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Saturday

We Need More Representation in Young Adult Novels (Seriously.)

Hello everyone! Long time no bookish post! This is a little topic that I have been meaning to address, but I just haven't come around to doing it. A lot of bloggers have talked about it before, and it really means a lot to me, so I'll tackle the topic and perhaps get something out of it!



To find inspiration for this post, I took a trip to my bookshelf and glanced at my books, marking down every book that has a caucasian protagonist. The majority of books on my shelf fit this criteria. And don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that there are books out there with POC MCs, but the books that I looked at were among the most popular of their genre.



Let's look at the most popular children/young adult series:

Harry Potter? The only POC that I can think of off the top of my head were Dean Thomas, Angelina Johnson, Cho Chang, and the Patil twins, aka not enough. The three main characters however, were all caucasian.

Divergent? Again, off the top of my head, just Christina.

The Mortal Instruments? Does Isabelle count?

The Hunger Games? Rue. That's pretty much it.

Is it that difficult to write in some POC main characters? Our world is progressing, and especially with all the hatred going on and the extreme racism in the United States, it would do authors some good to represent other races and cultures. And perhaps educate their readers on sharing the love with everyone in the world.

In addition to that, young adult novels are obviously directed towards.. young adults. Shouldn't we be taught to be more open minded? Taught that not all heroes are caucasian girls? And it's sort of the reality as well, all of these amazing women POC scientists are left in the dust, even though they've done so much for our scientific world.


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Caucasian female should not be the norm for a main character.

How about we open it up even more and say women in general aren't being represented enough in Hollywood, or in comic books?

Why do all the female superheroes have to wear tight suits and put "girl" somewhere in their name? Why is Superman called "Man" but then we have this TV show called "Supergirl"? Lame.



And why can't we see more kickbutt female heroes in movies that girls can look up to?

There's so much we can fix, and it can start with the arts. So you, my little amazing writer friends out there, next time you start planning out your characters, see if you can fit a few different characters, and be the start of something new. I see you.

In short, the three biggest reasons why we should see more diversity are:

1. Everyone deserves to be represented
2. Our world is diverse and so our books should be too.
3. Why not?




What are your opinions on this slightly controversial topic? Ooo and just for fun, come up with your own kickbutt female superhero and tell me in the comments! 

Love you all <3

Thanks for reading,
Noor

17 comments:

  1. Agreed!! We definitely need more diversity-- especially in fantasy books! So often the protagonist is a white male. Not that we don't need white male characters too, but people of every race and gender should be represented as awesome, powerful protagonists!

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    1. I totally agree! I'm not saying to completely get rid of white protagonists but rather mix it up a little hahaha

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  2. 100% more diversity needed. Thinking about it, I've never actually read a novel with a Non-white main role.

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    1. It shouldn't even be a question anymore, we really do need it.

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  3. Absolutely agree with you there. Although I'm not even sure that Katniss and Gale are totally caucasian...or if it's just the movie distorting things. :') You're so right about Harry Potter though! Even if it was set in Europe, you'd think there would be a lot more diversity in such a big school...

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    1. Ughhh right.. Hollywood. And I totally agree with the HP thing, maybe a Muslim, Black, or Latino character? Why not!

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  4. I totally agree! We need more diversity! My super female person would be someone who was confident, stands up for her opinions, and is kind.

    xx Bubbles

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    1. Awh that's so cute. I would totally read a book/comic with her in it :D

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  5. I totally agree! Of course, there's many good YA books with great representation, but all of the mainstream ones seem to have the same protagonist: the Caucasian, naive, boy-crazed, special snowflake brat. Young women are so much more than that! We are so, so, diverse, and we 100% need more books that represent that ♥
    Amy xx

    Little Moon Dragon

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  6. I wouldn't say it's a controversial topic, or at least it shouldn't be - literature has to be representative of society, and that means we do need more diversity for sure! I think those novels are there (although we do need more) but we need to make them more accessible to teenagers - I grew up reading so many books that were very diverse that I would say part of the problem is that a lot of teens aren't reading those novels as publishers are more into marketing the john greens and divergent books of this world. That hollywood is still very behind in terms of diversity doesn't help either though.

    With Harry Potter, I would say the reason there isn't more diversity in terms of oh there isn't a muslim character etc, is that in that sense religion was not a part of the story- it was about a little boy going to magic school in Scotland. Novels, although it's so important that they are representative and diverse, also have to have that element of reality as well - and Hogwarts was supposedly in the highlands of Scotland, where the majority of students would be white, even if they are coming from all over the UK.

    I am really glad you're talking about this though <3 Great post!x

    Anne // www.aportraitofyouth.co.uk

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  7. I totally agree! I would love to see more representation in YA books. It bothers me how caucasian is treated like a "default" or the "norm" when it really shouldn't be. People of all different races, religions, sexualities, etc. live in this world, so why shouldn't books reflect that? I just think that we need more of a variety of characters instead of your typical caucasian "special snowflakes" and "manic pixie dream girls."

    I love this post!!

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  8. Yes yes yes yes yes! I agree. In so many of the most popular books like you stated there are almost no main characters that aren't white or caucasian. Our world is so so diverse with so many different people from different places living different lives and the books need to show that. Also when supergirl first came out I was like wait. Why does her cousin get man but she has to be a girl. Like grown women over hear being called a girl. I would be offended. Love this post. :)

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  9. Idk, I don't really consider the color of a character's skin when I read a book, I'm too busy delving into their personality and how they react to the situation presented to them. I feel like personality is important to convey in books, rather than the race or color. Of course, interpretation of books lead to movies and that's where things are white-washed. There were countless times when I imagined a character to be dark, because they were described as 'dark' only to find out that the only dark thing about them is the melanin in their hair e__e like way to go.
    Another thing I really hate is that when movies or tv shows DO portray a character as a PoC, they lump in as many other labels as possible. I was watching a show called Code Black and initially, I was really excited to see a female Indian doctor being part of the main cast. Yes! Finally someone I can relate to. Then it turned out she was lesbian while all the other white characters were straight. "Well that's ok" I thought to myself, and THEN it turned out she had a few affairs. Why do you have to lump everything on the PoC? I don't feel like watching the rest of the show anymore because the white characters are so normal and here's my Indian girl being turned into a minority within minorities within minorities as well as having her screen time cut down considerably. Not fair :\ but that's my opinion and I understand if some people think it's wrong.

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  10. I completely agree. In Harry Potter, I think it was rumored that Hermoine was supposed to be dark skinned. Olive at least. But the film makers casted someone that didn't adhere to that and created the arguably flawed/different image of her. I think we're getting there though. YA has begun to take these things seriously. Everything Everything for example. The movie is coming out soon and I think it's one of the first YA adaptations to feature a dark skinned main character. (If I'm not mistaken, it's the actress who played Rue in the Hunger Games too coincidentally)

    Great post.

    Skylar | Skywriting

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  11. Hey, At least we have WonderWoman!!!
    And in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child JK Rowling cast Hermione as a black woman which I personally think was GREAT but the whole community just gave her so much hate for it.

    I have to say though, When I read books I'm not focused on the race of the protaginist

    Great post Noor! Also I have hangouted you about designing my blog!!

    Thanks,
    TG xoxo

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