Randomness > Where Have All The Strong Female Roles Gone?

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message 1: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments Ok, so imagine this: you're surfing through the multiple books here on goodreads, and you happen across a few YA books with pretty cool titles. But something weird happens; every time you click on the book to see what its about, and read the description, you find out it's another romance. Ok, not too bad so far. So you go down to the reviews, and there are many bad reviews. And, from each review, you get a general idea that this book is horrible. Why? Because the author tended to borrow from other authors, and because the relationship between the two main characters is almost abusive. And it's like this with so many "popular" YA novels, that you soon start to think, "Where have all the strong, smart heroines gone? The ones who realize that if he beats you and threatens you and that he has explosive bouts of merderous anger, you should STAY AWAY? Where are these strong heroines who choose not to go into dark, dank allyways at night? WHERE ARE THEY?!"

Well, that's exactly the predicament I'm in. I keep searching for good books, and so many of these books I'm finding to be romance novels! Now, if you haven't noticed, I almost always hate romance - it's always so cheesy. I don't care if it's as a backstory, but... ugh, when a books main genre is romance, I tend to die a little inside. And then, after reading the reviews (usually the bad ones, because people who rate it five won't list the pros and cons, but those who rate it two and one do) I find out that said "heroine" is very, very, stupid! For some reason she goes for the dangerous, muderous guy; she always does stupid things like walking alone in the middle of the night, and she always needs assistance of some sort. HOW IN GODS NAME COULD YOU CALL THIS WOMAN A HEROINE?!?!?!

I've seen this in books like:
Hush Hush
The Mortal Instruments


message 2: by Ain020596 (last edited Feb 15, 2010 04:17AM) (new)

Ain020596 Hey, the Mortal Instruments were okay...(sorry, this is totally because of Jace. I liked him, oddly. But i WAS wondering why Clary didnt have much backbone.)
Twilight is just...yeah. Bad.
Hush hush sounded idiotic and I somehow could sense lack of backbone. I didn't read it.

Yeah, I have been wondering the same thing. I was thinking about this yesterday in fact, wondering why in almost all romance stories nowadays, the male heroes are always strong, hot and perfect, but the heroines just suck. Its like a trend. A bad one.
Vampire academy actually had a kickass heroine, but when she got detached from the love-of-her-life, she lost it, and I was kinda disgusted by it. But it didn't turn out too pathetic or clingy, so I'm still ok with it.
People totally should get rid of this trend. We're not living in the 'damsels in distress' century anymore, but in books, it totally shows we are.
Yeah, i agree. I totally need a good heroine-book. ANYONE?

message 3: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments Nancy Werlin's Impossible has a strong, smart heroine. So does The Secret Life of Bees. Most of the books I read are about guys, so... *sweatdrop* the Uglies series has a good one. Yeah but Impossible is mostly romance, not cheesy, just... well, they never argue throughout the course of the book. Though putting that aside it is a wonderful novel. Suzanne Weyn's heroine books all have strong ones, including the fairy tale ones. Her normal books are kinda like Scott Westerfeild's, the same techonology, evil, killer feel; with slight romance back drop.

I love all three of the above authors! And The Book Theif by Markus Zusak has a smart heroine.

message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura (xmagical) Most of Tamora Pierce's books have female heroines who are amazing; I would recommend those if you're looking for some strong female role books.

Tw*light? *shudder* Don't get me started on that...

message 5: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments Thanks guys! I thought I was going to rip out my freaking eyeballs because I couldn't find anything good!

Olivia ^^The Awesome Mushroom^^ (canttaketheawesomeness) | 756 comments IKR!! OMFG! I loved the Uglies series - There wasn't too much romance, so it was pretty good. :)

Fangirl Musings (fangirlmusings) SilverWolf wrote: "Ok, so imagine this: you're surfing through the multiple books here on goodreads, and you happen across a few YA books with pretty cool titles. But something weird happens; every time you click on ..."

LOL, love that thread post, SilverWolf!

