YA Heroines Don’t Get Fat (Or Tall)


The action heroine archetype is enjoying something of a golden age with blockbuster young adult novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent series starring strong female leads. But Julianne Ross over at The Atlantic has noticed a disturbing trend: all of these women are petite.

Being skinny isn’t a bad thing, but it becomes an issue when so many of the strongest female characters around conform to a single body type—especially one long associated with a narrow definition of what it means to be feminine.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →