Don't Kill the Knight in Shining Armour
Late last night while I was sleeping, I wrote this blog post in my head. At some point as I drifted off I must have been thinking about Ara and a review I read once where the reader didn’t like Ara’s whininess and depression. Then I recalled an email I got where a reader related to Ara so much (and I get a lot of these, because so many people relate to Ara as they are now or how they were when they were younger), and this girl hated herself because of what she’d read in the reviews—all the bitterness toward Ara. I, of course consoled this young girl and we had a laugh about it all. But it got me thinking. It made me angry.
I see this around a lot. I see people bagging out a book because the protagonist isn’t a heroine and because she isn’t gung-ho, fighting off the bad guys for herself. And I have to say I’m disappointed. At what point did we become a society that no longer accepts the weaknesses of a woman? Or a man?
We’re not all emotionally adjusted.
We’re not all strong and independent.
Some people, like Ara, come from horrific backgrounds and, yeah, sorry, some of us do actually feel like we need to be saved. Some of us may even dream that a knight in shining armour will come along and do just that. Perhaps even a gorgeous, sweet and immortal one. There are so many woman out there from all walks of life, and no matter what mud hole they have to climb out of or what rose garden they prance in, the same standard has been set: rescue yourself or be looked down on by all women.
Look, it’s considered noble and empowering to recuse yourself and kick butt, sure, but lately (and increasingly) it’s considered weak to be anything other than that butt-kicking feminist. Even to the point where people will verbally abuse the author for having dared write such a realistic, faulted character. To the point where women feel bad about themselves while reading reviews.
What happened to just reading a story and accepting that this is how the protagonist is and that that’s okay?
What happened to it being okay for the protagonist to not be the heroine?
What happened to it being okay to read a story about a woman being rescued?
These days, authors are expected to write stories where the man is rescued by the woman, and then in twenty years it will all turn around again when men no longer feel empowered because of the media that’s circulating. It’s a no-win situation. It has to stop, and I am speaking out about it. Fighting for the weak now because I don’t believe we all have to be strong.
Ara is depressed. She needs to be rescued in the first two books. That’s okay. Ara is moody and complicated. She is not the heroine of this story (in the first two books) even though she’s the protagonist. That’s okay. Stop hating on women because they’re not strong like you, ladies.
A lovely lady I follow on Facebook, Constance Hall, refers to all women as “Queens”. And in that circle of followers, spreading out to every circle, Queens stick together, no matter how sassy, smart, independent, strong, weak, chaotic, depressed or moody they are. It should be the same with what we except from literature. I don’t care about reviewers hating on Ara; I don’t care if you go leave me a one star review right now, but I do care that I see so much of this hatred around to the point where it’s no longer acceptable to be faulty in a book and, as such, it puts undue pressure on girls, on Queens, of all ages to be something they’re just not capable of being right now.
Remember, when you read about a character that’s not all femme fatal, try to allow room for the background that character is coming from. Not everyone grew up with a stable, happy life. Not everyone feels strong enough to save themselves. That does not make them weak. Remember also that some girls reading that book, or reading those reviews, may feel just like that character, so when they read how much you hate that character for all the faults that make her human, you’re making some poor girl out there feel awful about herself. Hate herself. And that’s not okay.
Fight for your right to be human, Queens. Fight for your right to be fallible and weak and moody and depressed.
Fight for your right to be Woman of any emotional status. It is okay to be weak. It is okay to be saved. So let's not kill off the Knight in Shining Armour just yet.
Love to all my Queens,
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