Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger (21) Annoying Gender Stereotypes

 
We all know what goes on behind the scenes at our own blogs but rarely do we lift the curtain and share those experiences with others. Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger stems from the curiosity. This week I wanted to talk about Gender Stereotypes in Books.

Here is my confession: 

Hello, my lovelies!This week I wanted to talk about Gender Stereotypes in Books. I like most of you read a lot. Naturally, after awhile, patterns in a characters style and behavior start to appear. The hot bad boy with the tortured soul, the ugly duckling whose actually supermodel gorgeous, the best friend who saves the day but doesn't get the girl because he isn't hot etc.. Through the years these scenarios have played out time and time again and you know what? I'm sick of it. 

Why do all female leads have to have some sort of body complex? It's very rare that I find one who doesn't. All  or should I say most females whether they live in a Fairy Tale world or Dystopian society berate themselves for not being as beautiful as the popular Cheerleader or having features like the girls guys want to date. We should be giving young readers role models who feel comfortable in their skin and not those who feel like they must change to fit into some cookie cutter mold of beauty or worse to catch the eye of the guy whose only thing going for him is he's popular and hot.


Another thing that bugs me is the need for those same female characters to deflect almost all Survival/Rescue attempts to the male lead. I get that not all female characters can be a Katniss (Hunger Games) or a Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)  but do we really need them to be Bella's (Twilight) and Nora's (Hush,Hush) instead? A female who always relies on the male for rescue isn't really someone I'd aspire to be. I'd rather see a female who starts off weak and then grows into her strength as she tackles whatever monumental task that lays in front of her. Some weakness is OK but to have them remain pitiable is the problem.

On the male side of things I'm really getting sick of swoonworthy males. It's gotten to the point where I actually cringe when the male lead is described in this way because it makes it seem that the only thing the character is good for is being hot. Sure I want the guy to be charming and you know not a troll but does he need to be a sex symbol each and every time? No! The best friend with the unruly mop of curly hair and crooked smile can be just as "swoonworthy" as the guy with the six pack and devilishly good looks. I'd like to see some real man take the lead for once instead of the flavor of the month from the latest Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.

Another thing with the males that I've seen patterned repeatedly is how they always seem to have infinite knowledge. The males always seem to know what is going on and are gifted with the technical skills to use every single gadget they come across. Stereotypes like these just reinforces the belief that the female "needs" the male to survive. When a character is given an established skill awesme but being James Bond or fricken Macgyver is just unbelievable especially considering most of the time these males are between 16-21 years old and have usually lived in a small geographical area all their lives.

However, most of these pale in comparison to Insta love. The belief that all characters paired  together for any significant length of time must fall in love with each other is almost laughable. Yet, I've seen this same thing repeated time and time again. Why can't the two remain friends? Why must the girl or guy fall in love with his companion or heaven forbid remain celibate to someone whose been left behind?  Why also does the romance need to happen instantly? Are authors afraid they won't sell books without romance between differently gendered leads? Or is it simply that readers expect them to end up together since they spend all that time together? I really don't understand it so if you do please tell me more.



Now that you've read my confession, Tell me some of yours:

What do you think about Gender Stereotypes? 
Do you mind them?

Leave your responses in the comments below, I love reading them. Have a question? Leave that as well and I'll try and answer it.
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That about wraps up this weeks confessions from a blogger.  Thanks for stopping by and reading,sharing, or commenting on this post. As always, it is appreciated.

3 comments:

  1. Great post Kristin! I completely agree. Young adult books especially tend to favor gender stereotypes. And INSTA LOVE!!! OMG hate it. I recently reviewed a book where the romance was tossed into the middle of a really exciting action story, but it didn't work at all. I think writers are pressured by publishers to add romance to YA, even if it would be better without it.

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  2. Oh I have no doubt some form of pressure is involved.

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  3. I really do wish more protagonists in YA could come to terms with their flaws and not wish for perfection, too. I mean, I can see how it's realistic to an extent, but when the end of the world is nigh, I doubt a girl's first thought is for her small breasts or frizzy hair. Great post!

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