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I have said this before, but once again, I am tired of the way teenage girls are not supposed to show sexual desire in, like, nearly all of bestselling YA literature. Even in the Hunger Games, which otherwise I quite admire, Katniss only barely starts noticing, after MONTHS of kissing Peeta, that, huh, it's occasionally *fun* to kiss him. And of course (SPOILERS, HI) a certain pregnancy rumor has to go hand-in-hand with a marriage rumor--because a heroic female would never have sex before marriage, even in a world where tributes stroll around naked to please the crowd.

Authors and prudish Americans at large, you are NOT doing teenage girls any favors by holding up only the chaste young women as the role models. You are indirectly (and sometimes directly) suggesting that all sexual feelings are to be suppressed and are something to be ashamed of, and that a "good" girl doesn't go beyond kissing AT ALL until after marriage. (I suppose you say the same to boys, but with much less force, because hey, boys do what they're going to do, right?) You are only giving our young women complexes, far more than you're giving them valuable role models. They're going to have those feelings whether you discourage them or not.

All I can do is rant occasionally, and of course write my own books in which teens find healthy and relatively safe ways to enjoy each other sans clothing. Which I shall keep doing. So there.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
gillianinoz
Sep. 30th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
I was watching Grease on TV last night, for the first time in years and I realised the best female character was Rizzo. Frank and open about her sexuality, enjoying her life. "With relish" as she would say.

But the heroine is Sandy. The professional virgin, poor man's Sandra Dee, who proceeds to change everything aout herself in the end of the movie, just to get the guy.

That was 1978 - sexual revolution time. The only thing that has changed between then and now is that Rizzo would probably die horribly by the end of the movie.


mollyringle
Sep. 30th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
"Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" was always my favorite song from "Grease" as a kid. Now I see why, perhaps. :D

Yeah...it's all kind of messed up in that movie. Sandy is dull, but Danny treats her rather horribly, so he isn't worth changing her entire being for, yet that's the happy ending. And even Rizzo takes punishment for being sexual--pregnancy scare, reputation damage, relationship problems. Luckily she does get Kenickie back. ;) Agreed; nowadays she'd die of a miscarriage or something.
rachel2205
Sep. 30th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? I found the depiction of YA sexuality refreshing. The 17 year old heroine is gasp, not a virgin!
mollyringle
Sep. 30th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
And she isn't *punished* for being not a virgin? Gasp! :) In any case, haven't read it, but it looks lovely. Adding it to my list.
rachel2205
Sep. 30th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
I just read it this week - it has some flaws, but I think it's a really good example of intelligent fantasy YA fiction.
polygonia
Oct. 1st, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
it's sooooooooooo good.
polygonia
Oct. 1st, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
there will be lesbian sex in my teenage were creature book.

It won't be graphic though, but it will exist.
mollyringle
Oct. 1st, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
Letting LGBT kids know they can have those feelings too--perhaps even more important! Good on you.
Dean Mayes
Oct. 1st, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Stephanie Meyer has a lot to to answer for.

Have you guys seen Stockard Channing these days? Solid actress with a decent CV under her belt. Still looks lovely. Olivia Newton John - regularly has plastic surgery competitions with her daughter. Can only score gigs on second rate Australian talent shows. Looks more and more like Jack Nicholson's "The Joker" every day.
mollyringle
Oct. 2nd, 2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
Ouch! Poor ol' Sandy. :) I do still like some of her tunes, but those movies she was in *were* ridiculous. Don't even get me started on "Xanadu". (I have a love/ridicule relationship with it.)
naill_renfro
Oct. 2nd, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
No disagreement with the basic point, but I think Katniss isn't the best example. I never thought I'd find myself defending THG, a series with which I could find fault all day... But the lack of sexual tension between K & P, at least on K's side, is essential to the overall mood of bleakness the author is creating. If Katniss is *actually* lusting after Peeta, or even strongly attracted to him, it undermines the central point (of the first book, especially) that Katniss is faking the romance to survive. The book isn't meant to be romantic; it's meant to be grim, and at that it succeeds.
mollyringle
Oct. 2nd, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
It's true, Katniss really isn't the best example. It's what I was reading at the time (just finished Catching Fire and began Mockingjay), so it got me thinking, and ranting. I'm not sure how in-the-mood I'd be in the arena, either. Dystopia World isn't the most relevant setting for my rant. Even the Twilight series isn't entirely relevant, as super-strength boys can inadvertently injure mortal girls in moments of passion, which needs to be taken into consideration. (Still, of course Bella and Edward get *married* before trying it...oy.) But yeah, the basic problem can be found in real-world fiction all over the place.

Total sidenote, though related on the subject of physical attractiveness: saw The Avengers! Great fun. I think I was at a disadvantage in that I don't know comic books much at all, and hadn't seen, like, any of the movies preceding and relevant to this one. (Half of Iron Man is all I've seen. Haven't seen The Hulk, Captain America, Thor...) That might have helped. Still, pretty people abounded. And RDJ made it 2.5 times funnier than it would've been without him. Naturally I burst into giggles when he called Hawkeye "Legolas."
naill_renfro
Oct. 4th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
She lives in a concentration camp and is forced to fight other victims to the death for the entertainment of her jailers - any attempt to eroticize that would have been in rather poor taste. (I know opinions are divided about the sex scene in 1984.)

But ah, the Avengers! That's why fiction should exist: To be fun. (And in this case, for some of the audience at least, to provide eye candy.) Alas, it's parody-proof - too self-consciously aware, and amused.

I never followed the Marvel comics universe either, which I think actually helped, b/c I didn't have to rebel at any deviations from canon. (And I've rebelled often enough at the deviations in the LOTR and HP movies...) I had seen Thor & Iron Man I & II before, and I've seen Captain America since; I'm sure there'll be a boxed set for the Christmas season.

I saw it with five kids - four teenage girls and a five-year-old boy - and everyone loved it. The violence is of a cartoonish, non-threatening kind, not too scary for a five-year-old, but with enough grown-up nmaterial to keep his parents entertained. It's almost enough to make me forgive Joss Whedon for Dollhouse.
mollyringle
Oct. 4th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
Indeed, dystopias are not sexy. Maybe that's part of my reluctance to write about them. Still, Peeta and Gale both find time to harbor heavy crushes, which makes it feel a bit like we have the old message, "Boys have desires; girls don't." Then again, the idea of getting pregnant in that world would be enough to put off any girl, and District 12 barely had hot water, so I doubt they had birth control; so...yeah, I forgive it.

Hah, I know; Stark's lines in "The Avengers" (and the lines of many others, on occasion) were pretty much what I would've put in a parody. Nothing left for me to do there. Wonder how we can convince Joss to stick to lightheartedness? I haven't even tried Dollhouse. Enough people have given it awful reviews.

We let the kids watch it, and they seemed fascinated with the fights and explosions. The only thing that seemed scary to the 3-year-old was Iron Man's mask. Hee. Go figure.

I might see "Thor" after this, since Loki and Thor did intrigue me. Not *just* because they're cute...though that doesn't hurt.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )