I think a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this one, and that’s fine. I don’t mind, in fact, I’d love to hear from you. However, in my view, fantasy romance stories are incredibly one-sided. What do I mean by that? Well simply that in romantic stories that involve a human and either supernatural elements or fantastic creatures (Elves, Dwarves, Fae, Warlocks, Witches, Wizards, etc.), the human is almost always female.
I could list off an example, but instead, I’d say, just go to Goodreads and run a search for fantasy romance and see what comes up.
It’s usually a very typical scenario:
Human/Part Human female works in a field that exposes her to the supernatural. That person becomes aware of another world or the existence of fantasy creatures, at which point, she meets up with one who becomes her guide to the world. The two become enthralled with each other while the plot unfolds.
So why is that? Why is it that most of those romances place the female in the role of the human and/or the character that we’re supposed to relate to? There could be a few reasons for this… let’s look into them a little bit. Keep in mind, I’m not suggesting that there is some conspiracy among fantasy authors, or that the system is sexist, or any sort of wild tin-foil theories. I think it’s simply a product of circumstance. However, the fact remains… if you’re looking for a story where your main human character is male and the elf/fae/etc. is female… outside of Lord of the Rings and one or two other titles, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find anything.
I think the biggest reason is the author. Yes, let’s just get this out of the way. When it comes to fantasy, a lot of people see themselves in the main character. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just what typically happens. I’ve done this, and I’m sure plenty others have as well… this is often the source of some interesting fanfics and ships from established titles. However, that’s a conversation for another day. So given that, it makes sense that the gender of the author would play into what character takes on what role. Given that the majority of fantasy writers in areas of romance are female… the overwhelming majority of stories like this are going to feature a human or part-human female protagonist.
Other reasons could also be the dynamic of the relationship between the characters, the atmosphere, and scenario, but that seems to be the biggest thing.
So what do you think? Could there be other reasons? Let me know in the comments, and let me know if you’ve seen/read stories that break this chain.
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