Monday, March 7, 2016

YA Interrobang's Brilliant Article on Sexism in YA

Somehow I missed this, but there were enough tweets this morning to point me in the direction of this brilliant, thoroughly researched article by Nicole Brinkley on YA Interrobang.  You can read it here.  Take the time to read it, please.

I remember many of those Twitter blowups about sexism, and how women weren't being kind or empathetic to men who said sexist things.  I felt bewildered.  Why should I apologize for wanting an explanation?  Why shouldn't they apologize for saying something hurtful?

I'm pretty much a nobody blogger.  I'm a librarian who moves in her own little circle and over on Teen Services Underground.  But as a reader, a blogger, and a teen librarian, I won't stand for women being denigrated or dismissed in fiction.  I won't stand for YA being deemed a lesser form of literature because it's written by women and read by teens, who many adults in positions of power view as tasteless, giggling hordes who can't think for themselves.

That's why I'm a teen librarian.  People think that teens have nothing to contribute to society.  You know what?  If that's what you tell them, then that's what they'll believe, and that's what you'll get.

Do you know what I saw last Friday at the library?  I saw a teen boy checking out as many YA books as his long arms could hold.  Because I'm nosy, I snuck a peek at what was in his arms: Allegiant.  Heir of Fire.  Seraphina.  Oh look!  Books written by women featuring strong female characters!  Don't give me lip about how boys won't read female-driven narratives.  They do.  And if they don't, it's because someone in their life--a parent, a teacher, an author they look up to--has told them that those books aren't "right" for boys.  And then we (as a society) wring our hands about "nice boys" who rape girls or who beat their wives or who shoot their exes.  Gee, I wonder where they learned that?

I feel too much to write any more down.  It's like my chest is exploding with sadness about how YA and its female authors and characters are treated, but also with joy that Nicole's article is out there.  Please read it.

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