Toxic and Problematic Themes In Popular Stories

The best word I can use to describe these sorts of Themes in stories is Bizarre.
It just doesn’t make sense to me how people continue to write and read stories that include this sort of content.

Can’t even fathom it half the time.

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Thanks for your perspective. I can most certainly agree with you seeing it that way. Perhaps I overlooked in op the mention of sexual assault and abuse. I do understand that vast majority of readers are 13-16 so I would have to agree with you about the negative influence it would have. Honestly I’m waiting for the mature app release because I am a rather adult themed writer (not sexual)

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I’m the same with featured stories these days. I get so amazed and happy if I ever find one that doesn’t have any problems, but I can’t remember the last time I found out about one.

I’m really glad more people are standing up to this too. I lurked around on the old forums sometimes and I think there was also a thread about this, but in general, there seems like there’s a lot more people in the community now who care about this issue and want to solve it, including people who might have made mistakes with portraying this sort of content but are willing to fix them.

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I think part of what makes it tricky is that it’s a vicious cycle. Adult writers introduce delicate themes teenagers aren’t equipped for and brush off any concerns/don’t handle their themes properly, teenage writers admire them and go on to write stories influenced by the people they look up to, and so the problem just grows and grows.

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Same. I usually have Low expectations of Featured stories in that regard, and even then I’m like WTF at some stuff Episode would mention because usually they are inconsistent with either diluting certain themes or changing story plots entirely which kinda is crappy for both the reader and original author

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Incoming rant:

There is this fairly popular story going around (over 500k reads) that has some problematic and toxic themes. I won’t name the story, but I will explain why it’s toxic. In the story the main love interest has threatened the MC multiple times and even once assaulted the MC. He treats the MC like trash and the MC even cried over it and was afraid of him. Even if the love interest has a tragic past, this is still not okay at all. It also doesn’t help that this is a mafia story with a cliche bad boy as your love interest. I was actually surprised to see he was the love interest.

Here’s another helpful topic explaining the toxicity of the mafia and poorly portrayed bad boys:

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Tbh tho, it would be helpful if they just released the mature app already. I’m not understanding why it’s been unavailable for 5 months now? It’s not about the sex either. Like I just enjoy mature content (cursing when it sets the scene for danger, violence, dark/particularly psychological horror stories.) but from what I heard it’s only episode originals from the Australian people. And nobody is going to read a gem fueled story where you have to pay over 20 bucks to actually make any decisions.

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Even if they were to release the app, there wouldn’t be a writing portal yet, so you couldn’t write on it. It will most likely take at least a few months before they do anything. :slight_smile:

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TBH most of the popular “romance” stories dangerously toe the line between sexual tension and borderline rape culture.

I can’t be the only one that’s a little put off by how some authors and even artists choose to have the female lead look so … so terrified and scared in covers and/or art scenes? Why is the male LI always pushing up against her, pinning her to the wall? Why is she always backing away, why is the fear on her face translated to sexual yearning?? I know some girls like that, so why don’t you have her expression or body language depict that she is ACTIVELY into it instead of looking so uncertain and scared?

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That second paragraph… I know exactly what you’re talking about and it truly bothers me so much. :pensive:

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If you want to help report this story, PM me and I’ll tell you what story it is. :slight_smile:

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Episode is rated 12/13+, yet contains a shit ton of stories containing the glamourisation of mental/verbal/emotional/physical abuse, sex-suggestive themes and inappropriate covers/titles in every section. One of their current guidelines is that authors are not allowed to promote the use of alcohol, but one of the scenes in the first episode of The K*ss List shows the MC drinking alcohol as a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.

And they don’t promote/buy stories with positive themes. Instead of that one story where the woman has a healthy relationship with her partner, they feature the one about a creepy, unrealistic bad boy mafia gang leader who harasses the MC nonstop until she finally goes on a date with him. Another annyoing ass thing is when the MC’s LI gets jealous and goes into a fucking rage or freaks out just because she had a chat with another guy, even though said chat wasn’t sexual in any way.

That’s all I have for now but if I have anything else to write I will update.

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But don’t you know jealous and possessive LIs show that they care??? Nothing more endearing than a man that freaks out every time you look in the direction of another dude :heart_eyes:

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Man, I love when my love interest gets so jealous and possesive when I breathe in front of another dude, it’s just my favorite! :heart_eyes:

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ikr! they are such amazing and caring people! :heart_eyes:

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It’s not always predatory when it’s depicted like that. For instance my new story is called into the fire and First chapter cover art is the guy putting his hand on the wall behind the girl who looks uncertain (only so many animations to choose from to express the look you’re going for the most) and it’s not a he’s pushing him self onto a girl who is scared or uncomfortable it’s that he’s “from the other side of the tracks” and apart of an organization that is at “war” or “against” her fathers organization (not gang, or mob related) and it’s forbidden and they aren’t suppose to like each other. So she’s more or less perplexed about choosing love or her fathers honor. But like I said only so many animations to chose from

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There’s nothing that irritates me more when a LI gets jealous of me w/other guys but then has the audacity to flirt/be with other girls, TF’s that about bruh? Hypocritical much? :joy:

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I agree. A lot of times I dont think they’re scared of the LI, they’re scared of the feelings they are having or some type of consequence that may come with falling for this guy in front of them.

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Exactly!

The thing is that potential readers won’t be able to get that context beforehand. So even if certain stories are the exception because the MC in them isn’t actually meant to look afraid of their LI, we have no way of gaining that information before seeing the image. All we see is somebody being cornered and looking scared. I think it can be tricky figuring out what will give off the wanted effect (for any cover really) but imo a lot of stories could benefit from not using pin animations for the cover unless their counterpart is visually into it - coy smile with a raised eyebrow, whatever way works.

For example, I just dipped into the app - emphasis on how this particular one is from romance - and plucked a wide cover from it:

Summary

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Seeing it makes my skin crawl, regardless of whatever actually happens in-story.

There are quite a few trending stories I’ve seen that do involve violent/aggressive LIs who repeatedly frighten the MC, but the story narrative positions that fear as romantic conflict rather than somebody she needs to get away from ASAP. Part of our revulsion at covers that make the LI look predatory comes from that, I think.

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