5 Character Stereotypes: Revamped


Stereotype (n): a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

Most of the time stereotyped characters make me want to go again? every time I read about them. I mean, I don’t have anything against stereotypes in particular since a lot of them do happen in real life… but do they always? So today, I’m going to share with you the ways these stereotypes can be switched up into something better, and/or more realistic!

1. The Tomboy Who’s “One of the Guys”


THE STEREOTYPE: Books and movies portray tomboys (girls who act a lot like guys) as “one of the guys,” or always hangs out with guys and is considered to be part of their “manly group.”

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: This stereotype does make sense, but how about tomboys who still hangout with girls? Or tomboys who hang out with a mix of both?

REVAMPED: Can we please have a tomboy who’s one of the girls?

2. The Wise Old Man/Woman


THE STEREOTYPE: In books and movies, almost all old people are portrayed as wise, and often give advice to our young heroes and heroines.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Okay, yeah, wise people have more experience and knowledge, but do they all? How about those that grew up alone, or maybe with no education?

REVAMPED: Let’s have an old guy who actually is pretty clueless and even puts the main characters in danger.

3. The Antisocial Nerd/Geek/Dweeb


THE STEREOTYPE: First off all, it fucking pisses me off that smart people are instantly labeled “nerds.” Even the dictionary describes nerds as: a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: And I’m just like… what?! I don’t know about other schools, but in ours, super geniuses are greatly admired and mostly have a ton of friends. Or if they don’t, they want to, but other people are intimidated by them. So it’s not really the person himself who’s antisocial.

REVAMPED: Hit us up with a nerd who loves to drink and go to parties. Or a geek who’s even more popular than the basketball team’s star player. Or a geek who is the basketball team’s star player.

4. The Gentlemanly/Prim and Proper Thief/Con Artist


THE STEREOTYPE: Apparently all thieves are super stealthy to the point that they’re all gentlemen, or are extremely well-groomed all the time and are really classy in their craft–and even outside of it.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: So thieves in our country are definitely not gentlemanly.

REVAMPED: Bring forth a thief or con artist who is clumsy, messy, and actually leaves evidence to be caught.

5. The Byronic Hero


THE STEREOTYPE: This happens so often in contemporary romances, be it YA, NA or adult. We usually have a guy who thinks he’s up on a fucking pedestal and belittles everyone, broods for 3/4 of the book because of some pretty deep shit, and yet everyone in the book seems to think he’s sexy.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: For me, a sweet and charming guy is totally way sexier.

REVAMPED: Give us an arrogant guy that no one actually likes and doesn’t have ginormous family problems to brood about–some people just brood for no reason, you know?


YOUR TURN! Tell me: Which stereotypes annoy you the most, and how would you change them?


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Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.

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  1. says

    I *love* this post Aimee, I wish an author would take your advice and spice up our reading life with a bit of twist as you have suggested.

    Nerds are pretty cool and appreciated people around these parts – I make friends by mentioning I like GoT and collect Funko Pop figures, you are absolutely right that we should be portrayed as the life of the party! hehe.

    If you are after a slightly different take on the Byronic Hero, I would rec The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan – she has a brooding, tall, dark, handsome as her main character – he’s a bit twisted and we see things through his eyes: shows us that these character types aren’t actually as attractive when you get into their head (though he ended up being a bit swoonworthy anyway, drats).

    Basically, love the post <3 <3
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  2. says

    I have so much love for this post I don’t even know where to start. So I have to start at number 5 because this one irritates me most of all. Why does ANYONE like that guy, let alone EVERYONE!? NO! We do need everyone to hate the brooder. Especially because in my experience, the brooder is usually mad about stupid shit and NOT actual real problems.

    The tomboy “one of the guys” makes me mad too. Just because a girl isn’t into frilly stuff doesn’t mean she can’t have female friends! AND male friends- ALL THE FRIENDS. Gr.

    Also, one day, I am going to write a book about a really stupid old person and dedicate it to you, Aimee. Because that is the funniest thing ever, and I need it to be a thing! OH and nerds absolutely party. Look at all the “band camp” rumors ;)
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  3. says

    Yes to all of these five stereotypes!! I am over them so, so much! I’m sooooo over the “gorgeous girl means bitchy girl”. Can’t we have a beautiful, yet sweet, gentle girl? Or not-so-pretty, bitchy girl? Also, I so want to not have to read about a character that absolutely must be smart just because they’re wearing glasses. Or that they’re nerds because they wear glasses.
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  4. says

    Smart students in my high school years are really popular, like everyone knows them. I totally agree with the last one and I read about those guys most in NA. They always have a very dark then suddenly when this girl came to their lives everything was solved. Urgghh nope. Fantastic post Aimee!
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  5. says

    I would LOVE to see the tomboy trope explored more as a figure among girls, not just the type of character who has ONLY guy friends. I’d also really enjoy seeing the popular geek since I went to the type of high school where the geeks WERE the popular ones. I happen to love the calm, cool, sophisticated thief trope (I know, I know!) so that one is a weakness of mine but I can do away entirely with the wise old man/woman and the arrogant asshole. Great list, dear–I really enjoyed this post!
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehMy Profile

  6. says

    -snort- There are lots of thieves who are gentlemanly – they’re called politicians. ;) The virgin is my peeve stereotype. The girl is this blushing virgin who gets mush brain around the hot guy. It’s freaking annoying. Hell, the stereotype of women and sexuality in general. They’re often inexperienced, have had only 1-2 partners, … oh but, all of a sudden they’re a porn star in bed after the hero gives her a mind blowing orgasm. Or … it’s made a point to acknowledge that she hasn’t been with a man in months or years. WTF ever.
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  7. says

    Hahah I absolutely hate the brooding love interest. I also don’t really find that sexy or attractive or just appealing at all! But hmm, my brain’s creative juices have run out, so I don’t have anything to add hahah! BUT AWESOME POST AIMEE
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  8. says

    wheee you’re so right about the antisocial nerds! It’s almost the same in my school. Smart people are really appreciated in my school as long as they don’t look down on people and act all high and mighty because of their intelligence. In my old class, there were smart girls who are both fashionable and have an active social life. And the captain of our basketball team is actually very good at math and does counting REALLY quick :D
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  9. says

    NERDS FOR THE WIN. The stereotype that annoys me the most is The Main Character’s Best Friend. This happens a lot especially in NA where the best friend is portrayed so poorly as if he/she was just a small, unnecessary detail in a story. I want to them to have more depth and a bigger role in the protagonist’s development.
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  10. says

    What a great post Aimee! For the tomboy stereotype, I think Kasie West’s On the Fence does a decent job of being different about it — the MC does have female friends and does hang out with the guys as well.

    I have another stereotype to revamp! Lately I’ve noticed there seems to be such a trend in YA Fantasy to have a young heroine fall in love with a completely older guy. You know, like a wizard who is hundreds of years old, but looks young (think Uprooted, but there are many more). I must admit that it didn’t bother me until someone else pointed it out to me, because usually the romance is pretty good. What I’m saying is, why don’t we ever see the reverse? A hero falls in love with a woman hundreds of years old who looks young? Waiting for the writer who will come along and make this sexy.
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  11. says

    Ohmygosh, these are so on point! Though for the old people, I feel like they’re naturally wise (in certain scenarios) because they’ve gone through a lot of experiences, despite the lack of education and such. But I’ve read a couple of books that go agains the “sweet old grandpa” stereotype and featured the exact opposite (grumpy, sick and gives zero fucks). They can be infuriating to read about but it’s real and I love it!

    And oh, my stereotype pet peeve would be the special snowflake kind of heroine/hero (woe is me) and feels as if everything is sooo against them and it’s like a me against the world kind of scenario, like ugh. And don’t get me started on the blushing virgin stereotype because, for real, is anyone really that naive and clueless to this age? SMH.

    Love this post so much, Aimee! :D
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  12. says

    *whispers* I am pleased to inform you (2) actually exists. In Romeo and Juliet. I’m not even kidding, the Friar is a complete idiot. And oh yeah, smart people in my school are really respected too. I think the real reason geniuses are antisocial in books is that all characters need to have flaws and everyone just slides into this trope so easily. I’m currently trying to write a Bryonic Hero of sorts in my WIP that actually gets called out for his arrogance and general brattiness, and removing the “Hero” bit as much as possible.
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