The Fetishization of Scottish Highlanders
I kind of made up this poll so I could talk about a recent blog post that I saw wherein the author appeared to describe the Scottish hero in absolute terms:
But there is far more to a hero who wears a kilt than just his clothing. If the story takes place hundreds of years ago in Scotland, he’s a tall, strong warrior who fights for what he believes in and what he loves. His duty is to defend his clan, his lands, his country, and protect the woman he loves. Honor and loyalty are of primary importance to him. He is noble but at times playful. That delicious Scottish accent rolls off his tongue, seducing both the heroine and the reader. He can handle a sword or a woman’s pleasure with equal proficiency. He has passion in spades. Sometimes that famous Scots temper might escape his control and have him spouting Gaelic curses or chasing after the enemy with a sword. The land of myth and legend is his home. He has experienced the harsh realities of life–the feuds, battles and oppression–but chances are he also believes in fairies and magic. Perhaps his soul and body are battered and damaged from the battles he’s chosen to fight, and maybe he has lost all faith in love. But when he finds it, we enjoy watching him touch and accept love like something fragile and precious. Love can heal wounds of the soul and break curses.
I’m completely uncertain where we get the image of this type of Scotsman other than from a Braveheart movie. There’s little that ticks off Jayne more than the faux Scottish Highlander speak with the dinnaes, cannaes, and wee lassie references. Maili is sent into a tizzy over the “famed Scots temper” and other infamous generalities.
Aassumptive writing leads to complaints of stock heroes. Not all heroes, even in Scotland, should have a temper, be a warrior, handle a Sword, have passion in spades, spout Gaelic curses. It’s one thing if you want to say that your creation is one of “myth and legend” but it’s important not to portray one characterization as emblematic of an entire race. (We’ll assume for the sake of argument that the author was identifying the hero in her most recent story and not the entirety of historical Scottish men).