The YA Dystopian Book Club discussion

Book Discussion > Are female leads in YA dystopian novels good role models?

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jess (new)

Jess (delveintodystopia) I am trying to find out whether or not female leads in young adult dystopian novels are positive role models. I would love to hear everyone's view on the subject, especially due to the controversy over the matter.
Delve into Dystopia

message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather (hersecretsmile) | 49 comments Honestly I think it depends on the novel and how seriously you take the actions of fictional characters.

Also, people are always going to have different answers to these questions depending on their morals, beliefs, etc. So it is really a tough question to answer.

Personally I believe some of the characters are excellent role models while others are not so much. In the end I think it's important to remember these characters are fictional though.

message 3: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Conley (gecizzle) The problem is, most heroines in YA dystopian novels are rebels. They want to get away from their families. They want adventure. Danger. Boys. Etc. Pretty much typical teenage stuff. But, positive role models? Not so much.

Andrea: BookStoreFinds (bookstorefinds) | 27 comments I think it depends on the Character. Take Katniss for example. She takes care of her family, she makes tough decisions, she fights for what she believes in. She's a role model.

Then there's female characters like Bella Swan. Who fall apart when they're boy friend leaves them. Not such a role model.

I would prefer my daughter (if I had one) read a Katniss over a Bella anyday!

Andrea: BookStoreFinds (bookstorefinds) | 27 comments Not that twilight is dystopian, but you get my point. Lol

message 6: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Hancock (tommyhancock) | 196 comments I think these characters, as with most main characters, male or female, are and aren't good role models. Most characters are fairly layered and exhibit traits I'd want to see in my children, and then traits I'd really rather not haha.

message 7: by Betty (last edited Oct 27, 2014 03:35PM) (new)

Betty Cross (bettycross) | 70 comments Andrea wrote: "I think it depends on the Character. Take Katniss for example. She takes care of her family, she makes tough decisions, she fights for what she believes in. She's a role model. "

I think Katniss is a problematic character, and that making her that way was Suzanne Collins' intention. Reading the books I was on her side, but she seemed to have a hard time caring about anybody outside of Prim, Gale, and Peeta. Only in the course of Mockingjay does she finally figure out that all the Districts have to be united to beat the Capitol, and that helping unite them was something that she wanted to do. She's not only a reluctant rebel, but also a reluctant patriot.

But I have to say, she is admirable in a lot of ways.

June Iparis in the Legend series and Tris Pryor in the Divergent books are more admirable in some ways. They both throw themselves into the fray without hesitation, for the sake of a higher principle, even if their immediate family members are not involved.

message 8: by Madi (last edited Oct 27, 2014 10:38PM) (new)

Madi I agree with most of the comments above. It does depend on the characters and it also depends on you. Your worldview and values shape the way you see characters and what characteristics you admire. No character is perfect. If they were all books would be super boring. So I think you have to look at the characters as a whole and evaluate what traits would or would not be good to model.

message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Haight | 22 comments Of course they are - how could they not be? Any lead can be a good role model as long as you're willing to emulate the good choices they make, male or female.

Notanotherjenagain | 1 comments Most definitely depends on the character. I can say with certainty however that they are far greater role models than musicians in the damned pop industry these days!

message 11: by J.K. (new)

J.K. Ullrich (jkullrich) | 3 comments I think dystopian YA heroines have a unique capacity to be good role models, since their stories often thrust them into challenging situations that demand bravery, ingenuity, loyalty, or other qualities we'd wish to emulate. It's a good opportunity for active female leads rather than the passive damsels populating many other genres.

Sadly, the popularity of the YA dystopia has also led to a lot of worn cliches. I see too many books where the heroine is more concerned with her love life than with overcoming whatever dystopian trope threatens her world. I tried to avoid this in my own novel, Blue Karma. Although I involved my heroine, Amaya, in a romantic subplot--because everyone wants to root for a little romance!--I didn't want her to start off tough and smart, then melt into an indecisive jelly the moment some boys came along. So her own goals take precedence over pursuing a love interest.

Female leads in YA dystopia are no different from any other protagonist, male or female: it's an individual character's traits and actions that make them a worthy role model. Gender and genre are irrelevant.

message 12: by Paige (new)

Paige Turner | 2 comments I do believe that there are positive female lead role models. While there is a major problem with female role models only caring about boys/the love triangle and not about true tasks at hand. But I found the following books to not follow this method. I included links to my reviews of books I felt had good female role models, hope they help!

message 13: by Tess (new)

Tess Alley (tessalley) | 3 comments I, personally, think that the best characters are the ones that aren't perfect role models. Having a perfect character that always make the right decisions would basically make them a Mary Sue - and no one wants to read that. That being said, I do love characters that eventually learn from their mistakes - as in Katniss Everdeen's case, as she eventually learnt that the districts would need to be united.

message 14: by Rose (new)

Rose Thomas | 6 comments I think some can be to some readers, I'm in agreement with the commenter Paige above, the problem tends to be the main character caring about boys and love triangles and that in my opinion maybe isn't the best of role models.

I don't mind some romance in stories but some tend to make a story more in what the main character can do for the love interest and about love triangles than the story in general.

You'll never make the perfect character and great female lead who is a fantastic role model, but you can make them relatable with their traits and choices throughout the story.

back to top