INTJ Stereotypes in Fiction

Once upon a time, I  went on a Twitter rant. Not about politics or anything important, mind you. It was about personality types, and how absolutely sick I am of always being the villain.

*tiny disclaimer: I’m no expert on personality types. These are just the thoughts of someone who’s tired of being the bad guy.

A few days before said rant, some friends and I were talking about the Myers-Briggs personality types in relation to fictional characters. A simple google search will reveal MBTI types for just about any fictional universe, sometimes based on careful thinking, sometimes based on the whims of whoever made the list. I don’t typically put a lot of stock in these sorts of things because it’s just for fun, after all, but I noticed a pattern as I was reading about my personality type, INTJ.

Star Wars: the INTJ is Emperor Palpatine. This is off to an unsettling start.
Harry Potter: Draco Malfoy. Not a huge HP fan, but I have a feeling this isn’t a very flattering comparison.
Doctor Who: The Master. Are you kidding me? This is absolutely ridiculous.

And you get the idea. No matter what I read, the INTJs were always the villain, or in the very least an antagonist. Even one of my favorite fictional INTJs, Edgeworth from Ace Attorney, is technically an antagonist (at least early on).

I can understand where the stereotype comes from. INTJs joke (?) about having plans to take over the world. We’re often ambitious, determined, and analytical. We tend to base our decisions on rationality and reason rather than feelings (hence the “T” part of the type). We have a tendency to be arrogant. All of those qualities are the norm for antagonists, but that doesn’t need to be the same way.

Contrary to popular belief, INTJs are human beings and not unfeeling robots.We do have feelings, and sometimes we feel them very strongly. We care about other people, too. Perhaps we don’t always express this as much as other people, and we might not always express it in the same way. For example, I’m much more comfortable showing gratitude in writing than I am verbally.

We also aren’t antisocial jerks who hate people – though we tend to avoid most social situations and perhaps get exasperated with people who won’t move past small talk. We are actually capable of carrying on a conversation, provided it’s interesting to us. But in a society that values being social, our more discriminating approach to interaction is seen as a negative.

So really, the whole villain thing just comes down to some basic misconceptions most people have about INTJs. We just keep being painted in a bad light when it comes to fiction, and the cycle continues. Why can’t other types be the villains? Why can’t the INTJ be the hero?

Actually, an INTJ could make a great hero. Maybe we won’t inspire a group of rebels to overthrow an oppressive government, but we’d keep that rebellion in line to make sure the entire thing didn’t collapse once we took over. And we’ll come up with a great plan to make sure you get the job done successfully.

So, authors of the world: Can you stop writing us as the villains? We’re really not that bad, I promise – we can actually be pretty chill and insightful, once you get to know us. And we’d be a great balance for that hotheaded hero you’re writing over there. We’ll keep them grounded.


And that’s the end of my rant. Are there misconceptions about your personality type? What are they? Have you ever read a book with an INTJ protagonist, because I’d love to read it. Seriously. Throw me all the suggestions you’ve got.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you on Friday!

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5 thoughts on “INTJ Stereotypes in Fiction

  1. Yes, yes YES! It’s time for INTJ villains and ISFP/INFP heros to take the spotlight and I’m very stoked. Great insightful post, Maggie! 😀

    There IS an INTJ hero I came across (I googled INTJ heros out of curiosity) and it’s … BATMAN! Which makes sense, but he’s probably one of the very, very few INTJ heros out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed! I’m so ready to see more diverse personalities in fiction, it seems like we always get the same ones no matter what book we read. I’m glad you enjoyed my post though, thanks for the feedback!

      I guess this means I should start paying more attention to Batman now…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fortunately, there are good examples of INTJs like Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy. I think Sherlock can be a good example of an INTJ with a trauma.

    Like

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