My family and I like to talk (and joke) about what to do to get Mitchell (main guy of Acktorek) fangirls. Because obviously that's the goal, right? To get fangirls?
And what we've said many times is that he needs to murder somebody (he doesn't murder anybody), because girls have a thing for murderers. We laugh about it, but it's not something we've pulled out of thin air. Fangirls actually do seem to have a thing for...murderers. And I find that to be a rather disturbing trend.
I mean, there are certain circumstances where I do understand (like Leith Torren and Peeta Mellark), but those are very different situations, and I'll get to that in a bit. I'm going to start with the ones I really don't get.
Erik/The Phantom of the Opera
It really bothers me when I come across stuff on Pinterest saying the Phantom deserved better than Christine. I'm just like, what? Implying that the Phantom is this great guy and Christine was stupid for not choosing him. And really, there are people who love the Phantom. I guess because of his voice? (Glad to see there are a few voices of reason in this GR thread.)
People, he's a serial killer. Maybe Christine was naive and easily manipulated (okay, yes, she definitely was), but she was seeing Erik pretty darn clearly IMO in the final lair sequence when she sang "This haunted face holds no horror for me now/It's in your soul that the true distortion lies." There's nothing attractive about a manipulative serial killer, regardless of his face. And before you defend him with "The world showed no compassion to me!" yes, he was treated badly, but there's no reason for that to have turned him into a serial killer. Or for that to have convinced Christine to overlook unrepentant homicide and stay with him out of pity.
I'll give you that Loki is an interesting character, when he and Thor are acting like brothers it can be hilarious, and Tom Hiddleston seems to be a good guy. But...he killed 80 people in two days. That qualifies as mass murder in my book. I've seen fan theories that he was under the staff's control during The Avengers, but I don't remember enough about the theory to know if I think it sounds plausible. Regardless, even if he was under the staff's control, he never shows any repentance for it. Which other characters who killed while mind-controlled do. So not an excuse.
Seriously, mass murder is not attractive.
Why oh why do people find him attractive? I mean, I like that he gets himself angry for the role by thinking about traffic and taxes, but still. He throws tantrums, he's manipulative, and everything about his relationship with Rey is abusive (yes, he helps her in TROS after Leia pulls him back to the light, and I'm glad he turned back, but it did feel kind of abrupt). He kills people without a thought and doesn't really show any remorse for it. And girls were all into Kylo way before he was redeemed, so what? And what is romantic about Reylo? I really don't get it. He's an abuser.
I mean, I don't dislike Anakin, and I'll give you that he's even hotter than Owen and Beru Lars at the end of the fight on Mustafar, but...
Okay. I do like Anakin. He has a tragic story. I love that Luke was able to bring him back to the light. However. I'll never not say that Padmé was stupid to have married him. I mean, someone had to be Luke and Leia's mother, but still. She knew he was capable of mass murder. He straight up admitted it to her when he killed the Tusken Raiders after his mother's death. He wasn't remorseful. He knew it was wrong, he knew that especially as a Jedi he was better than that. But his sentiment was still that he hated them. And Padmé just sat next to him, put her arm around him, and told him that to be angry is to be human. Yes, but being a mass murderer isn't.
I know, he already was somewhat under Palpatine's influence, but the fact remains that he knew right from wrong, and still did wrong unrepentantly. And then when it came to the point, he chose to pledge himself to the evil Sith Lord who had been deceiving them all for over a decade because of a vague promise that he'd teach him to save his apparently healthy pregnant wife. Turning his back on all his friends, and once again committing mass murder. So while I can't say I totally don't understand girls liking Anakin, please don't be Padmé about it. Don't love him in a way that turns a blind eye to mass murder. Love him the way Luke did, the way that didn't excuse mass murder, but believed he could be redeemed from it. And still, give me Obi-Wan and Luke over Anakin any day.
Now to get to those who I'm more okay with, but it's still wise to use caution...
Bucky Barnes and Peeta Mellark
I'm doing them together because it's a very similar deal. They're both good guys who were experimented on by evil scientists and turned into a weapon. In their right minds, they'd never murder someone. In their right minds, they show great remorse for what they've done, even though they had no control over it. Bucky wanted to be cryogenically frozen until they could remove the Hydra conditioning. Peeta straight up wanted them to kill him after he saw what he was like when he went mutt, before he hurt or killed anyone else.
These are guys who need help. They didn't ask to be turned homicidal, and they don't want to stay that way. They don't want to hurt anyone. (And I wanna wrap them both in bubble wrap and keep Hydra and the Capitol away from them.) But they are dangerous. Or were. Both of them have hope. Bucky seems to have done well in Wakanda. Peeta will never be the same, but he can control his mutt tendencies, sort out real from not real, and was cleared to go home to Twelve. But while Haymitch's reprimand to Katniss about her treatment of hijacked Peeta was well deserved, it's also true that it would be very foolish for her to be around him at that time without safety measures. Just like it was dangerous for Bucky to be on the loose as long as the Hydra conditioning was still in his head, as we saw in Civil War.
Honestly, I don't really consider either of them (especially Peeta) to be "bad boys," but they are dangerous.
(I wish I had gifs for them, but they don't have movies. 😢)
Okay, so I said at the beginning that guys like Leith were a different case, and here's why: redemption.
To start off, neither Jace nor Leith were exactly mass murderers. Jace accidentally killed a bully slave who kept stealing food from weaker slaves one day when he just snapped. He immediately regretted it and believed he deserved to die for it. Then he was forced to be a gladiator, where eventually he started refusing to kill, even though he knew he'd likely eventually be killed by his master. Leith was trained to be an assassin from his youth, a life he didn't choose, where it was kill for Respen or be killed by Respen. And with Brandi to show him the way, he rejected that life, and became a double agent to end Respen's reign of terror. They both have killed, they're both still capable of it (and good thing too, since they're at war), but they both regret it. And they're both cinnamon rolls when it comes down to it.
They're a product of circumstances, similar to Bucky and Peeta. Something to approach with caution because of what they have done (and Kyrin and Renna both do), but there are no limits to God's grace and forgiveness. And their stories honestly are about what they do once redeemed, about making things right...not all about the things they did before.
So yeah, I don't get why murder is attractive. Mitchell doesn't murder anyone. He's made mistakes that resulted in death and they haunt him, but he's never going to be a murderer.
Even murderers and assassins can be redeemed, and they should be judged on who they are now, not who they were before they found Jesus. But guys like the Phantom? Just no. Murder isn't attractive and it never should be.
And I'm never going to forgive Suzanne Collins for what she did to Peeta. 😉