If you’ve read my YA is Maturing & It’s Good! Discussion you know my discussions are kind of all over the place and rambly. This one is no different. I got a bit sidetracked on certain topics but this is a topic I am pretty passionate about. Characters don’t have to be perfect, especially female characters. The pressure this creates is ridiculous.
This was just a prelude to prepare you for the mess that is this post.
You know what I’m sick of? Reading the same female character over and over again. They’re typically the same. A nice girl, typically short, a modest fashion sense, and will only do the right thing throughout the book. Maybe I just hate reading about characters like me. I mean I’m not short (5’10 and counting) but I am definitely what one would have called a nice girls years ago. However, let’s be real. The nice girls we read about in fiction are typically not realistic. At least over here in Australia.
For me though, over the past four years, I have simply stopped giving a fuck what people thought of me and morphed into what fiction would call an unlikeable character. I tried so hard for years to be the nice girl and make everyone happy and that made me miserable. Hence why I think authors only writing about ‘innocent’ nice girls is pretty problematic to the changing world.
This is why I love unlikeable characters. What makes an unlikeable female character? Well, you hate her for the same reasons you love your favourite male characters.
That’s right. I said it. At least on Goodreads, this is. The number of reviews I read that slam a female character for actually doing something that is realistic. The sheer number of reviews I read where people slam a female character for flirting with someone is ridiculous. I am blown away every time I read someone slams a character for saying something ‘bitchy’. I don’t believe anyone in this world has gone their whole life without saying a ‘bitchy’ comment.
Everyone seems to hate females when they don’t fit the mould that society has given them to fit into. There is the argument now as well that you can’t be a strong female character if you like makeup and wear dresses which is such complete bullshit. However, that is a different topic so I won’t stress on that too much here.
Unlikeable female characters are flawed. They aren’t the best people and they make mistakes. They show us that it’s okay to make mistakes and to learn from them – as these characters tend to. That it’s okay to be young and dumb. You don’t have to be the most well behaved 14 years old just because you read books, despite the fact that’s what the media tells you.
I spent too many years of my young life trying to fit into these molds that are created for women. I didn’t laugh too loud, I stayed quiet, held my jokes in and tried to blend into the background. But, you know what? Unlikeable female characters take charge and break hearts. They aren’t here to mess around. They know what they want and they are not letting anyone stand in their way.
That’s what I want to see more in books. Characters that show us it’s okay to make mistakes when we’re young. No one is perfect, no matter what fictional media tries to get us to believe. You’re allowed to make mistakes and grow from them. You are also allowed to be in charge of you’re story. You don’t need to become a background character in someone else because you are trying to remain liked by everyone. I did that and I had a friend tell the whole school I was a slut. You can’t please everyone. The only person you need to please is yourself. Unlikeable female characters show us this.
Happy reading everyone!
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