Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh, Gender Norms.

Yay for girl characters in YA. I love this trend of fantastic females on the shelves of the young adult sections of bookstores and libraries. But I think I'd love it more if it was a trend of fantastic characters, period.

Okay, fine, maybe male characters aren't getting all this hype because they already had their chance to shine, but share the spotlight, Katniss.

I mean, the problem I have with this is that everyone seems to be so scared that we'll set bad examples for girls if they can't read about a girl who manages to form a revolution, save the world, and still have perfect hair, but no one seems scared that this also sends a message to boys. It says: Girls are powerful and they'll run the world (thanks, Beyoncé), and you won't.

(Not to mention that this picture of females is extremely hard to live up to. We can't all be superwomen. But that's another topic.)

Shouldn't we be going for equality, not just girl-power? Sure, having Prince Charming save Cinderella doesn't help girls' self-esteem. But having Tris save virtually every male character in Divergent can't be good for boys' self-esteem, either.

I've found that stories told from dual perspectives (a la Legend or Dash and Lily's Book of Dares) can help this issue. There's a greater chance of giving each character a fair chance at being powerful. But can books written from one character's perspective ever do the same? There are some fine examples, of course, but I'm hoping for more. What do you think? Is this even an issue, and will it be resolved?

(Sorry for the late and then short post. It's the holidays, though. Have a fantastic holiday and a wonderful New Year.)

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