So I have written and rewritten this post several times before I could settle on something . This is because a) I have a hard time being serious about.. well anything, really. And b) this is a sensitive subject. You see, for me, feminism isn't about telling women what they can and can't do. It's about giving them a choice. A woman wants to cover herself up? Good for her. It's her body. A woman doesn't want to? Again, good for her.
But that's where this post became tricky. At first, I wanted to address things that I think are sexist in YA, but then again, who am I to label them as such? You see, in any way you look at it, there's no objectivity here. I'll try to be as unbiased as I can, and give you a piece of my mind.
The Bella Swan Shaming,
This is the best name I could come up with, kaaay? So first thing first: Bella Swan... there's no denying that as far as role models go, she isn't one of the best. She is dependent, needy, insecure, and obsessive.
But you know what? Bella Swan is also real.
There are Bella Swans out there.They are normal people, just like you and I. You see, my problem with Twilight is that her behavior, her relationship with Edward was perceived in a positive light. Stalking was romanticized, and so was obsessiveness. This is my only problem with Twilight. It set out an example for teenage girls like myself that this is the real deal. This is romantic. Woppidy fucking do.
But in all honesty, having Bella Swans and Edward Collins in books isn't wrong. Hell, even writing a misogynistic, racist character isn't wrong. What is wrong is portraying them in a positive light, or at the very least, not acknowledging that flaw. That is why I'm against the Bella Swan Shaming. I mean don't get me wrong, I love reading about strong female leads, but the weaker ones shouldn't be put down just because. There is no right or wrong female protagonist, it all depends on the writing.
The Attractive Enemy,
This is the reason I don't read high school YA books. OK, so here's the scenario, our MC is a plain Jane (nothing wrong with that), who goes into a new school. She likes a guy, who is with the hot blonde cheerleader.
You probably know what happens next, the cheerleader becomes the enemy. And for good measure, the cheerleader is a complete and utter bitch, to give reason for our MC to swoop in on the guy.
How many times have you read or watch a scenario like this?
Part of this has to do with slut shaming, which is a whole other topic in on itself, but the way I see it, portraying another female as a bitch just because she has self confidence, and *gasp* like to dress up is as equally sexist. Because really, most of the time, the only hint as to the why this girl is the enemy is her looks and her behavior which in most cases, isn't even directed at our MC.
There are more examples I wanted to discuss today, especially sexism against male characters. Till next time ;)