“No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer” by Shannon Hale

A quote from the article:

I heard it a hundred times with Hunger Games: “Boys, even though this is about a girl, you’ll like it!” Even though. I never heard a single time, “Girls, even though Harry Potter is about a boy, you’ll like it!”

Source: http://shannonhale.tumblr.com/post/112152808785/no-boys-allowed-school-visits-as-a-woman-writer

This has never actually occurred to me. I’m a girl, and no one has ever said “Oh, you’ll like this even though it’s about a boy.” I’ve never considered not reading something because the book was in a boy’s POV (though I have passed up reading books that I know are by male authors, I am guilty of that). I have thought about how men will not enjoy my books as they are mostly about romance, and that they wouldn’t like my YA stuff because it would all be in a girl’s POV.

I guess it never occurred to me to question it, to say, “Excuse me, I’m a girl and I can read in a guy’s POV, why the fuck can’t boys do the same?”

I urge you to read the original post, especially if, like me, you’ve never thought as deeply on the topic. It just never came to mind.

Thoughts?

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My Bookshelf: Beauty Queens

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Title: Beauty Queens

Author: Libba Bray

Genre: Young Adult

Amazon summary:
“The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?”

My summary:
These girls are all vapid airheads who want to wear pretty dresses, or so you’re led to believe. They crash together on an island they assume to be deserted, assuming that help will arrive at any time. When they realize they’ll need to depend on themselves to survive, they pull together and show that they’re more than just pretty faces and have more to say than just what’s on their pageant scripts. Add some boys, bad guys, and giant snakes, and you’ve got yourself a fun time.

Cheers (possible spoilers):

  • EVERYTHING. SERIOUSLY. I LOVED THIS BOOK.
  • If you are a girl, you need to read this book. If you don’t understand satire, you probably shouldn’t, but seriously.
  • It relies on stereotypes in the best way. To say “these girls are just stereotypes” is insulting to all girls. Is it stereotypical for a girl whose mother was married five times to not trust men? It is stereotypical for a girl to fear her sexuality because her parents taught her to? Is it stereotypical for a girl to be pressured to be the perfect girl to the point where she snaps because the system failed her?
  • Basically all issues concerning women today are in this book. You might have to read it twice to get it all, but it’s there. Advertisers shaming women to get them to buy their product to look better, girls being called bossy for having opinions, people always blaming girls’ moods on hormones like we have no valid emotions, and how girls are taught to fear their sexuality.
  • It’s funny as hell. Some of it is satire. You have to understand that the author was not trying to make this realistic. Of course beauty queens aren’t going to crash on a dessert island, be targets for international weapons smugglers, all find themselves at the same time, and meet pirates. But she wasn’t trying to be realistic. She was trying to make people think while enjoying the read, and that she did.

Jeers:

  • Literally the only thing is that I think some people are turned off from the book because of how ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s still amazing like that, but some of the reviews on Amazon complain about how unrealistic it is…. which is kind of the point. Like, Miss New Mexico has an airplane tray embedded in her head for the entire novel. I don’t know how she didn’t die.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. Yes yes yes. Go buy it right now. I guess you might not like it as much if you don’t like the idea of women being independent creatures with thoughts and talents and the same rights as men, because part of why I like it so much is how many issues it hits on. Also, it seriously was funny as hell. Obviously outrageous, but funny. It even ends in a dance number. (Yeah, she ended the book with a dance number. Seriously. Is she allowed to do that?)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Queens-Libba-Bray/dp/0439895979/ref=cm_rdp_product