I've been wanting to write about archetypes and fiction and a-hole guys that girls swoon over but make me gag, for a long time, but wasn't sure how...
So. I thought I'd start with James Bond.
Yeah... I didn't really follow my logic there either. BUT LOOK.
And now to sidestep the main topic, lol. Because I tend to do that in blog posts.
I write strong girls.
I write smart women and tough chicks (no, I do not mind the word "chick" lol) and the occasional tomboy. I write girls who are confused, but are still intelligent and driven.
This is who I write almost every time.
And I catch crap for it.
What I often think is that if my character was a guy and behaved that way - no one would say anything, but they do because it's a girl (or in some cases simply b/c my character didn't resonate with that reader- I just wanted to show that I get that we don't all connect with every character in every book- of course).
HOW ARE WE STILL IN A PLACE THAT ALLOWS MEN TO BE MASCULINE STUDS AND WOMEN TO BE SHAMED, CALLED SLUTS OR DEEMED PROMISCUOUS?
Can you imagine the implications of a female who behaved as James Bond?
James Bond is a stud. She would be called a tough bitch. People may like her for it, but my guess is more would not. Am I totally off base here? Am I not seeing an equality out there that everyone else is? Or are we really still in the place I think we are?
I feel like we're still giving men license to sleep around or beat the shit out of someone b/c they looked at their girl wrong, and not only do we let them do it, but we swoon a little because his motives have something to do with the heroine. And on top of this remark comes the other thought that's only loosely tied in here, and that is all these smooth guys in YA love stories! Really? Were you IN high school? I mean, a few guys were smooth, but 95% were not. They were awkward, and shy and when they tried to be smooth it came off...not good. (I may do a whole post on this later and why I will always choose a Cricket over an Etienne (even though Etienne was really sweet and awesome) and if you don't know who Cricket and Etienne are, for the love of YA books go read Perkins)
In Falling, my MC (the girl) has a brief affair with a cop. She's early twenties. She's living as far away from home as she can get, and this hot guy is into her and says he's practically no longer married, and her whole purpose in moving away is to be young and have fun so she jumps in. YES, she learns a huge lesson from this mistake, which catapults her growth in the story forward.
I know some people have stopped reading at that point, which makes me wonder - if I'd been in the cop's head, and he was the "hero" of the story, and he was blowing off steam with a young married girl who said her marriage was practically over, and it led him to the girl of his dreams - would we judge him as harshly? If both people went into it knowing it was all for fun?
Have we not read books about total playboys who are with several (or many) women either after they've met the love interest or before, or maybe even WHILE they're with the love interest? And we still root for them to get together because (insert girly, dreamy voice here) he was screwing those other girls because he couldn't be with the one he wanted?
Would we do that if a girl was the one screwing around on the guy? Or if the woman was a total "manizer" if that's even a word? It's not a word. We use slut, or cougar, or, or, or, or...
No. This post is not in reaction to reviews, but more in reaction to a long list of books I've started, but couldn't finish. I feel like we've slipped back since I was in college (yes, in the nineties).
And then I feel like it's sad that in a community of writers and readers we're not forward-thinking enough to accept that not all women put up with crap like that, no matter how much they're loved by the controlling a-hole. That some women are that strong, and maybe we should try to relate to them... That some women are tough, smart, and do pretty well without the guy they love holding them up. And that they can still be as much in love without the NEED.
Man. I'm rambling.
I think my main point is that I see this double-standard all the time, and I hate it. And I'm going to keep writing girls that don't fall into any kind of archetype because as real people WE DO NOT always emulate a specific "type" of person. We're more complex than that... And I will never apologize for writing tough girls, or strange girls, or wicked smart girls, or guys who are shy or nice or nerdy ;-)
I apologize for the rambling mess, but this has been on my mind a lot lately...
And more so as I finish Seeker, which is told from the POV of a very tough, mature, driven young woman - because I KNOW I'm going to catch crap for that, but I refuse to turn her into a guy.
Do we have thoughts on this? Because generally when I ramble like this, y'all say it a LOT better and with a LOT fewer words than I do.
However, I'm pretty sure I'll be the only one using Craig and Ben ;-)
P.S. I feel the need to throw in a disclaimer here, b/c as much as my husband likes Q, he'd rather be known as a James Bond, and for me, he's a pretty perfect mix of the two - only trade out Q's glasses for Bond's gun ;-)