Showing posts with label representation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label representation. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to Recognize Racism and Micro Aggressions in Books. Diversity Pandering, Cultural Appropriation, and "Savages" | Book Blogging Etiquette (#7)

Due to harassment and lack of allyship, this educational post has been removed. Why?

More on problematicness:
Should We Separate Authors from Their Problematic Work? 
Do We Owe it to Authors to Call Out Problematic Books Nicely?
What is POC rep to you? "Olive Skin", On the Page, and Non-#Ownvoices Authors 
All BBE posts

HOLD UP if you plan on commenting: 

Please do not ask advice about specific books or examples in your own writing. I will not answer them. This post took an immense amount of emotional energy to write, so let's be respectful, okay? If you have detailed questions, feel free to submit them to my Patreon, nothing's off limit there.

If you want to say thanks, consider buying me a virtual coffee through ko-fi here.  It's a nice gesture and will make this feel appreciated. Also will contribute to me taking the time to make more posts like this.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

15-Year-Old Protagonists Confuse Me | YA Talk

I can't be the only one who noticed this. Suddenly you're a twenty-something and go back to your favorite novels as a teen, maybe your even starting a new YA book.

The protagonist is a badass space avenger, fighting for the rights of cannibalistic aliens on a planet that's on the verge of being destroyed by an evil overlord.

They're great at combat, a feared assassin and know no mercy to anyone who comes in their way. They're also fifteen.


Maybe I'm just old, but when I look back at the time when I was fifteen - I didn't fight evil alien kings. I awkwardly tried to make it through high school. I would've probably peed my pants if somebody handed me a gun, even though I would have loudly proclaimed that I would shoot all the bad guys given the opportunity. I never would've gone through with it though. It could be that this was just the mentality of my generation, but I always cringe when I notice how YOUNG the protagonists of popular YA novels are.

I don't get why common themes, even in contemporary YA fiction are love, sex and civil uprisings, when you've got a fifteen year old protagonist on the loose.

Is puberty even a thing in YA?

It's funny how I haven't read a single YA novel featuring puberty without being only about that.

  • Badass assassins don't seem to struggle growing a beard (I mean, we all know, 16-year-old guys all look like twenty-five and can grow full beards within a week at will)
  • 17-year-old girls are masters of seduction and have every guy at their feet because they could pass for twenty as well
  • No body insecurity in sight. 
  • No acne. 
  • Flawless skin and good hair days all the way!
  • Everybody is ready and interested in sex at the same age
Sign me up for living in that world.

You're 18, you're an adult now, right?

I understand that teenagers want to read about people their age going on magical adventures and exploring new worlds.

Every time I read a novel with protagonist 5 or even more years younger than me I'm baffled at how little most novels deal with problems of people who are ACTUALLY that age. They're little adults.
Think about Caelena Sardothien from "Throne of Glass". Think about Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games". If you'd put a real-life grown up in their position, they'd probably pee their pants. 

This is even more unsettling if you consider the fact that YA literature is still frowned about these days, when basically, it features characters that could've been ten years older and nobody would have noticed. Of course there's YA with super immature characters as well, but there doesn't really seem to be an inbetween category in the majority of novels that I read.

Who cares? It's only fiction.

Is it? My whole life I thought that by eighteen I would have figured my whole life out and would probably have experienced a lot of amazing things already. The bitter truth is, you're not even remotely an adult at eighteen and those YA novels I read my entire life didn't really prepare me for that.

Of course you can't argue that fiction reading is the cause of that, but it surely should contribute to your positive development as a "young adult", shouldn't it? The problematic thing about this is that those novels really reflect badly on young, impressionable readers. At least I think that.

So what should we do?

I'm not saying we should stop reading YA with young protagonists saving the world and not batting an eyelash. Representation is key.

I want more novels with heroes and heroines that:
  • Don't want any part in saving the world and flat out refuse
  • Are scared to death every time they're faced with life or death situations
  • Think dating their crush is more important than the fate of the universe
  • Are stubborn, immature and stupid, because we all go through phases like this
  • Simply don't care.
  • Let their mom/dad deal with it
  • Are the sidekick. Not everyone has to be a hero. Not even main characters
I'm sick of reading about teenagers making the right and wise decisions. I want realistic portrayals. 

Maybe you know novels like that and can give me recommendations?

What do you think about unrealistically young protagonists?

More YA Talks:
Mary Sues and Why We Need More of Them 
Instant Love and Why It Ruins Everything 
Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? 
I Fall For Problematic Love Interests 
Are Diverse Characters and Representation Unnecessary?
On Trends and Why You Should Stop Mocking Them 
Do We Need Books About Mental Illness By Neurotypical People?  See All
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