Why I’m Not a Fan of Most YA Heroines

Today’s post will either be relatable or controversial. I’ve mentioned this over multiple blog posts but only briefly so you might or might not know that most YA heroines seem to get on my nerves.

I mentioned this in my review of Illuminae and somebody commented saying that I should write a blog post about why I’m not a fan of most YA heroines. I thought that was a brilliant idea so here we are.

i feel like it’s very anti-feminist of me to write this post…

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Since I’m a teenage girl myself and most YA protagonists are teenage girls, I tend to compare the way they act with the way I act. If they think or do something that I feel like I wouldn’t do, or a friend of mine wouldn’t do, I find them to be unrealistically written and the enjoyment of reading about them kind of… goes away.

I know that every teenager is different but also… we’re still the same. We don’t only fawn over guys and want to date and party. But also, if we don’t it’s not like we’re total outcasts that are mean towards all of the outside world.

Also – and this is only because of my personal experiences – I’m never rude towards my parents. I’ve also never fought with them. This might seem strange to y’all but I try my best to avoid conflict instead of raising it. Because of this, whenever a teenager in a book is rude towards their parents I feel personally offended.

Not every teen and their parents have a healthy relationship with one another, I know that, but it’d be nice if more YA heroines in books weren’t so hostile towards their parents. If I’m reading a book and parents play a large role (like they should) I personally think that their interactions should show healthy teen/parent relationships.

I want YA heroines to respect their parents. Is that hard to ask?? I understand that not everybody has great relationships with their parents but I want more good relationships written in YA.

respect

I also hate the stereotypes. Especially when the heroine is ‘different’ than other teen girls. As in, she is artsy in some way and tends to have hateful feelings towards other teen girls. This girl/girl hate in YA books is so hurtful and really unrealistic.

Just because a teenage girl is a cheerleader doesn’t mean that she dates everyone and is mean to the heroine. I don’t understand why this stereotype even exists still? I mean I guess it makes sense for a cheerleader at the top of the social ladder to think highly of herself as compared to everyone else but not everyone is like that.

Writing stereotypes like this over and over in books can be harmful to teenage girls because they get these thoughts in their mindset and start thinking them themselves. This thought can turn into actions.

Can we also talk about how unrealistic it is for YA heroines to fall in love with a boy and drop everything for him? This trope is just…

frustration

i love merida my ace queen so much

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There are some YA heroines that I do like though, so here are some that I absolutely adore:

    • Keiko – Starfish. She deserves the world. I would give it to her if I could and if she were real
    • Kady – Illuminae. The girl behind the inspiration for this post! She’s strong and smart and is a tech wiz.
    • Dimple – When Dimple Met Rishi. Definition of strong female character. And she codes. We need more girl coders in books!
    • Desi – I Believe in a Thing Called Love. She was so focused on school and extra-curricular programs and her relationship with her dad is the most precious thing.
    • Alosa – Daughter of the Pirate King. Fights like a girl should, bisexual queen (she’s bi, I don’t care what y’all think).
    • Starr – The Hate U Give. I love this girl way too much. I can’t wait to see her on the big screen.

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Do you tend to like or dislike YA heroines? Why or why not? Who are some of your favorite YA heroines??

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32 thoughts on “Why I’m Not a Fan of Most YA Heroines

  1. Pingback: December Monthly Wrap-Up // Moving, Getting Sick & Hello, 2018! | The Book Prophet

  2. Pingback: Lila’s Monthly Review | December 2017 – Hardcover Haven

  3. Ooh, I love this post!! I think the problem for me is not the character themselves but the tropes surrounding her or others. I HATE girl hate because bro, WHY. They’re just encouraging girl-girl conflict in real life!! And I also hate the “you’re not like other girls” trope — what is wrong with “other girls”?????

    I definitely think that there should be some healthy family dynamics in YA. I don’t talk a lot about things with my parents, but I’m not hostile to them either??

