I am half-way through John Green’s novel Paper Towns. Which is an amazing book, I recommend everyone to get it.
What I like about John’s novels as that there is always a female character in his work, who seems to be central to the storyline. He paints pictures of girls who are not only beautiful, but they are highly intelligent. And I don’t mean, in a Dawson’s Creek way where, the characters spouted long words, but didn’t really seem in their character to say such things.I mean, here are visualisations of teenage girls, and they speak using intelligence as if they are extremely well-read individuals.
The thing is, in the media, woman are all too often written as being one-dimensional characters, who maybe long for a different life, but they don’t show any real intelligence. Even if you look at anything, which has popular High School girls, the girls are bitchy, stupid and only interested in sex and shopping. After spending my whole adolescence surrounded in horrifically stereotyped visions of women, I can only which that there alternatives available when I was younger. I mean very people I knew when I was younger had any interest in books. And although there was a lot of programmes aimed at someone my age, it was things like the afore-mentioned Dawson’s Creek or Sweet Valley High, all which left me with a rather dirty taste in my mouth.
I always have read a lot, I used to spend my summer going down to the library once a week rent new books. I loved it, which made me upset that there wasn’t anyreal positive role models for teenage girls, that didn’t involve around boyfriends and becoming popular. So I would read horror stories, and things, because the focus was on the situation more than the actual personality of the characters (which were still stereotyped).
I wish I had John Green’s books when I was a teenager, because, although the female characters are not perfect, and they never claim to be, they are clever and beautiful. They show women with their own mind, which is something that I believe that all women should be surrounded in.
I think my issue is, that most stories of ’empowerment’ come from stories which focus on sexual conquests. That isn’t empowering, that is degrading. To think that a woman is powerful because she has sex with some man, is not a positive image of a woman. A woman is powerful if she stands up on her own two feet, if she is not afraid to make decisions about her own live. No one should ever feel like they need to be in a relationship to be successful, and I think that the media is constantly telling us that’s what we are expected to do.
So thank you John Green, you may not be aware of it, but you have given girls positive role models with your characters. Thank you for showing that intelligence is beautiful.