Mutism is quirky I guess

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I looked further down the manhole of stories featuring selectively mute characters. You can find hundreds of stories such as shit like "My Mute Mate," or "Mute Girl, Bad Boy" or "Mute But Cute" and other crap.

What's wrong with mute characters you ask? Well, I dunno if you know this but, being selectively mute isn't exactly "uwu I'm so shy". Especially for adults, working a job and being mute with zero struggle is less realistic than people thinking COVID tests are implanting Neuralinks in us. 

According to the NHS UK:

A child or adult with selective mutism does not refuse or choose not to speak at certain times, they're literally unable to speak. The expectation to talk to certain people triggers a freeze response with feelings of panic, like a bad case of stage fright, and talking is impossible.

Selective mutism is a situational anxiety disorder, meaning, a mute person may be able to speak normally at home but can't at school or vice versa. Mutism isn't very common in adults but it can happen. It begins in childhood and typically only stays in childhood because as you know, talking/communication is a vital skill for children to learn, so an issue with talking is usually addressed.

I don't have selective mutism but I can relate to the anxiety of speaking, I basically get paralyzed, there's times I want to say something but can't find it in me to actually say it. And I shouldn't have to say but it really isn't cute. The other person isn't looking at me as a shy, quiet, little thing, they're looking at me like I'm fucking weird and mentally handicapped. It's extremely embarrassing, awkward, blows your self-esteem, and causes depression.

Is that cute to you? Does it make me quirky? Oh shouldn't a hot boy just come and fix me?!

But do these books show how damaging it is? Fuck no.

They don't make the character mute to genuinely show what it's like. They're only interested in using the condition as a plot device in order to have a savior romance. Mute character meets the love interest, love interest breaks down their walls, mute character only speaks to love interest/mute character's first words to love interest is their name or "I love you", then they kiss and have sex for the first time and are forever in love.

Boom, you got an easy romance story that will get way more reads than books with actual effort. These authors get pats on the back for writing such "different" characters, showing such "breakthrough" character development, and for "bringing awareness" to mutism.

If I remember correctly, a while ago I saw a paid story or some sort of wattpad featured book that had a mute character working as a maid for a billionaire CEO or something. The story, like others, completely ignored the fact mutism is related to anxiety and didn't really showcase its impact. Let alone the fact you wouldn't be a maid or work closely with other people's lives if you couldn't even speak to them.

As I've discussed before in this book a million times, love doesn't magically fix you. Having a partner who supports and encourages you can motivate and help you with improvement. But it doesn't cure your depression, anxiety, fix your autism, eating disorder, trauma, or mutism. This ideology makes people think if they just fall in love their issues will be gone or that they can be the one to fix people.

The inaccuracy of mental illness and other psychological things irritates me more than other stuff. Just the other day I saw a post by someone who read a book about a schizophrenic girl and was worried they too had it or that they would randomly get schizophrenia when they got older. That wasn't the first time I've seen someone worry about their mental health cause of a book they read either. This kind of stuff has real effects on the way people think.

Mute characters can be written obviously, just like characters with other usually poorly written illnesses or abused characters. But it's a matter of knowing what you're doing. Topics like this have to be well thought out need to play a bigger role in the plot than just a way to get your love interest and MC to hook up. Mental illness like this is reoccurring, it needs to be consistent. The saddest part is I've actually seen readers so misguided by bullshit they get annoyed by characters that have reoccurring PTSD symptoms from things.

If giving your character an illness, making them abused, or anything else was a relatively easy thing for you to add to the book, you don't know what the fuck you're doing like you think.

To sum this all up, stop using mental illnesses as cheap plot devices cause you're not good enough of a writer to put effort into research and writing good content that isn't fetishizing shit.

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