Strong women don’t have attitudes; they have guidelines and boundaries.
The quote above is pretty explanatory and straight-forward but many YA authors don’t seem to understand it. Ever since The Hunger Games was released in 2008, teenage girls all around the world want to be just like Katniss Everdeen. But Katniss was a well-developed character with other qualities besides having an attitude, beauty, and phenomenal fighting skills, so this wasn’t a problem.
Other YA protagonists, however, seem to have very little depth. They’re good at looking pretty, snapping at boys who’ve been nothing but nice to them, and beating some of the strongest men in battle, but there is nothing likable about them. To adults that is. But teenage girls seem to love these types of characters, sometimes so much that they will alter their own personalities to be like them.
Treating people poorly and snapping at them for no reason shouldn’t be glorified, yet in Young Adult novels it is. This sends a poor message to teens who are still figuring out who they are and who they want to be.
The Bottom Line
True strong women are those who respect themselves and their boundaries, and stand up for themselves and others. True strong women want to make the world a better place and that is what should be represented in Young Adult Literature. You don’t have to be attractive, strong, or ill-tempered to be a strong woman, and it’s sad that most of Young Adult Literature seems to contradict that.