Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bad boys--we love them. Why?

Bad boys—we love them. Period.

I have a theory about women in general. We love men—a lot. So much that we are far more forgiving of them than we are of our own sex. How did I arrive at this conclusion? Am I just opinionated? Well, yes, actually I am. J HOWEVER, I do have some basis for forming that theory/opinion.

Have you ever noticed how much we love bad boys? We make allowances for them. We lust over them. Weave daydream and fantasies around them. So why is that a bad thing? Shrugs. Maybe it’s not—except that we, as a whole, do NOT love bad women. We don’t make any allowances or excuses for them. Them we kick to the curb and dismiss.

I first noticed this after I created a bad boy vamp and a bad girl vamp. Now that bad boy vamp was very bad. He had a hot temper and a rep for being mean and vicious to women in general. He’d met very few women he didn’t feel the need to trample. Talk about rough loving. That’s what Vladimir Madison, my bad boy vamp from my Bloodlust series was sure to give any woman he met. I created him expecting to kill him off after he’d served his purpose at the end of a book or two.

To my surprise, readers rallied around him. They wanted to hug and cuddle him. Make excuses for his behavior…forgive him. He was just misunderstood and needed the love and understanding of a good woman…or man. J

Contrast that with how my bad girl vamp, Doctra, or D-girl as my not so lovingly call her. She’d been hurt in love—badly. Had her heart and hopes for a happily ever after with her bloodlust, Mikhel destroyed. To my vamps bloodlust is a far more powerful force than love. To fool with a vampire’s bloodlust hopes is to invite death and send them on an endless and vicious quest for vengeance.

D-girl took measures to reclaim what was hers. She set out to reclaim Mikhel and like Vladimir, she didn’t particularly care how she accomplished her goal or who got hurt or even killed in the process.

Now most of us know how painful lost love can be. How did readers react to D-girl whose hopes and goals for a happily ever after with her bloodlust were so expectedly destroyed? Did they embrace or cuddle her? Say she was misunderstood? Make allowances and excuses for her? Absolutely not. Although she had a few hearty readers that defended her, the overwhelming majority HATED her.

My bloodlust series has a number of elements which make it controversial to some readers. Readers have had so very heated debates about these characters. They have very strong opinions about their favorite or least favorite characters from the series. Some absolutely adore the series and can’t wait for the next book. Others hate it and write to tell me I’ve destroyed their lives. In addition to the differences in how readers treat/receive Vladimir and D-girl, there’s also the way they react to a triangular relationship between Mikhel and the two women in his life, Erica and Derri that’s resulted in my opinion about women and bad boys/girls.

Although Mikhel and Derri both have much stronger feelings for each other than they should (given that they both have other mates), only Derri is vilified. She’s a greedy, selfish home wrecker who wants it all—at Erica’s expense. How do readers react to Mikhel? He’s forgiven and given a walk. Nothing bad is said about him.

Those are only two examples of the difference in how women respond to bad boys and bad girls. The boys we forgive. The women we are not inclined to forgive—regardless of their reason for being bad.

Is my opinion fair? I think so. If you don’t agree, post and tell me why. Or if you just want to tell me my we’re so fond of bad boys and so unforgiving of bad girls, do that too. Let’s make a contest of it. I’ll choose a reader from the comments to win a copy of Destiny’s Slaves, which includes the Bloodlust—Conquering Mikhel Dumont and The Talisman. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

In the meantime, have a great weekend.



Phyllis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shara Azod said...

I think a large part of it is social conditioning. From classic novels (think The Scarlet Letter) to classic movies (James Dean vs. Scarlett O'Hara) we have been socially conditioned to love the bad boy, who can be reformed by a good girl and hate the bad girl who has no redeeming qualities. It is even in some religions were a "good woman" can marry a "unsaved/unrepentant man" but a good man can not marry a "bad man." Of course there are always exceptions, but in general, most cultures celebrate the bad boys and condemns bad girls. I frankly feel it may be because bad girls are often strong women who know what they want and will go after it. That frightens men. They have no defense.

Anonymous said...

most cultures celebrate the bad boys and condemns bad girls

You find the same double standard everywhere. In the corporate world, ambitious men who stop at nothing to get ahead are considered go-getters, while women who do the same are labeled as ballbusters.

I wear the ballbuster label with pride. Then the guys who report to me meet me in person and say, "Oh, you're not that scary! You so little and cute."

Yup, that really did happen to me. On several occasions.

Marilyn Lee said...

Hi Shara

Maybe you're right about bad girls just being strong women who go after what they want. Of course that just starts me on another rant--about men who sleep around being called lovers while women who do the same are tramps and hos and whatever other nasty term society can come up with.

Marilyn Lee said...

LOL! A little, cute, ballbuster, huh?

Way to go, Ann.

Phyllis said...

Sorry, I removed my first comment because I can't spell. lol

I LOVE bad boys because I'm a bad girl inside but pretend to be a good girl. Call me what you want but I have fun. Yes, I'm a Babe In Total Control of Herself (BITCH) and I do scare men because I ask nothing of no one. I agree with Ann. I am a STRONG WOMAN and most men cannot handle my type.

I HATE that men get ahead (promotions) because they are "strong" but a strong woman usually has to "sleep around" to get to the top. Yeah, there is a double standard and it sucks.

Jane said...

