So. My little brother watches horror movies. Lots of them.
I'd watch them, too. But... they sort of... you know... scare me. And unless you're a horror movie that's totally brilliant and fresh and original, I'm not going to watch you. Sorry.
Going back to my little brother, though. We were discussing the overall suckiness of horror movies lately (won't name names, but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!). For reasons I still can't figure out, I told him about The Mortal Instruments series by the ever-fabulous Cassandra Clare. I totally stood up for Clary, her protagonist, by saying she's an assertive young lady with a good head on her shoulders.
Then I told him about another YA girl protagonist. Who is her total opposite.
And no, it's not Bella Swan. Cut the girl some slack!
Anyway, this other YA girl does stupid things. Like walk into alleys. Alone. At night. My brother laughed, then said, "well, that's the same as with horror movies. Some people call that kind of girl the dumb bitch."
I stared at him. And stared. Then stared some more.
People referring to girls as dumb bitches? Doesn't shock me.
And that's the problem.
Seriously, the words "dumb" and "bitch" aren't exactly flattering, right? They're what I hate most about this lil' old society we live in--labels. Labels suck. Hard. We all know this.
So why do we keep using them?
That's only Problem #1. Problem #2 is why I wrote this post: there are authors who write about the Dumb Bitch. I don't have a problem with a character who is naive or sheltered or trusting. I DO have a problem when that naive/sheltered/trusting girl never learns a lesson. She stays her same naive/sheltered/trusting self all the way to the end. Say it with me, folks: "why???"
I, unfortunately, can't answer that. Every writer has his or her reasons for writing what they write. And they sometimes fall victim to the Dumb Bitch Problem. They keep putting girls in these little boxes where they fit nice and comfy, keeping them there until Hot Dude comes and saves the day. Or, in the case of horror movies, Creepy Psycho Killer finishes them off thirty minutes into it. Dumb Bitches must die first, after all.
So please, folks, try to keep your girls out of this box. Or if you really want to put them there, make sure their journey isn't static and predictable. Let them take risks on a whim, but also informed and carefully thought-out decisions. Let them grow up, just like the Real Live Girls reading your books are.
They deserve better than someone who sucks at life.
They deserve someone who... oh, I don't know... hates labels. Preferably, ones like "dumb bitch."
Okay. Rant over. *sigh*
***Don't forget! Tomorrow is Operation Awesome's Mystery Agent Contest! Get those one-line pitches ready!!