Let’s be real.
Aka: So You Think The 14-17 Year Old Girl Paired With An Ageless/Centuries Old Male Trope Is New And Inherently Bad & You Wanna Start a Riot
X - Elisabeth (Musical). Sissi is 15 when she falls in love with the literal personification of Death. As in, old as life itself. You don’t want me to tell you how many fics there are on the German fanfic sites I know. By the way, the real Empress Elisabeth was about 16 when married to 23 year old Franz.
X - Labyrinth. Sarah’s what, 15? David Bo- I mean, Jareth is centuries old when he falls in love with her. Pretty sure 97% of all fanfics for that particular tale involve romance/love, twisted or otherwise. Most all with Sarah aged up. Also read the damn book. Those budding feelings are canon, baby.
X - Repo! Confirmed by Terrance, not confirmed… we all know Graves was a nosy show off who took a shine to that kid, and she followed. Now, Shilo is 17 so that makes the fanfiction a little less creepy. Then again, Graves is still a lot older, and it is Repo!
X. Phantom. Christine is…. Doesn’t really matter, middle-aged Phantom fell in love with her as a child (okay, okay it developed as she aged). Creepy? Well, I don’t think anyone can argue that. But the romance lives on. And on FF, it really lives on. Also in multiple published fan sequels. And various movies.
X. Beetlejuice. Continuing my march on that side of the internet. Lydia, teen. Beetlejuice, centuries. While most fics like to mesh the film with its more relationship-line crossing cartoon counterpart, this pairing can still be all kinds of odd. Again, with this one we mostly adhere to the age-up-the-teen rule.
X. Drop Dead Fred. So your favorite (centuries old) imaginary friend when you’re like, 7, if we’re being generous, kisses you when you’re in your 20s. Also, canon meet fandom.
X. Whistle Down The Wind (Musical). Blame ALW for this one too. Swallow is 15 when the convict (early 30s?) falls for her. It’s tragic. Also he’s kind of Jesus? Idk the lines blur a lot when you take the whole plot into consideration. Also the book and the movie play with who is enamored by who and the ages…. Essentially though, yeah.
X. Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Buffy was what, 16? When she and Angel dated? Angel is what? 200+? Buffy later is with Spike? We’re talking centuries of difference. Again.
X. Legend. Lily wasn’t that old when Tim Cu- I mean Darkness seduces her.
X. Greek Mythology. Yeah Persephone? “Edge of womanhood” back then was around 14-16. Hades? Let’s not count.
Not to mention Twilight, because though it’s a regret, it did happen. So did most of the YA Fantasy section of your local bookstore.
Face it, for a lot of young women, naive and searching, reading relationships like these…. It makes a safe way to explore their minds/wants/desires/genders/identities, without getting hurt or getting in over their heads. Is it practical to go out and hit on a guy two times your age when you’re 14-17? Heck no. But that’s what fiction is for*
(*even though all fiction has flaws and you still should be selective -cough- Twilight -cough-)
But I’ve never encountered a problem with these narratives before now. Why?
Because in old fairytales, there was usually a young girl and an older male. Danger, trepidation, coming-of-age, first steps into womanhood, sometimes care and love (I’ll spare you my Little Red and Erl King rants. And Valerie’s Week of Wonders. Hello).
So for the love of the goddess, if you wanna ship the damn thing, ship it. Be respectful of their ages / age difference. If it’s comfortable, embrace it. I’m not advocating underage sex (because also sex =/= romance), but build a relationship (just try to downplay the creepy). Make them friends. Make them enemies. Make them learn. Age them up. Age one down. Put a curse on one. Introduce conflict. Put it in an AU. Make them queer. Make them not. I don’t really care.
Percival and Credence is romanticizing literal abuse, do not pass go.
Scar trying to get Nala in the musical is creepy. Esmeralda and Frollo also creep me the F#$% out. While Moana and Maui, really don’t.
So quit putting negative rants in the Maui, and Moana, tags (ha, hypocrisy). You’re welcome.