Abusive Qualities YA Novels Need to Stop Romanticizing
Not every YA novel has these qualities, but I see them often enough to want to say something. If I missed anything, or you want to add a new perspective, don't hesitate to comment or do your own list!
- •Forcibly grabbing/pulling, Cornering, or overall restraining main protag's movement.Physical abuse doesn't have to leave bruises.
- •Making the protag feel guilty about her own, very valid feelings/thoughts.This is called gaslighting, a form of manipulation.
- •Forcing protag to take back her decision because she has to consider the male partner's feelings before deciding things for herself.A form of control in an abusive relationship. No matter the reason, a partner in a healthy relationship would respect his partner's decision.
- •Not letting the protag say no.She is allowed to decline. She can say no if she doesn't like something. I see too many female protags being forced to say okay to something they didn't want. This is shown as not only an okay thing, but a positive thing for the protag to do. This is just another form of abusive control from the partner.
- •Protag only thinks of partner, and all decisions are centered around partner.This obsessive nature isn't good for anyone in the relationship, and leads to some very abusive qualities such as trying to control the other person, or thinking of the other person as a possession.
- •Protag is stalked by male interest, and a relationship begins.Stalking someone isn't healthy and often displays this idea of possession over someone. A healthy relationship doesn't involve someone thinking they own their partner in any shape or fashion.
- •Protag isn't allowed to separate from male interest because he might be hurt / harm hinself (emotionally / physically)Again, the ability to say no or leave someone is completely taken away from an otherwise independent protag.
- •Being kissed, groped, etc. without consent.Aka, girl says no, but guy still does whatever he wants. The partner isn't respecting the protag's choice, and this ties into perpetuating rape culture. Our young adults don't need to be taught that someone saying no is just a suggestion they can ignore. No means NO.
- •Protag's emotions and thoughts are considered invalid or irrational by partner.This is gaslighting again. Protag's thoughts and emotions are valid, and need to be addressed. Instead, the partner makes the protag feel bad about her thoughts/emotions, and even makes her think that she is wrong for feeling/thinking how she does.
- •Relationships are permanent, or if they aren't the protag is considered a slut, whore, etc, and she gets back with the male interest anyways.I know stories like to stick with one person being the forever love, but too many stories keep their characters in a relationship that isn't good for either of them. Then, the author tries to justify these characters being together by using various uncreative and damaging ways to get the characters to stick together.
- •Protag has to always be the reassuring one in the relationship, and support the love interest emotionally without receiving that support herself.The relationship is more draining toward one half of the partnership. It's a two way street, but for some reason, there's this idea that the female protag has to cope with her problems alone, and also relieve her partners emotional stress. This is usually shown by narcissistic partners. They only take in a relationship and never give.