I will be the first person to tell you that I love characters. Obviously, the plot of a story is important, but if the reader doesn’t fall in love with a character or two, the plot doesn’t matter. Dan Brown’s books have been huge successes in the past that have spawned copycats. I think I’ve read two of them. They were fine. My main problem is that all I remember about the main character is that he had a Mickey Mouse watch. That doesn’t really flesh out the character for me. I didn’t want to hang out with him. I didn’t want to date him. And I didn’t want him telling me the amount of parachute I needed to jump out of a plane and live.
My biggest pet peeve is when authors create books where the main female character is waiting for her Prince Charming to come save her. I hate the message that those books send to the teenage audience. When a female character’s qualities are only that she’s clumsy, in need of constant rescue, and quiet as a mouse, I immediately want to throw the book at the wall. I hate the message that the book is most likely inadvertently selling, “Females need males to save them and make them popular”. Yikes. Count me out on that one. I respect Catherine in Wuthering Heights more. The character at least had depth. Perhaps Catherine wasn’t all that likable, but quite honestly, I am not all that likable.
Unfortunately, for me, I named my dog Belle around the same time Twilight emerged. I often get asked if I named my dog after the character. No, I named her after the Disney character that loved to read and had one of the best libraries I’ve ever seen at her disposal. Also, my dog accomplishes more in one day than the main character in Twilight. Simply by barking and catching a ball in mid-air, the dog has shown more athleticism and voice than the character in Twilight. When a dog is doing more than you, it’s time to question life decisions. For the record, I read Twilight because I lost a bet.
Moreover, I absolutely hate the idea of young females reading about a weak female character. I particularly hate when women write such books. Teenage girls deserve so much better than Bella Swan as a heroine; I’m using the term, “heroine,” very loosely here. All of the teenagers I know are exceptionally bright, talented, and extremely strong.
In a society where so many pictures of women are Photoshopped to an unnatural standard and so many lyrics are demeaning to women on so many levels, why would another female decide to feed into that image? I’m not perfect. I make messes and I sometimes jump without looking. With that said, I also clean up my messes and deal with the consequences of my decisions. I don’t wait for someone to save me. I honestly don’t know any females who do.
Yes, it’s lovely to have a nice looking male lead, and sometimes that is the person in real life to save you. Other times, your friends or family are the ones to jump in to the deep end to pull you out of the water. Typically though, we have to save ourselves. We make the decision every day to battle through whatever problems we have. Why shouldn’t characters reflect that strength?
No SOS signal from this girl.