Okay, so I'm terrified of today's post, but I asked for it. Give a warm welcome to Mr. J aka, my husband. I'd give you a whole bio complete with picture, but well, I don't really have one. He teaches sixth grade, and he puts up with me. That should be all the bio you need. Ha!
And he's tackling protags in YA fiction... so *gulp* here we go.
It’s not that I don’t like teen fiction; it’s just that it scares me. Or, to be more specific, the protagonists scare me. Now I don’t mean to offend anyone here. I’m truly curious to know if my point of view is inaccurate in some way. Elana and I have argued this point many times (true) and I think I’ve finally convinced her I’m right. At least that’s what I tell myself in order to successfully fall asleep at night. (Ha!)
Why don’t I like the protagonists? Simply put, I don’t want my daughter, or the girls I teach, turning out like many of the female protags I see in teen novels. This point of view stems back to my first and only reading of Twilight. (For the record, I liked Twilight, and this is in no way a free pass for anyone to bash Twilight.) I was surprised that so many people loved a book whose main character is a young girl basing her entire self worth on the attention of a dude.
My concern is that many teen novels are filled with examples of unhappy or unfulfilled adolescent girls who are waiting for some pubescent boy to come along and make them feel good about themselves. Really? That’s not the woman I married or the kind of girl I’d like my son to fall in love with. My Elana is tough. She’s strong. She’s beautiful and quite frankly magnificent! Our lives twist and turn together as we support each other and try to build each other up. I hope to be a compliment to her. But never do I think I made her. I just try to keep up!
I want my daughter and my young students to read about girls and women like that! I want my boys to want to be around females like that! Is that so wrong?
Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are some YA novels filled with examples of strong teenage girls. Perhaps all of Elana’s loyal readers (thank ye) can help me understand if this is my problem or an actual issue with the genre. Point out the error of my ways. I CAN handle the truth!
So...can he handle the truth?? Are YA novels somewhat centered on girls looking for validation? Someone to love them? Can they love themselves without being reassured by a boy? Lots of things here, people. Discuss (nicely).