Discussion posts are something I’ve been thinking about adding to my blog for a while now and the New Year seemed like a perfect time to start, let’s just pretend I posted this sometime in January rather than waiting until the end of February to get started.
Granted this does depend on my blogging/reading schedule but I’d like to post these two times a month. I’m not sure how this will work so please bear with me for the first few posts as I work out the format and the writing style and everything else that comes with posting discussions on WordPress, but now onto the topic;
Why is There So Much Girl Hate in YA Fiction?
If any of you have been following Liam’s Obsidian Chapter Recap posts over at Hey Ashers you’ll remember the moment Katy and Ash meet for the first time and it’s hate at first sight. There’s a flimsy reason in the book why Ash doesn’t like Katy but when it boils down to it the main reason is likely Daemon’s affections (and based on Liam’s chapter recaps that’s not a prize any girl should be fighting over.)
This seems to be a trend in YA fiction and honestly I’m starting to get tired of them. What kind of messages does it send to readers that the only female relationships they can have are ones based on mutual hatred and petty squabbling? The more I think of it the more I struggle to come up with any female relationships that aren’t girl hate ones or familial relationships, and don’t get me wrong it’s great to see a sisterly bond like the kind Scarlett and Tella have in Caraval but it’s not quite the same.
RoseBlood is the book I read the most recently that I noticed this trend in but it’s certainly not the only one out there. When Rune arrives in her new school, because of her musical possession curse, she ends up stealing the spotlight from another girl and showing her up during her audition for the end of year musical. And from that second we, as readers, were supposed to root for Rune and support her in her battle for supremacy over Katarina.
“About Katarina,” I wind my hair into a side braid, tying the ends in a knot. “Is she the kind to hold grudges?”
“You bet she is.”
Great. Could things get any worse?
The introduction we get to Katarina’s character is that she is the Queen Bee at RoseBlood – the girl who has never had any competition for the lead role, is determined and ambitious, and has a crush on a boy – and from that information alone we are supposed to root for Rune to knock her down a few pegs. If you think about the story from Katarina’s point of view, especially during that first interaction the characters have, Rune appears from nowhere and shows her up for a role she has been working towards for years. Surely it’s understandable that she has a little bit a grudge towards the other girl.
Couldn’t their story have turned out differently?
Instead though Katarina is cast as a direct competition for Rune throughout RoseBlood and there’s nothing redeemable about her character from the interactions they have.
It’s not just the disturbing trend of girl hate in YA fiction but the lack of female friendships overall. In The Raven Cycle series, which is still one of my all-time favourites, there is no female friendship for Blue although she does have her family to provide some of the female relationship dynamic. I can name a lot of strong male friendships – Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah from the Raven Cycle, and Kell and Rhy from the Shades of Magic series – and even more friendships between a male and female character – Sam and Miel from When the Moon Was Ours, and Juliette and Kenji from the Shatter Me series – but hardly any female friendships.
I’m not saying get rid of any of these dynamics; the banter between Rhy and Kell is one of my favourite aspects of the Shades of Magic series, and the support Kenji and Juliette offer one another was wonderful to read. All I’m saying is give us more healthy girl friendships that aren’t built on a basis of backstabbing and thinly veiled threats.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Have you read many books that feature girl hate between two characters? What are your opinions on those kind of relationships in YA fiction?
Are there any books you can recommend with strong female friendships (I’m seriously looking for recommendations here people)?
Or, on the other hand, do you enjoy reading relationships like that between Rune and Katarina? If so what about them do you enjoy reading?
Let me know in the comments below.