K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick! (bop_radar) wrote,
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!
bop_radar

Self-reflection and poll on archetypes

I'm in a chatty mood but have nothing to chat about! This NEVER happens to me. How very strange! Consequently, I'm overcompensating by drawing together various ideas that have been swimming around in my head recently.

I've been thinking a lot about archetypes recently and why we're drawn to certain characters or pairings. I'm sure most people have particular archetypes or relationship dynamics that they're continually intrigued by, but in fandom we spend more time than most analysing them and obsessing over them. I know for me this has meant that on several occasions I've had 'epiphany-like' moments where I realised what my interest revealed about my own personality or life. Am I alone?

The counterargument would say that fiction and reality are completely separate and what we find amusing for entertainment purposes has no connection to our own psychology or life circumstances. Maybe that's so.


This poll is rather vague, I know, but please feel free to share your more detailed thoughts and/or anecdotes in the comments if you feel so inclined. I have other thoughts kicking around too--like have you ever started liking a character you previously disliked when some new attribute was revealed to you? (an example for me would be River from Firefly who I found annoying as all get out until I saw Serenity ;)) Do you have characters you invariably dislike/find hard to relate to? What do those things say about you?

Personally I'm always interested by what my likes/dislikes reveal about me, though I can't say that the revelations have always been very comfortable. :-) I'm also pretty open about confessing these reasons once I know, but I wonder whether other people are more uncomfortable with doing so?

In the shows I write serious meta for (Smallville, BSG, FNL), I strive to think about each character 'fairly', while also admitting my own preferences. (I'm a bit more flippant with Heroes--everyone's fair game there, as far as I'm concerned!) But of course my views are still highly subjective and I often look to others in fandom to 'balance' my opinion: I always run to the Kara fans after a BSG episode; I learnt to appreciate Lana thanks to some very patient and well-argued responses; only last week toadstoolsmiles gave me a new perspective on Matt from Heroes, etc.

But despite all that, there are still always going to be characters I identify with more than others. And sometimes I do get self-conscious about that. Sometimes I worry that if (for example) I admit I like Lois because she's like me in being a bit socially clueless and awkward and overcompensating for that, then it will diminsh my opinion about her in the eyes of others. Or is that a good thing? Does that give me more insight into her character? And is there such a thing as overidentifying? Where/how do you draw the line?

Anyway, poll:

Are there certain character types you are drawn to on a repeated basis (e.g. the hero, the loyal friend, the villain)?

Yes, I'm aware that I'm drawn to certain archetypes.
136(73.9%)
I haven't really thought about it, but I think so.
23(12.5%)
No, I like all sorts of different characters depending on the individual show/actor/context, etc.
25(13.6%)

Which of the following statements do you agree with? (You can choose more than one.)

I'm drawn to characters who are like me (even if they're exaggerated/idealised versions).
5(2.7%)
I'm drawn to characters who are very unlike me.
8(4.4%)
My character archetype is similar to me in some ways but unlike me in others, but it does reflect my values.
17(9.3%)
I've thought about why I like certain characters and what that reveals about my psychology.
14(7.7%)
I'd rather not think about it, thanks!
2(1.1%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments.
2(1.1%)

Are there certain relationship dynamics (e.g. in your OTPs) that you're drawn to repeatedly (e.g. best friends, unrequited love, enemies)?

Yes, I'm aware that I'm drawn to certain relationship dynamics.
138(75.4%)
I haven't really thought about it, but it sounds likely.
13(7.1%)
No, it depends on the context--I like all sorts of different relationship dynamics.
32(17.5%)

Which of the following statements do you agree with? (You can choose more than one.)

The relationships I'm drawn to have similar dynamics to my relationships in real life.
3(1.6%)
Hahaha--you've got to be joking, there is no resemblance at all!
18(9.8%)
The pairings I'm drawn to do reflect my interests/values in some way, but there's no direct resemblance to my real-life relationships.
38(20.8%)
I've thought about why I like certain relationship dynamics and how this relates to my own psychology.
17(9.3%)
I'd rather not think about it, thanks!
4(2.2%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments.
2(1.1%)

Do you distinguish between characters you 'fangirl/fanboy' and characters you identify with?

Yes, of course!
123(67.6%)
No, not really.
59(32.4%)

Which of the following things make you more likely to identify with a character?

A certain family background/dynamic
3(1.7%)
Similar likes and dislikes to me
0(0.0%)
Looks: they're my 'type' (Note: not that they look like you, but that they're a standard type you often like--e.g. short people)
1(0.6%)
A certain personality trait (e.g. shy)
16(8.9%)
Similar behaviour patterns/psychology to me
15(8.3%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments
4(2.2%)

Do you think it's interesting/worthwile thinking about the patterns in who you're attracted to?

No, it's a waste of time.
1(0.5%)
It's sort of interesting but I don't think it says anything very profound.
38(20.9%)
Yes, it's something I like to think about/discuss.
95(52.2%)
Yes, but sometimes I don't want to know. :-)
20(11.0%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments
1(0.5%)

Has a fannish discussion ever prompted a revelation about yourself/your own life?

Yes (and the discussion was about a character I like).
58(31.5%)
Yes (and the discussion was about a relationship I like).
22(12.0%)
Yes, but the discussion wasn't to do with a character or relationship in particular.
26(14.1%)
Not sure.
60(32.6%)
No, never.
18(9.8%)

If you answered yes, did you see this revelation as:

positive?
47(40.2%)
negative?
5(4.3%)
neither positive nor negative--just incidental?
65(55.6%)

In general, do you think that character/relationship archetypes reveal things about the people who like them?

Yes, especially when someone's really passionately attached to a character or pairing.
23(12.5%)
Yes, but I can't always tell what.
34(18.5%)
Yes, but not in a really signifcant way.
8(4.3%)
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
49(26.6%)
No, I think that's crazytalk.
0(0.0%)
Maybe but I don't see the point in overthinking such things.
8(4.3%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments.
2(1.1%)
Tags: fandom_meta
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