Bookish Ramblings · Discussions

Deconstructing Tropes – Plain Jane

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Hey Guys! Welcome once again to my little blog, thanks for stopping by and now sit back relax and hopefully enjoy your reading.. I was in the mood for ranting today (life sucks and we have to vent) but I didn’t want to be annoyingly whinny so I decided to pick one of my favorite topics to either praise or destroy (figuratively speaking of course). I’m talking about Tropes — We love them, we hate them but they are here to stay… A while back I did a post about Love Triangles (one of my most despised tropes out there) and I had this idea about a series of post about particular tropes and their hits or miss when it comes to us readers… So, Deconstructing Posts came about (perfect for my ranting mood) and the first Trope .. cough, cough, “victim” to grace us is —- Plain Jane.

This is a popular one among Romance books (That’s more my area of expertise) more so I think between historical, paranormal, and New Adult (college themed in particular). It has three “types”of plainess let’s called them that…

  • The Beauty disguised as Plain
  • The Midly Plain (basically just a little)
  • The Real Ugly Duckling

The Beauty disguised as Plain

I’m sure you guys are very familiar with this one, it’s quite popular not only in books but movies and TV shows… The Hot and attractive female who doesn’t know how beautiful she is .. because she just has bad taste in clothes or just loves to be comfortable  because let’s be honest Beauty can be a pain in the butt — anyway she has every male within a mile radius head over heels in love with her… She will continue to be our little plain Jane until — for whatever reason the magic makeover happens and she sees finally how pretty she really was…

I particularly dislike this Plain Jane type, (even if I do enjoy a good make over).I find it shallow and without character — it’s all for appearances sake and usually turns love into this magic potion of acceptance that just doesn’t work for me…

As with most things there are a few exceptions where I might enjoy this type of story … if maybe there’s a traumatic reason behind “the plainness” of the female character and eventually she actually has to deal with it in order to grow into herself…  Or it is portrait more on the comedic side of things… kind of making fun of itself.

The Mildly Plain

This girl (because let’s face it most will be female characters) is homely, unremarkable, just an average girl, maybe a little on the plus side… maybe a little nerdy, or shy because some scars or that type of thing… The love interest it’s  usually the popular (rock star, actor, vampire, CEO, athlete).. and they eventually start a relationship.

I confess that this is one trope that I do like because generally the character is clever, sassy and witty… and the appeal is actually the banter between her and the rest of the people in the book.. How she relates to everyone. She’s an average girl, just like anyone of us (insecure at times, but knows who she is despite it) and it is easy to like this type of character.

However it really bugs me when (this is going to be a little specific) The character turns into a whining machine (I’m not pretty enough.. good enough.. smart enough..blah, blah, blah). I get that you can feel insecure but everything has a limit. Or it is mentioned that the our little “jane” is on the plus side when the only thing she actually has are curves (this makes me so freaking mad–Being curvaceous is not being fat. And if you are going to write about someone who is overweight do it properly)

The Real Ugly Duckling

This type of “jane” is Ugly — plain and simple (no pun intended). Our character knows it and works with it.. It doesn’t feel as insecure and it doesn’t want to change.. I don’t have a lot of background for this, since I believe I’ve only read a couple of books with this kind of character as a main character.. But I find it quite interesting because it shows a strong character that accepts who she is, in spite what the world around her says..

Overall this is a trope that can be entertaining to read and it can have a positive message about self-appreciation and acceptance if it’s handled correctly.. (which sadly it’s not the norm). It can also be just fun to read about like the usual fluffy, mindless story.. It will depend on what we as readers are looking for …

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These are some of my favorites Plain Jane Books that fit into each of the categories I mentioned above, They are certainly not the only ones but the ones that have stuck with me… On a sidenote, I find hilarious how most covers for these books are abs galore… That’s how it is with romance… sadly..

What do you think about this trope?? Do you enjoy it or avoid it like the plague?? What are your favorite Plain Jane books??… And if you have a Trope you want to discuss just hit me with it in the comments below..

As Always

Happy Reading



3 thoughts on “Deconstructing Tropes – Plain Jane

  1. I agree, I like this trope if it’s written right! And actually, Lover Unbound is one of my faves. Kristen Ashley is also good about writing this trope…like in Sweet Dreams and Breathe. You might even argue that Ana from Fifty Shades could fall in this category!?!😋 Interesting post!😉

    Liked by 1 person

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