One after the other, every day she picked up a new novel.
She kept flipping through the pages, but never completed them. Just half way through the book she appeared frustrated and irritated and so she tossed them back. Was she that quick? How could someone read almost 200-350 pages of a book in a span of 3 hours, until it’s your exam the next day.
But what was prominent in her selections was her choice of genre, ‘romantic’ always! She seemed like a die-hard romantic teenager.
Curiosity got better of me and so I finally asked. After all I had been observing this mundane yet baffling routine from past 16 days now, ‘Hi dear, are you searching for something specific in romantic novels?’
‘Oh, yes.. something I haven’t found yet.’
‘Would you mind telling me, what exactly are you searching for? I might be of help. Is it a story, a poem, a quote or a character that’s intriguing you?’
‘Description! It’s a description of female protagonist, that I am looking for.’
‘Ohh, must be special! Is it from one of the classics?’
‘Nop! Just usual.
“One, where the girl is neither fair nor very dusky, she can have a wheatish complexion. She shouldn’t be very tall, slender or slim. She might have an average height of 5-5’4, a body which isn’t 36-24-36? She might be athletic, plump, thin, healthy or even out of shape. Where she doesn’t have long flowing hair, but may be a little frizzy, unmanageable would do. Or better, we can even skip the tresses altogether, yeah they can be just usual? Where her eyes aren’t golden brown almond-shaped or grey but just beautiful in black? One where her smile is just pretty may be, and not mesmerizing.. and she manages to go to school, college or office without being stalked or people drooling over her. Like she could be heading anywhere and not be the center of attraction always? Where the girl isn’t going through extreme family issues or sickness? Where she is neither filthy rich nor poor?
I am looking for just one description which is usual, normal…you know just like me? You have seen me right? Am I not charming? I have gone through almost 30 novels and yet not even a single girl is described like me or my friends in school. Will an author never be inspired of me? Can I not be a protagonist of anyone’s story?”
I have been a librarian for almost 40 years now, and yet I couldn’t come up with even a single book title instantly.
Are novels really all about just fiction?
They say books and movies are a mirror of our society.
From fairy tales to science fiction to comic book heroes, storytelling in all forms captures the imaginations and emotions of readers. It can also engage people’s minds and enlighten them to social concerns in a way that reality often can’t. Cultural values, societal fears, plays, poems, character descriptions and current events are all a way of connecting people to real life happenings, right or wrongs, whats ought to be done, how it is to be done, certain standards. Arts & Literature play a major role in the development of society. It has shaped civilizations, changed political systems and exposed injustice.
Are the romantic novel and movies delivering their content rightly? Is that the real girl being portrayed? I feel these descriptions are too stereotypical and cliché now, they take you away from the real world out there, which leads to unrealistic expectations and undue pressure among the readers and movie goers. It not only leads to dissatisfaction and low confidence among the people but also leads to body image issues, which is taking the world by a storm these days. People are resorting to surgeries, pills, cosmetics to get those desired jolly looks, in fact suicides in such cases aren’t rare these days.
I would just end by saying, do not stereotype. Everyone has different features and body. You might not be the diva but you certainly can never be ugly. It’s the way you carry yourself which makes you beautiful, pretty hot or sexy.
And authors out there, please hear the cry before it gets too late. Break the stereotypical description.