Sinnful 2¢ — The Rising Trend of Abusive YA Characters

I have not added any new posts to this for awhile.  Frankly, I have been sick and concentrating on other things.  I haven't gotten my thoughts sorted out enough to even begin writing a post.  Honestly, life has just taken precedence and nothing has rattled me enough to dig out my well-worn soap box.  However, after Parajunkee's post about the Goodreads drama and what constitutes as a review (http://parajunkee.com/2012/01/book-blogging-101-what-is-a-review.html), I started thinking about things.  After finding a webpage which discusses the drama (http://cuddlebuggery.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-five-days-on-goodreads.html), as well as other issues on Goodreads, I felt this blog post ruminating. While I find Parajunkee's post quite interesting, I am not addressing the issues of bad reviews, what is a review, or how people handle said reviews/opinions.  There has been enough of that across the book blogging sphere, and you can read it at your leisure.  Even though I have opinions about it, that is neither here to there.  For me, however, something stood out even more and has been sitting in the back of my mind for quite some time.

After I read the Twilight Saga, I was very put off by the author's cavalier attitude towards stalking and abusive behavior (you can read my full rant here: http://sinnfulbooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/sinnful-2-twilight-series.html).  I figured that it was something completely off kilter with the author.  However, as I started to read more young adult novels, I noticed that it is a startling trend!  In many—not all—young adult novels, the main love interest tends to be an overbearing, abusive stalker.  And, for the life of me, I cannot understand why.

In this (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/230059544) review on Goodreads, the reader confronts the issues and behavior of a severely unhinged character.  And, even though the behavior is disgusting, the author defends the behavior (http://i814.photobucket.com/albums/zz64/Kemisz86/McGuireBlogpost1.png)!  Honestly, I'm not sure what is worse, writing the behavior or defending it.

To me, the most sickening thing about this is how easily young girls accept this as normal.  They make doe eyes at characters like Edward Cullen and Patch (Hush, Hush love interest); however, these boys are abrasive, verbally and physically abusive, stalkers, and so on.  I cannot understand why authors are writing these characters.  Girls have a hard enough time dealing with self-esteem and self-worth issues on top of the normal teenage angst without adding this element.  These boys are written as these beautiful, dark, mysterious man any girl would want, so it is natural that teenage girls will flock after them.  However, teenagers are very impressionable.  They use young adult novels as a way to experience life and to show them life lessons.  What are we telling this new generation of women?  We are teaching them to be weak, that they are not worth a decent man, etc.  And, to take it further, it is showing boys that this is desirable behavior.

People, with the continuation of these books and male leads, we are creating and nurturing a generation of abusers, stalkers, and victims.  Girls—and, of course, boys—need good, strong role models.  They need to be taught to value themselves and others.  Relationships where one partner will mention that they have considered killing you (Hush, Hush) or sat outside your window watching you sleep (Twilight) is not cute or attractive.  I'm sorry, but it is wrong and not normal behavior.

I could go on and on about this.  I feel very, very strongly about the current trend in young adult books.  And I am seriously concerned at the attitude of acceptance by parents, readers, and authors.  Teenagers do not have enough life experience to understand the serious ramifications of these behaviors; however, the completely blase response of the authors and the rising trend of this character base is a serious concern.







Sinn

2 comments:

  1. Wow that's really interesting. I haven't read a lot of YA, but I've noticed some rants about this in specific book reviews, like Obsidian. I guess it's part shallowness because these boys look gorgeous, and who wouldn't want such a gorgeous guy paying attention to us?

    At the same time, some of the heroines (not all) are shown with spunk who can stand up to such boys. These heroines standing up to the abuse is used to show girls that they don't have to take that BS from the guys. (not Twilight of course) I suppose it's the part of us that sees the redeeming quality in these dangerous and abusive boys that makes us like them so much?

    Of course, this depends on the book. The excerpt you linked was way over the line, but sometimes a rough exterior really does hide a soft heart. I just hope that the readers realize that in real life if someone acts like that they're bound to be thrown in juvie or something.

    Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree, the reviewer was too harsh. And I agree, sometimes it does hide a soft heart. I think she really did care, but was passionate in the wrong way.

    Strong heroines in books are wonderful! Yes, not all young adult books have a weak heroine with dark, abusive boys. Those are awesome, and I comment the author!!

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and leave your input :)

    ReplyDelete

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.