Friday, 5 September 2014

YA Tropes I Hate: Female Protagonists

Friday, 5 September 2014

Now I'm sure we all have those bookish pet peeves, whether it's dog-earing pages or simply cracking spines, it's something we have in common. But if there's one thing that really grinds my guts in YA novels it's an annoying female protagonist.

Don't get me wrong, female main characters can do a lot of good and if there's one thing we need more of, it's kick-ass female characters (and this is when we praise Sarah J. Maas for the enigma that is Caleana Sardothien) BUT female characters can quickly take the turn from 'hell yeah' to 'hell no' and this is how to do it.

                                              Annoying Things that Female MCs do.

The Short Factor

This is particularly annoying to me. How many girls do you know in real life that are below average height? I would probably say around two or three. So why is it that in books the main character is almost always 'tiny' or 'short'? Is it to portray a sense of vulnerability? Is it so they can be cute? Is it so you can use the line 'She may be tiny but she is fierce'? 

I truly don't understand why authors do this. Female characters can be 6'2 and still kick-ass, they can be 5'4 and I'm pretty sure the villain or the love interest or whoever else would NOT GIVE A DAMN. In fact, I don't give a damn what height the character is, truly, throughout reading the whole book I can forget if the character is meant to be a giant but then you throw in the line "finally my short height has an advantage" or "I'm so short I can't see through the crowd" then I immediately roll my eyes, grind my teeth and add it onto another list of books that think being short is the only way you can defeat the enemy.

"I can't live, if living is without you"

Really? Really?? 

I don't know why people think this is romantic or whatever, up until I was sixteen I thought that if you truly loved someone you wouldn't be able to go on with your life after they left you. You know what? That's a load of bull. 

You shouldn't be so dependent on your boyfriend that you can't face the idea of living without them, that's not cute, that's not 'beautiful', that's self-damaging. I've read so many books where the love interest has left the MC for some reason or other and then the MC decides that actually 'no, this is too much for me' and cries in their bed for three days, starves themselves, doesn't shower and then only goes back to normal when their 'other half' finally realises their mistake and comes crawling back.


*delirium spoiler read at your own risk*

One of the only characters I can remember that doesn't do this, is Lena from Delirium. When Alex dies, yeah she grieves for a few days maybe, but after that she gets back up and she keeps on trucking. Now that is a kick-ass character. She takes her pain and she lives on it, she thrives on it and it makes her stronger. She can live without Alex, she does live without Alex and it's beautiful.

This is also pretty equal to changing your whole future based on what your boyfriend/girlfriend is doing, which is equally as frustrating.

'I'm not like other girls'

Well well well, what do we have here? Another unhealthy thing to promote to teenage girls? Wow, there seems to be a lot of those.

This right here is the classic line I'm sure a lot of contemporary (or even non-contemporary) readers have seen: "I'm not like other girls" this line is really frustrating especially as it usually continues on something like this "I like to read and write, I don't concern myself with relationships or Hollywood gossip and I hate going shopping" which, although you might not realise it, is damaging to girls who actually do these things. 

When I was around the age of thirteen/fourteen and I first came across the line "I'm not like other girls" I thought that I needed to change who I was so that my life could be like it is in the books. 

Why can't we have a character who goes shopping, gets her nails done, goes to pilates, is always focused on what's happening in celebrities lives, wears heels, giggles, sets aside twenty minutes every day to do her make up but who also reads and is smart and focused on her future career why can't we merge both of these characters into a kick-ass girl because all girls are kick-ass and all girls are AWESOME.

Please, don't do anything stupid.

This one is dedicated to those Female MCs who always make hasty decisions. Please stop doing that. Use your brain. Please don't do that. Why did you do that. Oh no. Oh dear. Here we go again.



'Average Looking' why can't you admit that you are kick-ass stunning and then go and kick-ass?



  1. Barely 5'3'' here and still a badass (aka we do exist)!!


      (most of my friends are quite short and still badass - it just feels like it's ALL I read sometimes)

  2. Some of the short heights make me think, "Really?" becuase I tend to find a lot of mentions of short girls. What's wrong with a tall girl and a short guy together, for a change? And I could slap so many characters for being stupid. And do not get me started on the whole "I'm different" thing that some characters do.

    And also, hi! I jumped over here from Sandra, and it's nice to see more of you! And also, do you have a Bloglovin' for your blog because that's how I follow blogs. But the link right now is to your profile, and I can't see if you do a have a blog. *hugs* And nice to meet you!

    1. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who gets irritated with some of these!

      Hey! Thank you sweetie!!!! I do, yes. (the button was linked to the wrong page but it should be working now - sorry about that)

      It's nice to meet you too and I hope to be seeing more from you :)