There is nothing that burns my soul more than reading a weak, pathetic, wimpy, whiny, crying, witchy-b!+ch heroine who wouldn't know a backbone if it smacked her in the face. In my opinion, I think Twilight has perpetuated the idea that women should be weak @$$es to be loved.

Now, while I happen to be a hardcore fan of the romance genre, I can be very critical of my favored genre. I'm very hard to please, actually, when it comes to these story lines. And when an author slashes this genre in oblivion to the degree in which Meyer has with Twilight, I get angry. I feel that Twilight has turned a LOT of people off to this genre because these books are essentially what critics lambast romance novels over. In truth, authors like Meyer are exactly NOT what good romance writers construct in their stories- I'm speaking outside of YA of course. Frankly, there is NOTHING worse than a badly written romance, and sadly, as a result of Twilight, many people I think have lost even greater respect for this genre.

While I know that many people don't like, or understand, romance, I feel a lot of the unjustified flack has resulted from laughable authors like Meyer, and many of the resulting YA writers who've taken after Meyer's style. I am not saying, though, that it is a genre for everyone. But by that same token I feel a lot more people could enjoy it if it weren't for writers who parallel Meyer's choice of story and characters.

Getting back on topic, though, I would highly recommend Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series. It's not YA, and is technically romance; paranormal romance that is. Although, what's amazing about her story lines are the fact they can speak to anyone. Whether you like a good murder mysery, science fiction, drama, inspirational or action- really no matter what taste in books might be, in every story I've read of Kenyon, all aspects appear in her plots.

I know not everyone likes this genre, or this author even, and I respect that. My only wish is that those who disapprove of both give both a fair shot before slaying either as being "bad."

Just like there are many horrible mystery and science fiction authors, there are countless horrid romance authors. (Random, I know, but said thought was on my mind, lol.)

If you're looking for VERY strong, independent, beautifully written heroines, I greatly suggest reading Sherrilyn Kenyon. She has about 10 different series but the one commonality between them all is the fact that they contain female leads that are a phenomenal role model. Put simply, they're the complete antithesis of the character Bella.

Fangirl Musings (fangirlmusings) PS: I'm not trying to argue with anyone, and I hope no one takes offense to my previous post. I know not everyone likes the same things. I was just throwing my two cents out in the waters I suppose. :)

message 9: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments Thanks Jacqueline! I, personally, don't find romance as the main genre very exciting. I prefer action and adventure before the love-making - however, as a backstory, I think romance is fine if it's done right.

message 10: by Fangirl Musings (new)

Fangirl Musings (fangirlmusings) I know that not everyone will always love every book genre, and I totally get that :). I think what frustrates me so much is the fact that bad authors always give their perspective genre a bad name. And then, what's even worse, is when a bad author makes it, then other authors follow in similar footpaths!

LOL That may have been a bit scatter-brained, but nonetheless it's how I feel.


message 11: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments No, it's totally understandable lol

message 12: by Fangirl Musings (new)

Fangirl Musings (fangirlmusings) :-) Good to know!

message 13: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments :)

Olivia ^^The Awesome Mushroom^^ (canttaketheawesomeness) | 756 comments I loved Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Very headstrong, very feminist. ^_^

message 15: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments Awesome.

message 16: by Randi (new)

Randi (The Artist Formerly known as Guitar Chick) (guitarchick) | 316 comments Again, WOLFY!, i recomend Kiki Strike to everyone here.

I find the same thing with music, it's like all the women musicians nowadays are more about glam then music. And they all sing weepy songs about how their hot boyfriends broke up with them. That's why I like the Runaways, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and others. They aren't weepy. They're tough girls who kick total ass.

message 17: by Myth (last edited Feb 21, 2010 06:24PM) (new)

Myth Hmm, Isn't Maximum Ride centered around a female protagonist (at least her and her group). I haven't read the books yet myself, but I want to sometime.

