You might also have seen my post even before that about the abuse in the Edward/Bella relationship in Twilight. You might have even read it.
But you, by now, have probably noticed something: I am a raging feminist.
Let's get something straight here: feminism does not mean I believe that women are better than men. It does not mean I believe that men should be brought down. It does not mean nearly every stereotype associated with it.
"Feminism" is better described as "equalism." It's the belief that women are equal to men. That all people, regardless of gender, are equal.
The older I get and the more I read, the more frustrated I get at the apparent lack of
And, yes, you see it in young adult literature.
A lot of young adult literature focuses on two stereotypes: the girl falling in love who needs help with something and gets it from the man and the girl who is completely badass and happens to fall in love with somebody during the story.
In both situations, the girl happens to fall in love.
Now, I'm a hopeless romantic. Pride and Prejudice and North and South are some of my favorite movies. I have a small stack of romance novels that I read whenever I'm in a sad mood. I love it as much as the next girl.
But why does it have to be so prevalent in young adult literature?
Not everybody, as a teenager, is going to go on dates or fall in love or even have crushes. One of my friends didn't have her first crush until she went to college. I didn't date anybody in high school because I didn't like any of the boys. Friends of mine just weren't interested.
Yet, in most contemporary stories I come across, there's a girl who falls for a guy. In most fantasies, the heroine falls for a man against her will. In most historicals, it revolves around some sort of romantic plotline.
And you know what? That's great! I love stories like that! But why are they the majority?
Flip tables. Look at the books with boy protagonists. Are they falling in love? Does their plot line revolve around romance? Sometimes. Rarely. I've never read one. It's always a side-plot. They're always focused on the bigger picture -- for instance, who's trying to kill them, or why their best friend hasn't answered his phone in a week, or a dozen other things about the plot.
It's not like in Kiss of Frost, where Gwen doesn't care about the people trying to kill her because she's obsessed with a guy. It's not like Twilight, where Bella just doesn't exist for months after Edward leaves her. It's not like Shiver, where the plot surrounds a girl falling for a werewolf rather than the fact that there are, you know, werewolves. In Wolf Tower, the man swoops in at the end and saves the day. In Throne of Glass, the main character gets distracted by the handsomeness of the man arresting her.
There are more. There are so many more about the guy protecting the girl, the girl falling for the guy, the girl doing this for the guy, the guy not caring about a girl who adores him, etc., etc.
Why do you think I like books like Thief's Covenant and Bloody Jack? It's because, in the grand scheme of the plot and the world and the things happening to him, they don't ditch it all for a chance to snog the guy.
Am I the only one who gets annoyed by this apparent need for a man to be the center of every story?
For more about YA and feminism:
- thefuckdidIjustread Tumblr often reads books and makes interesting commentary, especially along the lines of why it's not feminism.
- My thoughts on the Edward/Bella relationship in Twilight.
- Reasoning with Vampires dissects the Twilight novels -- writing, relationships and all.
- About covers and beauty stereotypes.
- My vlog about rape culture and YA lit
- Why I love some Disney princesses and hate others (and what it means for YA)