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Rename: Christmas Cake get usage counts

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1 SomeGuy7th Dec 2010 08:47:32 AM from totally uncool town
Some Guy
This title has some infamy among users of the site for its obscurity. Many are mystified as to why it has yet to be renamed. For those not aware, the title is a Japanese metaphor- women are like Christmas Cakes in that no one wants one a Christmas Cake after the age of 25, and no one wants to marry a woman who is over 25 years old.

I requested a lock on a previous cleanup thread on Christmas Cake (see here) because the opening post specifically disavows the possibility of a rename. Reading over this conversation, though, I question the rationale behind this assumption. The main problem with the trope is that its definition is such that it refers to any unmarried woman over the age of 25 regardless of context. An unmarried woman who lives with a man for several years but is over the age of 25? Technically she's a Christmas Cake. So are women who have no interest in marriage whatsoever. But a woman who's 24 years old and whose entire character arc involves being constantly pressured by her family to find a husband? She is not a Christmas Cake, even though she epitomizes everything tropeworthy about this topic except for the fact that her number's wrong.

Why this page is obsessed with using a number to determine whether a character falls under this trope as opposed to their actual situation is a mystery to me. This would be much easier to manage if we make the whole Christmas Cake thing a footnote and make the actual trope centered around the idea of an Old Maid- which so far as I can tell is what this page is supposed to be about but we're causing needless confusion by instead sticking with a term that has only ever been used in Japan, and which fell out of popularity over these several years ago.

Given the sheer mis-use of this title across the wiki, the proper course of action to me seems pretty obvious. So here's a crowner to rename the trope and another crowner for a new title.

edited 7th Dec '10 8:47:41 AM by SomeGuy

See you in the discussion pages.
Is this a pre-existing term?

Apparently, this has been indexed on the UsefulNotes/Japan page so is this a specific reference to a term used in that culture? If yes, then has the term been adopted by cultures outside of Japan?

edited 7th Dec '10 8:55:41 AM by SeanMurrayI

Usually we would have a discussion first before going directly to a crowner.

Also, why was the old thread locked when we haven't implemented the agreed upon solution from that thread?

This is all very irregular.

Also, it is a pre-existing term in Japan, and a specific concept and analogy used in Japanese media. Perhaps we should instead create a new super-trope Old Maid, with Christmas Cake being the specific "over 25" motif.

After all, Christmas Cake has a very specific age line, Old Maid lines very across different cultures.

edited 7th Dec '10 8:59:02 AM by Sackett

I hold that as a metaphor that appears as it is in Japanese works that requires explaining to western audiences, the trope must be about Christmas Cake and that should remain at least an integral part of the title. Context-ifying the title, along the lines of Like Old Christmas Cake, would be fine, but that's the limit. (I'd hold up Solve the Soup Cans as an example of this done successfully).

Edit: On further thought, I would...
  • Restrict it to Japanese examples
  • Create a supertrope for Old Maid
  • Optionaly, create a second supertrope that's narrower than Old Maid but broader than Christmas Cake along the lines of Why Aren't You Married Yet?, a character whose friends + family pester him/her about the need to get hitched. This would include other cultures with "marry before you're too old" stigmas as well as more generic examples.

edited 7th Dec '10 9:26:08 AM by Elle

Only Sane Fox
[up] Good thinking. That hierarchy of tropes sounds like it could work quite well.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
Pika is the bombchu!
Redefine or split, but if this is a preexisting term it should be used for something.
mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really
Tropes shouldn't be arbitrarily restricted to Japanese examples.
It's not arbitrary when the trope is specificly Japanese. See also This Is Unforgivable! (though it looks like it might need a cleanup), which is a very-specific Japanese subtrope of This Means War!.

edited 7th Dec '10 3:48:48 PM by Elle

9 shimaspawn7th Dec 2010 05:43:08 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Or Chinese Girl, which we're working on renaming Anime Chinese Girl because it's about a certain character type in Japanese media. These aren't arbitrarily restricted. They're just cultural elements that don't really get exported.
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10 DRCEQ7th Dec 2010 07:56:26 PM , Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
Hiiiiiii!~
It most assuredly is a pre-existing term. Been coined long before this site came around.
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11 helterskelter7th Dec 2010 08:08:25 PM , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Having never heard of Christmas Cake used in this context, and it not making sense upon reading the name, I don't want it changed. If it's a pre-existing term, the description is perfect and renders the name succinct. A Laconic does well enough to answer what it is.
25ish is also a cutoff in other countries, it's just not so much in the US and UK, where 30 is a more common cutoff. Anecdotal evidence indicates in Egypt, 26 is considered "getting old".

The split, which I support, would restrict this not to "Japan only" but to "26 being old"

edited 8th Dec '10 2:30:05 AM by Yamikuronue

BTW, I'm a chick.
13 Clarste8th Dec 2010 03:10:28 AM , Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
^^ The OP didn't explain it very well. A literal Christmas Cake will never get sold after December 25th, because obviously no one wants to buy a Christmas Cake after Christmas. Likewise, no ones wants to marry a figurative Christmas Cake after her 25th birthday, because well, I dunno, cultural reasons. It's just a fancy way of saying she's past her "sell-by" date.
Making it a subtrope of Old Maid sounds like a great solution.
Teutonic Tomboy T-Girl
[up]Yeah, it's definitely a subtrope of something bigger.

Tropes that are actually unique to Japan (or any other country/culture) are fairly rare, and we still have way too many potentially-universal tropes that are written up as if they only occur in anime. That said, the genuinely single-culture tropes are worth preserving, and often fascinating little windows into that culture.
Only Sane Fox
I'm actually in favour of Elle's original proposal of putting an additional level between this and Old Maid for characters being pestered to get married.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
The term has a specific meaning that turns up in a lot of works, and while similar to Old Maid, is not the same thing. Old Maid connotes actual faded beauty; a Christmas Cake is still young and beautiful, but is rejected due to the Old Maid syndrome Turned Up to Eleven.

Please don't rename this trope. A new trope for Old Maid could be usefully introduced if desired.
Dragon Writer
Strange, I thought this was about fruitcakes.
19 Shale17th Dec 2010 04:52:33 AM from Int'l House of Mojo , Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Mighty pirate!
If this can't be renamed then we definitely need an Old Maid trope to catch the Western examples. Because if you want to have one page for the general phenomenon across all media, Christmas Cake is not the name to give it.
I think the general consensus is to create an Old Maid supertrope.
21 Shale17th Dec 2010 07:22:24 AM from Int'l House of Mojo , Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Mighty pirate!
Then let's get it done. To YKTTW?
22 Madrugada17th Dec 2010 07:54:44 AM , Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
To YKTTW with you!
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What's the status of this?
24 Shale19th Dec 2010 07:13:14 PM from Int'l House of Mojo , Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Mighty pirate!
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Total posts: 24
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