Anne McCaffery (SP) usually has strong female characters, but not YA fantasy. I enjoyed the Wolf Tower series (it's not actually called that), though the female protagonist wasn't incredibly strong. The world she's in is the most interesting aspect of the books.

message 18: by Killer Queen (last edited Feb 21, 2010 08:25PM) (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) Yeah, but Max's is getting annoying ><
Ah, well, still like the books.
The fifth is better than the fourth, so don't stop.

message 19: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments I'm reading the manga Maximum Ride. At the beginning, when they get their wings. You just flip a page, see the word fwip! and some large wings, then they have wings. I kept flipping back and forth thinking, "What happened to people who didn't have wings??"

I like Iggy, he's awesome.

Olivia ^^The Awesome Mushroom^^ (canttaketheawesomeness) | 756 comments Lol, Max is REALLY feminist, she kinda overdoes it though sometimes.

Olivia ^^The Awesome Mushroom^^ (canttaketheawesomeness) | 756 comments Really? I love Fang


message 22: by Rose (last edited Feb 23, 2010 11:43AM) (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments I thought Fang was a girl until they were flying over to get Angel when Max saw the girl, Emma I think her name was. Max was thinking, "Fang is a pretty cool guy." Again I was awestruck, he looks like a girl! Kinda, to me. It's his hair that throws me off.

message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim Carrow | 111 comments The Everworld girls are pretty good heroines. So are the Animorphs girls.

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Back on topic. I'm sad there are no cool kick butt heroines that can't beat the dudes. Tw* that. It, almost makes it a swear word. ;D I told my friends the rants about Bella and they all agreed.

message 25: by Olivia ^^The Awesome Mushroom^^ (last edited Feb 24, 2010 05:13PM) (new)

Olivia ^^The Awesome Mushroom^^ (canttaketheawesomeness) | 756 comments I thought Max was a boy, until a bunch of chapters later. ;D

message 26: by Killer Queen (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) I knew she was a chick.

message 27: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments Becuase I'm reading the manga I knew she was a girl, but Fang looks like a girl too. Like when you first see him he's putting up his long hair, and to me that automatically registers as female.

message 28: by Killer Queen (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) Well, they did say he had long hair...But THAT long?!

message 29: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments It's longer than mine.

message 30: by Killer Queen (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) And mine.

message 31: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments In the book Fang had shoulder length black messy hair, but because the person who drew them is slightly on crack, she gave Fang hair so long it surpasses the pages. He was supposed to have hair as long as Iggy's, maybe a little longer.

And I think Iggy is the best ;D He's epic.

message 32: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments I know! He's so cool! I just finished the book, the real one with words and no pictures. Being the pairing person I am, I instantly set up Iggy and Max together, but even if Fang scores Max; Iggy shall have his normal human being.

And Max shall stumble upon the two of them in a air-grasping kiss, beginning to tear.... Okay, I'll stop now before it gets too out of control.

message 33: by Killer Queen (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) Iggy and Max?
I dont like the pairing.
And I dont really think she should be w/ anyone...

message 34: by Killer Queen (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) OMG! PICTURE!

message 35: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments Heh....... when you start writing fanfics and don't produce romantic scenes between couples that aren't accented in your original, call me. It's hard not to do.

message 36: by Nightshade (new)

Nightshade | 1257 comments I like Maximum Ride. It's really addicting... And the sixth book comes out in just over a week!! :D

Max is a strong female character, although sometimes James Patterson (the author) overdoes it a little on the feminism. It's like, Umm, before, it was cool that she stands up for herself and equal rights and stuff, but now it's a liiiittle bit much... Then again, he's a guy, so how does he know exactly how a teenage girl thinks? :/

Umm... some series with good female characters (basically, anti-Bella characters):
Harry Potter (but that's a given, you know? XD)
Maximum Ride (like I said before)
The Book Thief
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Shannon Hale's books (Princess Academy, The Goose Girl, etc.)

And they're all AWESOME! :D

message 37: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments In Maximum Ride, no offense to any crazed fangirls out there, James Patterson doesn't write very well. My true honest opinion. His story is really good, but his writing style seems third grader to me. LIke third grader styled, for third graders to read. But it is defintly not a third grader book.

message 38: by Killer Queen (new)

Killer Queen (evilbutterflies) I like how he puts different chapters in different points of view.
If ya'll like Maximum Ride, read JP's adult books When the Wind Blows and The Lake House.

message 39: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments Rose wrote: "In Maximum Ride, no offense to any crazed fangirls out there, James Patterson doesn't write very well. My true honest opinion. His story is really good, but his writing style seems third grader to ..."

