But let's write some, shall we?
By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer)
A couple of years ago, I was hanging with my friend, Nikki, and she mentioned a new series she was reading called The Hunger Games. After persisting for a few months, I finally caved and dowloaded it to my kindle. I said I’d only do that for the first book and then borrow the rest from her.
Well, for anyone who has read the books, you must know I immediately downloaded the second book after the finishing the first one. I proceeded to devour the whole series in a few weeks.
First of all, I loved the dystopian future Suzanne Collins had created. It wasn’t just a commentary on how war ravages society. It also showed how complacency can allow for evil to take over (*insert reminder to VOTE*), and in some perverted way be masked as entertainment.
Secondly, I was delighted that YA fiction had a female lead character that wasn’t about getting the boy. One of Nikki’s selling points was “Although there is a love triangle, Katniss doesn’t need to be rescued. She’s plenty capable of rescuing herself.” After reading the first 100 pages of the Twilight series and seeing the abysmal portrayal of a teenage girl that is Bella Swan, I had lost some faith in the heroines kids were reading today. I loved that Katniss had plenty of teenage angst, but most of her anger and actions are motivated by a literal need to survive.
Thirdly, there’s now a movie. A pretty fantastic adaptation of the book, if you ask me. It’s hard to make a movie from a story told in first person, and they missed some of the weight certain moments had in the book. But all in all, I thought they did a great job of staying true to the story.
I know this has been said, but it needs to be said again: we need more heroines like this. We need more stories with female leads that are not about getting the guy. Women have more stories to tell than just that.
Also, we need to connect the fact that female stories are human stories. Boys can like them too! Did you know that Jo Rowling’s publishers made her take the nom de plume "J.K." because they didn’t think boys would read a book written by a woman? That is not okay! Believing that is one thing, but perpetuating that ideal is quite another.
Where am I going with this? We need to tell all the stories. Not just the ones we think we know. Maybe I’m painting with a very wide brush, but we can fill in the details later.
Or maybe during NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll take a stab at writing some YA fiction!
Who am I kidding? I like the word “fuck” way too much to write for children.
is a native New Yorker and theatre baby. Her plays have been produced by The 52nd Street Project and Starfish Theatreworks. She currently makes a living as a Broadway treasurer.
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