Monday, February 18, 2013

I Need a Man to Make Me Happy...Not

Whenever I write a discussion post, I always try to relate it to YA or books or reading because this is a book review blog. Sometimes, I have a topic I want to talk about but I never know what to say. Well, this past Thursday, a conversation I over heard sparked this post.

The title is sarcastic and supposed to be funny and I know some of you are confused. So let me set things up: on Thursday, during the last class of the day, a girl was talking to some of her friends about her most recent break up. She said something along the lines of “I’ve never been single for three weeks since like, five years ago! It’s so weird.” I admit that I did a double take because this girl is a sophomore, so five years ago would be the sixth (possibly fifth) grade. She hadn’t been single for three weeks since that long ago.

This did not frustrate me. It didn’t make me angry. It didn’t make me judgmental. I made me so sad.

While I won’t go into any more details, something else popped into my mind during that time. A few weeks ago, I was scouring though my Twitter feed when Ally Carter was tweeting about she was always getting emails about girls asking (and some threatening) to make sure Cam, from her Gallagher Girls series, would end up with a guy. Ally talked about how this upset her and made her angry as a woman.

My big concern is: Why is it that women and girls feel like they need a man to make them happy? Or is it just me?

I am so sick and tired of reading a book where the plot is amazing and the writing is riveting and the main character is a badass dump it all for a romance, or in this case, a man.

It was the reason I never finished Shatter Me. After Juliet meets Adam, the entire plot is about their love. The same with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. And Easy (you can debate this if you want). And so. Many. More. YA books.

I just want to know why.

I feel like the man (or boy) is thrown to justify the main character for some reason. Why is it that a love interest can’t be introduced and the girl doesn’t forget about everything else? While I didn’t write it in my review, but was Noah there just to pacify Mara’s “craziness”? I thought it was (sort of; Noah is a douche) great that Mara could have some romance but why did she drop everything whenever he asked her to?

I recently read Etiquette and Espionage and while the writing style was hard to adjust to, I loved that Gail Carriger introduced us to a 14 year old protagonist who, well, didn’t always need a boy (she is after all 14, so you know, awkward calling a love interest a man) to help her out. Sure he could help her find her way around an unfamiliar place but Sophorina fought her own battles and she let any boy know that she was capable to taking care of herself.

Even though some love triangles can be done well, I always feel like they imply that the main character HAS to be with a guy. I always feel like the main character is sort of trapped. She can’t choose herself but someone else to justify her.

Why can’t a girl be happy with herself for a change? Is being single really that bad?
the infernal devices cassandra clare
In The Infernal Devices, I have been adamant that Tessa be team “I Will Be Single and Damn Amazing.” While I understand that love is important in life, and being loved is great too, loving yourself is not bad either. Why can’t Tessa not choose either Will and Jem and be happy? I haven’t read Clockwork Prince but really, I don’t think love should mean being hurt that much.
hart of dixie
And if love is necessary, why not just have one love interest? I recently fell in love with Hart of Dixie. Yes, it has a love triangle for some time but a certain moment in season 1, our main character Zoe is stuck between Wade and George. And you know who she chooses? Herself.
For the purposes of the show (and really, there was always and will be one guy for Zoe *cough*Wade*cough*), she did go with one of the guys but just the fact that she recognized that she could choose herself over them made all the difference.

Books like Ally Carter’s are rare in my opinion. One of the reasons I love The Gallagher Girls series is simply because it’s not about Cam and some guy. It’s about Cam and her friends and family and Cam learning who she is. I would never hate Ally Carter if she decides to leave Cam single or with a guy.

I just feel like before you love someone else, you need to love yourself. All of your quirkiness and weirdness and awesomeness and every other unique aspect about you is justified because of who you are; not by being loved by a man.

**I have nothing against LGBTQ romances AT ALL. I just went with what I knew and I don't mean to exclude any type of romance!