I can see why you think that. His writing style sometimes pisses me off to, because the characters don't cuss. I'm not saying that I want dirty-mouthed characters, its just that, when you're fighting someone, and you insult them, you aren't going to take the time to censor yourself, you know? And I agree, he does sometimes overdo it with the femnism. I still love the books though.

message 40: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments It seems really flat to me, nothing new. Nothing that just makes you read it over and over again thinking, wow that's great. Yeah the swearing sometimes gets to me, but they also have a six year old and eight year old in the proximity. But still I would cuss my head off all the time if I were them.

message 41: by Nightshade (new)

Nightshade | 1257 comments Heh, yeah, but then again there's the six- and eight-year-old thing, so that kind of makes sense.

Oh, and I saw on the inside back cover of MAX (the fifth MR book), it said something like... meh, I'll just go get it, because I can't remember it exactly.

message 42: by Nightshade (new)

Nightshade | 1257 comments Here it is.

"Special care has been taken with the language and content of MAX."

What the heck? "Special care"?! What's that supposed to mean? Ugh. *facepalm*

Rose wrote: "In Maximum Ride, no offense to any crazed fangirls out there, James Patterson doesn't write very well. My true honest opinion. His story is really good, but his writing style seems third grader to ..."

Yeah, I agree. I mean, he can tell a good story, and his characters are well-developed and all, but his writing style just... ugh. It's like an insult to my intelligence! He writes like he's talking to a third-grade audience, just like you said! I mean, seriously, even in his more "adult" books (looking at you, Alex Cross), it's just like "And then she ran out into the road. A man in a black truck hit the brakes. He jumped out of the cab and ran over. 'Are you okay?' he asked." I mean, really? Really now?! Don't worry, we have BRAINS! We can read ABOVE a fourth-grade level!!

Although Alex Cross has some language. I was like "Whoa, going out on an adventure, are we?" (Sarcasm intended.)

message 43: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments YOU UNDERSTAND! YEA! There's nothing interesting about his writing style, to put it out there.

message 44: by Nightshade (new)

Nightshade | 1257 comments YEAH! I mean, James Patterson can definitely tell a good story, and he's got a good plot and characters and such, but it's like... Ugh, would you PLEASE brush up on your writing?! We're intelligent beings, you know!! You can't write a YA book with a third-grade reading level!

message 45: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments I completely agree.

And does anyone else think he's taking it too far with Maximum Ride? I mean, come on! Six books of them doing practically nothing. I mean, was I the only one who expecting Max to save the world from freakin' armageddon when Jeb said that Max had to save the world?!?!?!?!

message 46: by Fangirl Musings (new)

Fangirl Musings (fangirlmusings) I've yet to read any of the Maximum Ride series- despite having heard everything, and weirdly enough, nothing, about this series.

Yeah. LOL. Figure that one out!

message 47: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments Yeah my friend said it started dragging after book number 3. I just finished 2, so I still don't know what's gonna happen.

It's amazing that we just don't only hate on Twilight here. SEE WE HAVE LIVES!!

(or at least most of us)

message 48: by AA (new)

AA | 1397 comments XD LOL well, yeah. After #3 it starts to get really boring...

message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim Carrow | 111 comments 4 has to do with saving the world from global warming. I refuse to count the books after 3 as part of the series. The series ended after 3. Book 4? What are you talking about? You're so silly.

Although, the real irony is this: James Patterson said if a million people posted on his site asking for the series to continue, it would. Then Book 4 came out, and it sucked. But we brought it upon ourselves.

message 50: by Rose (new)

Rose (iceclaw) | 2069 comments Yeah if I were an author with a bunch of fangs I wouldn't ask their opinion about anything. You can't let the books lose you and your thoughts and your actions. Their yours, not the fans.

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