Let’s Talk Stereotypes

I got $50 in B&N gift cards for Christmas. I spent 90 percent of that money on YA lit of various genres (I also downloaded some mysteries and one romance that bordered on erotic…oops).

I’ve ranted on YA paranormal romances before, but I’ve realized that character stereotyping extends into all the other YA genres too.

Here’s what I’ve noticed this week:
  • Everybody hates the cheerleaders (there is a whole post in this one subject, but I’ll leave that for another day).
  • The male character (MC/Love Interest/What Not) is always too gorgeous…never just good looking. He’s also super talented – a standout athlete, an incredible musician, a poet. Cause that’s realistic.
  • The female characters always fall into two categories: 1) doesn’t know she’s pretty, and not popular or 2) knows she’s pretty and is popular. Rarely (very rarely) we have a fat MC, a zitty MC.
  • The female MCs have one of two personalities: 1) super sassy, sarcastic, and bitter or 2) super sassy and sarcastic, but less bitter…maybe funny in her bitterness instead.

I actually have a million other thoughts on this subject, but I’ve got three extra kids today. My friends are helping with a funeral and I’m the official day care center.

BUT, I want to know what stereotypes you see in YA literature. Any thoughts?

3 Comments

  • Demitria

    Hi Becky, following your blog now.

    I think that there is a stereotype for female characters, but the truth is most teenage girls are sarcastic and don’t think they’re very pretty. At least from my expereince anyway. I’m not saying it’s always that way, but I can defitely relate more to a surly teen (since I was one myself) then to a happy, well-adjusted teen.

    I agree that too many main characters have guys drooling over them but are clueless as to why. I would like to see more quirky characters or even just girls who are good at sports or chemistry.

    Great post.

    demitrialunetta.blogspot.com.

  • Kathryn

    I agree. I think the only exception I’ve seen recently is Kelly Creagh’s “Nevermore”, in which the female protagonist is a cheerleader, but smart and actually really sweet. It was a rejection of the cheerleader stereotype that I really appreciated.

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