Another Cliché

Since I have utilized this blog to point out cliches I notice and try to avoid, like here, there is another one that I began to notice recently. Actually, I’m surprised I didn’t notice it sooner. This particular cliché seems more prominent in Science Fiction, more specifically Young Adult Science Fiction, but I feel it is worth noting.

What is this cliché? Let me depict it. Something devastating happens to the world, and there are a small group of survivors. They are the only ones left of humanity. A strong, independent, young woman rises up out of the ashes of human civilization. At first, she does not know her strength. She is timid, loving to others, yet unruly and rebellious. This woman has scrounged around in her world, looking to live a simple life, but then her parents die. At that pivotal moment, she finds a strength she never knew and fights back against those who seek to dominate the survivors. This bold young woman, having survived tragedies and injustices, symbolically cuts her long, flowing locks to show that a new, stronger self has emerged.

I have seen this become a reoccurring theme lately. In fact, once I noticed it, it seemed to be so common that it almost seemed silly to me. Why do these female protagonists need to cut their hair to show their change? Why do so many story tellers feel the need to include this to demonstrate character development? It seems the film Star Dust picked up on this cliché long before I did because it flips this archetype on its head and comically extends the male protagonist’s hair during the character’s transformation.

Have you noticed this as much as I have? Do you feel as silly as I do that you didn’t notice it either? Why is this such a common theme?

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