Saturday, September 13, 2014

Musing Mondays #3 – Strong YA Female Heroine Debate



Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme – hosted by Should Be Reading – that asks you to muse about one of the following each week...

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you're reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; why you are (or aren't) enjoying it.
Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let's hear it, then!
What Makes A Strong Female Protagonist In YA?

Sadly, I feel most YA authors misunderstand us readers when we say give us strong female charries.
It annoys me when people rave about a heroine being so strong, getting me excited and picking up the book but being disappointed because they're not strong, not really, they're just shutting down their emotions because they view it as a weak and feminine thing, in fact despising and rebuffing everything that they view as feminine, and then the icing on the cake; when they find a love interest (we're talking about YA after all :P), their.....strength *does air quotes*......tends to crumble because they must access their feminine side to swoon over the guy *sighs* And so in the end, the heroine fails to be strong either way. *throws hands up in exasperation*

Do we truly believe that emotions = girly = weak, but males must be all Macho macho! *thumps chest* I'm-so-tough? *rolls eyes*
Because that's just untrue, stereotypical, and frankly I think it's sexist to both men and woman.
Men have emotions too, and females can't be generalised as 'emotional and weak'. Besides, emotions don't make you weak. Not always, anyways. They can make you strong as well. There's always a mix. A balance.

Have you ever walked in a toy store for young kids and noticed the difference between the girl toys and the boy toys? How the girls have lots of pink sparkly princess dresses, and the boys have all their boy stuff? How boys playing dolls or girls playing shooters games is laughed at a lot or met with scepticism, and so we don't tend to see it happen because they want to fit in and tend to conform to social stereotypes to do so?
What about girl and boy baby clothes in a clothing store? Why must girls traditionally wear pink? Why must boys traditionally wear blue?
Or just listen to our fairytales as a another example! We feed young children stories of beautiful princesses in sparkly pink dresses that need saving by their handsome knights in shining armour because,
(1. they can't just save themselves and,
(2. it's the man's job *scowls*
We ingrain it into their brains and surround them with all this ideology. No wonder our society is the way it is.
And if you rebuke the girly-girl stereotype, offff you go to tomboy land o.O Because, as a kid, it's either you're a girly-girl or you're a tomboy.
And as a tomboy, you have to act like a boy. You become one of them......one of the knights *coughs and smothers laughter* XD Away away with the dresses and the pink clothes! You have to be tough and unyielding as stone! Learn to sword-fight and run and get dirty! You shall never again worry about your nails or your looks! Because you're now for all intensive purposes a boy and you must look down upon being clean and pretty! XP
But bewareee......from now on you cannot crush on your fellow bros of the brotherhood *cracks up* and if you do it won't work out because
(1. you're not meant to be pretty (duh *points above*), you're meant to be muddy and roughened up and,
(2. you're one of the boys now, so to them, chances are you're just a fellow boy and bestie.......aaand now get ready for the sudden self-esteem slump *facepalms*
So in conclusion it's not just authors that seem to hold this a-heroine-can-only-be-strong-if-she's-a-tomboy-sterotype. It's a part of our society. *frowns*

I personally grew up out of the mainstream eye, which allowed me to freely create who I wanted to be without being conformed by stereotypes. I liked dresses and    feeling beautiful, yes, but I also liked sword-fighting and being pretending to be a kick-ass heroine, whether it be a zombie killer, dragon rider or assassin. Or all three :D I wanted to be strong, but not stoic. Tho I'd definitely rather be gritty and scratched up than prissy and proper :P
Does that make me a tomboy? Maybe in mainstream, since it's always looking to classify people into a stereotype. But in my opinion, no, I'm not a tomboy. I'm a mix.
And okaayy, I can't reaaally fight, since I haven't taken any proper defence classes (I so want to tho *winks*), but the point is I wouldn't be afraid to scratch the paint on my nails, or mess up my hair if it came down to it (tho I do have a phobia of breaking nails ^^ But heyyy! That's pretty legit, no one would want their nail cracked and ripped *horrified look*, right everyone?? Riighttt?? *narrows eyes* XD).
And that's the image that I'd want girls to look up to and us readers to read about. Not being classed as either girly-girl or tomboy; rather, being a mix of both.

Because, in my opinion, a truly strong female heroine is one that can be kick-ass, smart, brave, and feminine; we don't have to chose between being feminine and strong, and we should never believe otherwise because it's the balance of it all that makes us strong!

.......aand Sarah J. Maas you hit the nail right on the head, which is why I love you dearly ;)
Celaena's a total walking contradiction; which makes her feel real because she can't be classed in one stereotype. Witty, smart, arrogant, brave, loyal, a fashionista, a book lover, vulnerable and guarded, tough as nails, flawed and yet one of the most perfect female heroines ever in my opinion!
#TeamCelaena #TeamToG <3

What's your opinion peeps? :D Sharing is caringggg!

—MissBloodsucker™ All Sucked Out!