This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.
Do excuse the extremely unoriginal title of this discussion, but I really didn’t know what to name this. Also, if you were expecting Rome pics and stuff, SURPRISE! I really don’t have enough time to upload everything right now, but at some point I will do so. That is, if anyone’s interested in pictures of churches, Rome, churches, gelato, churches, churches, did I mention churches? Rome has A LOT of them.
Anyway, today I wanted to talk about the Best Friend. Or female friendships. Whatever you want to call it. And coincidentally (or maybe not. For all you know, we’re REALLY organized at YMR. Spoiler: no, we’re not.), this also fits with last week’s subject (slut shaming, in case you’d forgotten). In YA, the main character usually has at least one (best) friend. Right now, there seem to be two types of best friends out there: the one that’s completely awesome and is definitely a good fit for the main character (yay!) and the polar opposite who’s actually kind of bitchy and toxic and pushy (nay!). Not that I have a problem with bitchy characters, but this is usually the kind of ‘best friend’ that turns out to be a professional backstabber. Which brings me to my real issue: the way girls/women seem to look at each other in books.
Of course, there are books that are extremely awesome and don’t have any of the following, books that are YAY female empowerment and YAY great female friendships, and I want to snuggle all of those books tight and never let go. But there are also books like this:
The last girl I see, I want to strangle. […] She has cream-colored skin and a body that belongs in a magazine – the kind for guys, not girls.I hate her with everything I have as she laughs her perfect laugh and tosses her hair and crosses her to-die-for legs. […] We could be friends, I realize, if I wasn’t so overwhelmed with the urge to end her.
Fire & Flood, by Victoria Scott
Fishnet leans against Blake’s SUV in a too-short skirt and too-low top. A second girl with round, fake boobs whispers in her ear as they watch Blake approach.
Silver, by Talia Vance
Quotes like these make me want to cry. Is this really the message we wish to send to young girls out there? That good-looking girls are your enemies (but good-looking guys your Dream Boy)? That you should judge people based on what they wear? That it’s okay to call someone a slut because they wear a short skirt? No. No no no no no no. What I want to see in books is a strong female friendship. What I want to see in books is reconsidering your opinion of someone because they didn’t turn out the way you thought. What I want to see in books is girls supporting each other, not tearing each other down.
A book can be such an important influence on people. Books provide examples, books allow you to learn. And I don’t want that example or lesson to be that other girls are evil, or that wearing a short skirt is bad. I learned so much through reading books. The way I see the world was and is influenced by books. And I want books to be a positive influence. I don’t want to look at another girl and be “overcome with the urge to end her”. I don’t want to look at another girl and see a rival, an enemy. I want to look at another girl and see her exactly for what she is: a person in her own right, a personality. I want to see the shy girls and the daydreamers and the girl with a loud laugh and the sunny girl and a person.
And I want others to see that, too.
Of course, girl-on-girl hate exists. There are people who simply don’t get along. There are people who just tend to irk you no matter what. There are people you’re jealous of. I’m not opposed to seeing that in books. It is reality, and that is -partly- what I’m looking for in books. But I also want books to show that first impressions aren’t always correct, that that girl you secretly hate is actually really nice, or that the person currently dating your crush can be a good friend. I want to see the positive side.
What do you think of girl-on-girl hate?
By the way, I’m in no way trying to imply that the books mentioned above are bad books. In fact, I haven’t even read Fire & Flood. They just happened to have quotes that fit the subject well.
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