I don't know if we can help liking bad boys. I think that's part of who we are as women.

My favorite bad boy is Keith H. Cobb. I hate that he cut off his locks, but he's still hunky and SEXY.

Marilyn Lee said...

Babe in total control of herself? I like it. And I can't see any reason why women can't be just as "bad" as men are.

Marilyn Lee said...

Keith Hamilton Cobb. Oh, Jane. You know how I lust after that man. He's an excellent choice for favorite bad boy.

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caffey said...

Hi Marilyn and all!
When I think of bad boy, I too think of the male dominance in the story. I love reading bad boys, especially in the vamps, as well as historicals (with the rakes, rogues, etc). I don't think I have a preference over them than beta, but there are more alpha men in the books than not. But too I'm starting to see 'bad girls' in stories too now. More of those that more equal too with an alpha boy in the story as well. I know I see that with alot of Urban Fantasy themes now. I haven't read much tho in vampire stories with a female being the lead in to the series, that I remember. Watch I'll go back to or check some of my EC books and find it. I don't think for me, a bad boy or dominance male in the story makes the woman weak. I know I have a strong hubby but there's always that tender side in them too when it comes to their woman. Same as in many stories. I think its part that male have been known to be that way but now I don't think it lessens the woman, they can too. Gosh I want to now go find all my EC books and read tonight!

Marilyn Lee said...

Hi Caffey

I think a hero in a book can be strong and forceful without being a bad boy.

I like a forceful hero, but when a romance novel pits a bad boy against a good one, I always wonder why the heroine can go for the good boy instead of the bad boy.

Having said that when I first saw Star Wars with the two heroes (bad boy Hans and good boy Luke), I immediately thought there's no way the Princess would choose Luke over Hans. But I think that was more because I viewed Luke as a boy while I thought of Han as a man.

Denise A. Agnew said...

Hi Marilyn!

I have to agree that we tend to like bad boys more than bad girls. I've got several theories about that. Shara mentioned social conditioning. I do think that has something to do with it. Bad girls are often seen as competition...even if the good girls don't want to admit it. We don't want the bad girls to get the guy we want, even if that guy isn't so great. I also believe it is somewhat biological. Women, biologically, don't just pick tall, strong looking men because they look good. In cave man days that was a sign of a strong provider. Someone who could keep us safe. Regardless of times changing drastically, there is still something inside us that often responds to that on a very primal level...whether we want to or not. Though I will forgive the bad boys in some books if I feel there really is something in there to redeam them, I will also forgive the bad girls if I think they can be redeamed. Call me weird. :) In real life we know that many bad boys can't be redeamed and getting involved with them is bad news. I'm not just talking about alpha males because not all alpha males are bad boys. I also tend to think that strong women don't have to be "bitches" to get ahead necessarily any more than men have to be jerks to get ahead. :) Again, it all depends on what a person has been socialized into believing. But people can always think their way out of that box if they make the effort. I've known quite a few women who didn't have to sleep around to get ahead. ;) There is also something else I believe. If you are a negative, nasty person regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, that trait is eventually going to be your downfall. Eventually everyone who stomps on other people to get to the top has a very nasty, hard fall. But I digress. LOL! A really good topic Marilyn. :)

Denise A. Agnew

J.C. Wilder said...

Bring on the BAD BOYS!!

cinquetta said...

For me I like my hero with alpha male personality with touch of bad boy persona. For my heroine I want her to be strong and loving. I don't mind her having bad girl attitude that means she protect herself and allow no one walk over good nature. I rarely read story that have dominance woman as main character. Those story don't interest me unless its author I like. I would read it.
Women are rear to be the givers, to nuture, to show passion and to give love. We, women, judge other women on own standards and sterotypes. When a woman voice her opinions and take no one shit. She's bitch.

Marilyn Lee said...

Primal urges, huh, Denise? You're probably right about that. And I agree about your comment about nasty folk.


Marilyn Lee said...

Hmmm. J C likes the bad boys. :-)

J.C. Wilder said...

Mmm, Marilyn - I LUV the Bad Boys. :)

Tamara said...

Maybe it's because we see ourselves in the women and the things we won't forgive them for doing is what we don't expect to be forgiven if we did it.

Either that or we expect men to do bad things and think of women as being more evolved and therefore we should know better than to do bad things.

It's the whole sugar and spice deal where women are supposed to be nice ands men aren't and therefore a womean who has done wrong has fallen farther than a man who has done the same thing.

Marilyn Lee said...

Hi Cinquetta


I'm personally a firm believer in as much equality between the sexes as possible.

I can't see any reason why women shouldn't be as bad as any man without being called the B word.

But I guess we're not there yet.

Marilyn Lee said...

Hi Tamara

Sugar and spice thingy, huh? I guess so, but I live in hope of the day women get to be just as bad as men. ;-)

Carolan Ivey said...

[[Hmmm. J C likes the bad boys. :-)]]

Oh, like THAT'S breaking news... [wink]

ArkieRN said...

The double standard is alive and well. Why men are labeled "moody" and women are "bitches" for the same behavior is beyond me. Unfortunately, I don't see it changing anytime soon.

Booksrforever123 said...

I think women always see other women as competition even when there isn't any. We don't like the bad girl because she makes all of us look bad, or us not bad girls look wimpy. We accept the bad boy because every woman wants to be able to crow that she changed him into the loving man that she made him.