    So yeah, my main problem is the tropes and stereotypes surrounding the character(s) rather than the ACTUAL CHARACTERS themselves hahaha. Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      Thank you! Yes, the tropes are always the problem! When there’s a trope like girl-girl hate, it encourages it in real life, which is definitely not okay! Yeah, exactly! Even if you don’t talk with your parents all that often, that doesn’t mean that you have a bad relationship with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! I’ve seen a few posts recently about the stereotypical female character. I am slowly noticing that more authors are getting away from these stereotypes, so maybe over the next few years teenagers will get a lot better!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lia

    This is such a great discussion post! Love it! I love strong female characters but girl/girl hate is so annoying and the “I’m not like other girls” trope is so overdone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also find it hard to find books that don’t feed into these tropes. However, what get’s me is that is primarily female authors who write their characters like this and then say these girls are strong. Girl on girl shaming is not strong! Neither is disrespect. I think that’s why I can’t really read books where the characters are, in my opinion, obnoxious.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Definitely some great points! I agree that a lot, if not most, YA heroines seem to fall under one or more of these bad tropes: rudeness to parents, girl on girl hate, stereotypical mean girls, or only thinking about that one love interest. It can’t be that hard to avoid these tropes, is it? But I do love your examples of some great YA heroines 🙂 Proof that it can be done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      It definitely shouldn’t be hard to avoid these stereotypes but apparently a lot of authors aren’t able to write them any other way??? Anyway, in recent releases I’ve seen a lot of great YA heroines that break these stereotypes 😀

      Like

  8. I do think…don’t take this in the wrong way…YA BAd ass heroines are quick witted and all ARE SO OVERRATED?! Like they bore me to actual death. I remember the MC for Rebel of The Sands was “bad-ass” and i was just there drumming my fingers like “yh i know.” and i was honestly not impressed. I honestly hate female leads WHO ARE ROBOTS AND HAVE NO EMOTION. I did have his problem with Lila in the first book of ADSOM but in the series she developed so that was fine. I just want YA girls to be shown as people with emotion! People who maybe want to look feminine! And i’m not saying YA girls wh are not like this are BAD! I just want to see more variety

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      Yes, variety is key! Sometimes (*cough* most of the time) these heroines aren’t as kick butt as they make themselves out to be. Or they’re like emotionless robots like you said and end up acting like complete and total jerks to everyone

      Like

  9. I absolutely agree with you on the points you’ve raised in this – especially relating to the parent/teen relationships shown in YA. It is so rare that I ever see these relationships represented positively and I just don’t think that’s realistic or healthy. Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had the same sort of experiences as a teenager! While love was a great thing to think about, I knew that even if I met someone who I loved (which didn’t happen), I would always put my own future above them until I was established the field I wanted to be established in. I’ve recently been rereading old favorites of mine from the early days of YA and I seriously don’t understand these teenagers. There are definitely some great teenage protagonists out there but I think that by the time an author gets to fully write a YA book, they’re an adult and have lost some of the thoughts they had as a teenager and are more biased by their matured ways of thinking (ie. teenagers are wild and crazy and will give up everything for a boy). I’m sure there are teenagers who would do that, but not to the extent that they’re represented in literature. Now I really want to write a book with a quality teenage protagonist! Great topic!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookprophet

      Thank you so much ❤ I completely agree, although there might be teenagers like those written in these books, not all teenagers are like that.

      Like

  11. Ugh, I hate it so much when the main girl just seems to hate all other girls. Also the fact that she is SO different from all others and no one is like her and she is oh so special … it’s annoying af. I understand that the authors want to make their MC stand out in comparison to side characters, but that’s really not the right way.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think the comparison comes naturally but those are the exact things I hate about YA heroines too. I really don’t get the point of girl on girl hate, instead, the bookish community, the authors should be promoting the opposite through their books. And in 99.9% of YA books have the cheerleader as the main villain, well most of the times. I absolutely don’t think that’s the case in real life and this trope is honestly so bad and repetitive. And yaaaaaas to good parent-child relationship, they are almost non-existent but I would really hope to see more of them in the future.
    Loved this post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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