Why Some Voices Are “Stronger” than Others in YA Lit

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At the School Library Journal, Kelly Jensen examines gender norms and double standards in YA fiction, questioning which female protagonists we refer to as “strong”—and why do not refer to male voices as such:

When women take risks in their writing, when they choose to write female-driven narratives with take-no-bull girls who may not care at all whether you like them or not, they’re not seen as brave. They’re not seen as doing something new or inventive or award-worthy. They are instead dinged because they portray girls who aren’t “likable.” Because the stories are not always “nice.” Because those girls aren’t “realistic.”


Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →