, there are very few saints and demon matches, and since most people are someone in the middle in the average realm, the likelihood that one is of average decency dating someone of average decency is quite high. If you aren’t an angel, why is your significant other supposed to be? If you want an angel, try being one.

The long version of one reason why I’m single, I’ve not achieved angelic status. Or is it I’ve not even achieved average goodness ?!



  • Catherine

    I actually really like Katniss – and I think Peeta balances her out. She’s got her flaws but she’s brave and decent – if she was written as a male character would you see her in the same light? I think shrewish is kind of a sexist term, to be honest – just because you’re not a perfect feminine angel doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But otherwise I get your point, I don’t think ‘opposites attract’ translates that well into real life!

    • Livia Rose

      I think perhaps putting Gale as the male version of Katniss, then they are both awful? It is hard to know, I don’t know how an exact male equivalent of her would look, I mean I think that equivalent translated into a guy might come across as a bit patriarchal even. I think a lot of my problem is the first person narration, you can see everyone’s faults so much stronger and I hear her praise when she is just being selfish or self-centered, I totally get where she is coming from, I’m that way (and I may write this post, but it is a clannishness typical of the area), but I also know it is not a virtue. I like Katniss in the movies better, especially Catching Fire, that film is my favorite of the entire book/movie franchise.

      I don’t see shrewish as sexist in itself (not for example in the same way whore and equivalent words are, when there is no truly negative version for a guy, when the most accurate term in that situation for is to use that term on a male) although it can be used in a sexist way for example as an ad hominem attack to dismiss an argument or to dismiss legitimate emotions.

  • Catherine

    I like Gale, haha, but I know what you mean, when you’re in a character’s head sometimes it’s harder to like them, even if you understand them better. You wouldn’t call a guy shrewish though, and I can’t think what the equivalent would be. Catching Fire’s my favourite too, especially the first half! They do all the rising tensions so well.

    • Livia Rose

      I sort of liked Gale at first, but there seems to be a trope with love triangles that one can’t choose between two good guys (which boils down to one can’t choose really), one guy must be made, so I think Gale got written worse and worse.

      I think some faults can tend to be masculine and feminine at times, and a guy bearing the same traits as a woman described as a shrew that would be a bully or jack***. The power differential is just not the same.

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