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Anti-Heroines, Nasty Girls, & Why I Love Them

Girl characters rock.

I don’t care that there are so many. I don’t care that the majority of YA stories have female protagonists. It’s incredible, and I highly recommend reading about female protagonists because they have so many stories to tell.

I have been to quite a few YA talks. 99% of the time, someone asks about the abundance of female protagonists in YA.

“Don’t you think YA needs more male protagonists?”

Every time it happens, I am grateful for whichever author is on stage who says “No, there are not enough female protagonists. Compared to the rest of the publishing community, it’s almost as if female protagonists are non-existent.”

However, while I love female protagonists, it’s getting kind of tiring reading about the same type of girl.

While female protagonists are still abundantly white, straight, middle class and able bodied, there is also this obligation to make female protagonists nice. 

Trust me, portraying women as good people is… natural.

Fictional women in media have the toughest of times. They are sexually assaulted, traumatised, murdered, and cast aside. But, above it all, they are nine times out of ten portrayed as nice. Despite all of this happening, they are caring, friendly, accommodating, and happy.

anti-heroines

As someone who reads voraciously, I gotta hand it to authors for giving space for male characters to be literally anything they want to be. There are so many stories about so many different types of men that, if you think of the most niche thing, there will be a male character like that. Trust me.

But women? Women can only be nice.

Well, I’m sorry, but women are not like that.

Women are upset, angry, and vengeful. They are scheming, uncaring, scared, dramatic, and anxious. They’re strong, they’re weak, they love and lust and loathe. They are not just nice.

Which is why I love nasty girls. Maybe, if we want to get into specifics, I love anti-heroines, but I also love female villains too.

Nasty or bad are very subjective. Sure, there are fictional women who are very easily objectively awful people who you would not want to be in the same room with. But ‘nasty’ can mean a lot of things. It could mean she cuts people’s heads off and puts them on spikes, or it could mean she bitches about people behind their backs at school. It could mean she has no care about what other people think of her, or that she fights for what she feels is right. She’s too loud, or too in your face, or too mysterious…just too much.

To me, it’s important we see all women in fiction.

And I think that’s why I love anti-heroines and female villains so much. They are almost the polar opposite of what people think a female character should be. They’re not nice, they’re not polite; they’re unconventional. But again, they’re not the “I’m not like most girls” kind of unconventional that men love to write about, they’re the type of girl that men wished didn’t exist.

That’s the kind of girl I like to read about.

Love any stories that have an anti-heroine? Recommend it to me in the comments!

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3 Comments

  1. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

    November 5, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Ahh, I love this post Hollie. I totally agree. The type of girls/woman you’re describing in this post are some of my favourites to read about. Growing up I always seemed to love the “mean girl” or the female characters were supposed to hate. Like, give me all the Sharpay Evans and Angelica Pickles 😂 I just think when written well they can be so complex and there’s so many layers! It’s like the whole “strong female character” only being portrayed as “physically strong” when there’s so many other elements!

    1. Hollie

      November 6, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you so much Lauren! And yes, that’s exactly why I love them so much, especially when they’re a protagonist. I guess we can mostly relate to being ‘good’, and so we don’t really question why is x character good. But when we step into the mind of a ‘bad/morally ambiguous’ character, I find their mind so interesting. Glad you liked my post! 🙂

  2. kirstyreadsblog

    November 9, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Ugh I love nasty girls. Like I relate to them so much more because honestly I can be a major arsehole. I read Forest of thousand Lanterns and whilst it wasn’t without it’s flaws it was just so good read a book about a girl becoming evil.

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