Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Discussion: Give me more ugly people in YA!

May I have your attention please? I just want the world to know that I want more ugly people in YA(young adult) novels. What is your opinion on the matter?

 

We've all started out as tiny buds, as a young adult one is
on a journey towards full blossoming.
Photo by kaktuslampan via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Stunning 
By ugly people I mean normal people, if ugly is the correct term for those of us who doesn't look like stunning beauties? It sure is easy to interpret it that way these days. For the supernatural creatures beauty might be the norm, but honestly I’m tired of the perfect YA characters. I mean come on come up with something else and let young adults feel that they way they look are fine, perfectly normal! Girls don't have to have perfect, shiny, blond/red/brown/black/blue (whatever!) hair falling in lush waves down their straight back. Boys don't have to have muscles that give of so much reflection from the sun the girls nearly go blind from it.

Diversity = true
I want to have some real people in my books. Teens quite often do have zits for one(!), some are chubby, some are overweight, some are very long, some are very skinny, some are short, some have a crocked nose, some have scars and so on. Of course some are picture perfect but that doesn't necessarily mean that life is any easier for them! What I want to say with this little rant is that I want diversity, a good blend.

And yeah, I feel the same way about all the pretty girls that is overrepresented on book covers these days as well.

Do you have any opinions on the matter? Is it ok that YA seem to be overflowing with ideals that might not be all that healthy for young adults' perception of self?

An author that I love for setting the spotlight on this beautification of our society is Scott Westerfeld and for that I love him.

Remember that to the world you are someone, but to someone you are the world.

With love from your average girl, Mari!

17 comments:

  1. THANK GOD someone said this! I am not a teen anymore, but I do get depressed when I read about all those gorgeous girls and boys in the books. I mean, it's not very believable. I'm 26 and still chibby, with occasional zit and hair that has bad day every other day. Why do books depict teens as Beauty Queens and Charming Prince when the majority of readers are just...normal?

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    1. Thanks :) I'm glad there are more of us that feels the same way. I don't see the need to saturate novels with people who looks almost almost identical to each other. That's not healthy.

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  2. Thanks for writing this! What you said is all so true. Teens in the YA genre always seem to be portrayed as "perfect" or with one little flaw that the love interest insists is adorable. Why can't we get a slightly chubby MC with frizzy brown hair and a wonky left toe? More people could relate to that then to the perfect blue eyed blonde.

    Is it that the authors are scared that if they write an "ugly" character then no one will read their book? Because I can tell you that I would be MORE apt to read that book than the one with the gorgeous characters.

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    1. I suspect you are on to something there, Robyn. It can look like (at lest some) authors feel pressured into writing these picture perfect characters. Like you I would love an author for giving me characters with flaws, not only in their personality.

      I'm currently reading Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta and the MC is, at least currently, in love with a boy who isn't the prettiest in the world but she fell for him for a thousand other reasons. The reality of it all just makes me love the book even more!

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  3. Amen til den, Mari! Jeg kunne ikke vært mere enig :) Klem fra Anette :)

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  4. I agree. It's hard no matter what age to read about these beautiful (and rich...what is with everyone having unlimited amounts of money) characters and then go and look in the mirror. What about characters that we can relate to or at least trip in mud puddle or squirt mustard on their shirts?

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    1. Yeah, that very rarely happens. Ohh... the bathing in money part is so annoying. Prettiness and money is ok, but in some books it seems like it's the norm when it quite clearly isn't(even less in these financially difficult times around the world). I couldn't get over that in Angelfire, I noticed that you loved the book but I struggled a lot with all the brands Ellie kept bragging of owning items from.

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  5. Internet stole my comment...arghhhhhhhhhh

    Anyway, yes more diversity! People do not all have shiny hair and sparkling eyes. And are pretty without knowing it *rolls eyes*

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    1. Most people with shiny hair can be found in adds for this or that magical shampoo + conditioner LOL Although I have a spray that is supposed to make my hair shine a bit more(what can I say? I blame the bad influence on the pretty ppl in YA ;)).

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  6. I agree. Sometimes it's hard to read about all those perfect characters who seem to have it all. People aren't perfect, that's impossible. And well, imperfections make someone real, make someone likeable and believable and unique.
    Like Robyn said, it's nearly as if authors are terrified nobody will read their books if the characters aren't perfect.

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    1. And I agree with you, Sylke :) Well put!

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  7. While I love the fact that authors like to create characters that everybody fawns over - I've been guilty when I was writing - I don't think it's realistic in any sort of setting. This was part of my post on women characters a while back and how they so often have to be perfect -- it's rarer to find the omgperfectman unless it's a romance novel -- and it makes me sad. I LIKE flaws. I LIKE diversity. But it's so hard to find!

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  8. Oh I agree, nothing worse than reading about all these gorgeous people or ones that are geeky and take off their glasses to become beautiful. x

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  9. I agree. I love books where the character is normal as people I know, in the sense that the person is not perfect both, in appearance and manner. It does not mean that there may not be something unusual about the person, such as unusual magical powers or something. I like magic. What I mean is that the person does not have to look like a super model and behave as a perfect being.

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  10. Åååh jeg er så enig med deg Mari! Helt fantastisk innlegg! :)
    Engelsken min er ikke helt stø så tidlig om morgenen, så jeg går for norsk ;) Håper det går greit!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)