Friday, September 13, 2013

Stereotypes

I recently read a review on Goodreads, and in it the author complained that the antagonists in the story were blond cheerleaders, and that YA antagonists are ALWAYS blond cheerleaders. I didn't disagree with her. I couldn't. YA antagonists are often blond cheerleaders, and I don't have to wonder why.

Leanna. My antagonist during my four years of high school, and she was a blond cheerleader. We had to work together on an English project once, and she, Rebecca, and the other girl I can't remember (who were all blond by the way. Other Girl was also on the cheer squad) used to make fun of me for not having my driver's license yet. I think they spent more time coming up with new insults about my inability to drive than they did working on the paper.

I've come to terms that stereotypes exist for a reason. YA authors write the antagonists as blond cheerleaders because that was exactly who terrorized them in high school, and I can only assume are still terrorizing the bookish, quirky girls around the country. That is why they terrorize them in YA literature.

Now, one thing the reviewer didn't say about the book, was that the author actually gave this blond cheerleader a legitimate reason for her cruelty, and I think, as authors that's what we have to do. You can keep your platinum nemesis, but you need to breathe life into her. She can't be cruel for the sake of being cruel. She needs a backstory. (Although I'm convinced Le
anna was just cruel for the sake of being cruel.)

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