Every Woman Loves a Bad Boy
With their questionable motives, crude humor and traumatic pasts, anti-heroes aren’t just hotter than heroes, they’re more relatable than them.
By Jessinta Smith, Suffolk County Community College
Do you ever find yourself reading a book with amazing characters, watching an awesome movie or even just getting way too interested in a comic, when slowly but surely you realize that you are developing feelings for one of the characters?
Soon, you’re crying over their heartaches and hoping for them to have good lives, and while at first you assume that your affections are just the product of great writing (which they are), as time goes on you realize it’s more than that. It’s happening. You are slowly crushing on a fictional character.
You’re realizing that they have character traits that you enjoy, and that they are probably your dream person. And, while it is totally normal to crush on a fictional character (as long as you know that they are fictional), it can sometimes be a little odd when your longing isn’t for the good guy in the story.
I’ve found over the years that I tend to crush not on the protagonists or good guys in the story, but on the anti-heroes and villains. I wasn’t into Batman; I liked the Joker. I didn’t like Harry or Ron; I liked Sirius. I liked the slightly dirty, gross, vulgar and often insane characters. I still do, and lately a very specific one has been on my mind.
I’m talking about Deadpool. If you aren’t a massive nerd or have somehow avoided the amazing, beautiful, very pg-13 adverts, I will now educate you. Deadpool is an anti-hero with the capability of breaking the fourth wall, who is *hella* sassy and funny.
He has a movie out now (which I HAVE NOT seen, but plan to), and did I mention his great booty? He has an amazing booty. But, back on topic.
Deadpool is my man-crush-everyday. I developed these weird feelings on his comic book character when I was sixteen, and I’ve been in-love with the sassy, overly confident anti-hero ever since. And while Deadpool has been the object of my affection most recently, I’ve learned that my tendency in general is to crush on anti-heroes/villains, not the good guys.
I find that I like the character who is more complex than the “I do this because it’s right” hero, because I like multi-faceted, complex characters. Their depth of personality—especially compared to beige do-gooders—is why I find anti-hero characters much more attractive than traditional heroes, and probably why you do too.
Anti-heroes are still heroes, but they eschew the idea that heroes need some righteous moral code that has to be upheld. They like to fight crime because it’s a fun way to kill time, or at least I think it is, I’ve personally never fought any crime.
Due to their lack of moral rectitude, anti-heroes have a tendency to be more relatable than heroes. They have more issues than heroes do, and they don’t just say okay and fight the bad guy. They question the bad guy, ask about his life, antagonize him and debate whether the fight really should happen. They tend to be more complex, which allows their storyline to be more three-dimensional.
As more nuanced characters, anti-heroes become more relatable than the flat, mundane hero. They have more issues and questions, and fewer pure actions. You get a glimpse into their thoughts and emotions, and are able to see why they end up choosing exactly what they want to do.
Anti-heroes can have moral failures and hypocritical beliefs, whereas traditional heroes tend to know what’s right and do it immediately. Because they are so strong in their moral beliefs, traditional heroes can be harder to relate to, and people enjoy characters they can understand.
Ultimately the anti-hero is more of a person, while the traditional hero is just that—a hero.
Plus, anti-heroes are really funny. The amazing thing about Deadpool, the thing that really sets him apart, is that he often breaks the fourth wall. As you can see in the trailer and the comics, Deadpool addresses the viewer and speaks to them directly. This technique allows for a new type of comedy, one in which the character can address what he/she is doing and poke fun at it him/herself.
Anti-heroes can also make crude jokes that traditional heroes can’t because they have to avoid anything morally dubious. Ultimately, the multi-layered personalities of anti-heroes allow the viewer to laugh more and have a more enjoyable experience.
Still, good heart is not lost on anti-heroes; they are definitely still heroes after all. Deadpool in particular is a great character study for understanding this “bad-boy with a big heart” mentality because he has a great backstory.
He is a complex character whose history is shaded with sadness, death, torture and emotional anguish leading up to his life as an anti-hero. His conflicted past leads the viewer to care for a character that is ultimately crass and irreverent. In Deadpool there is a perfect mix of sympathy, caring and disgust that creates a deep interest that is practically unattainable in the traditional hero.
It’s true that traditional heroes go through trauma too, but as is the case with Batman, they use those events as catalysts to reach an even higher plane of morality. The hero fights crime to do the right thing and save other people from a terrible fate, whereas the anti-hero fights crime from a place of revenge or anger. Since fighting for the sake of justice is a hard concept to empathize with, anti-heroes are more reflective of the audiences watching them.
Finally, the last reason anti-heroes are hotter and more interesting than heroes is because they are self-confident as hell. To be a traditional, morally upright hero, you have to be humble. You will rarely hear a superhero say, “Hey, I’m Batman and I’m the shit.”
Anti-heroes on the other hand will do exactly that and then some. They say that confidence is the key to success, and it’s definitely the key to attracting people. Anti-heroes are confident, which can be an attractive quality to a lot of people. Including me. Especially me.
When someone is confident and thinks they’re the shit, people around them begin to think that too. Which is why it’s pretty common to think that anti-heroes are the shit.