Lovely topic, isn't it?
I've talked about many things with girl characters in YA and Hollywood alike that are focused on the pretty, skinny girl with the chubby sidekick friend. And today I'm here to say that I'm kind of thinking the skinny bitch is getting to this chubby author.
I recently read through the sample of a book because it was a pretty big seller and there were aliens in it. I was really excited that the main character was kind of geeky, a blogger, but then I read further. Oh she's kind of geeky, but she's REALLY pretty which means guys still find her hot (Bella anyone?). I immediately did not buy the book because it made me really upset. Why do all the girls in YA have to be skinny and pretty? Why can't I find a chubby girl kicking butt and the guy likes her for much more than that initial 'oh hot girl!'
In HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN, Alex is a bigger girl, but by no means is she obese. I describe her as being around a size ten with curves (as evident when Jen tries to sexify her up for Ace.) One of my early readers at one point said that my MC had too many flaws: glasses, big hips, being the non-white girl. I took these comments in and I toned down a little bit more of Alex's looks (she had crooked teeth and other things, but I let them go). But then I started to think about it...why is every main girl in YA literature end up being a skinny girl?
Sure, there are the girls that are gangly skinny, but for the most part they are svelt. Even in adult literature there are very few women who I think represent a "normal" size girl. This is one thing that Charlaine Harris actually does really well in the Sookie books. Sookie is a size 8-10 and she owns it. The girl is loved by vampires, fierce, and she rocks a size that isn't the same as a mannequin.
But then there are others in which there is the lead chubby girl, but she is almost whiny and constantly harps on the fact that she is the big girl, but still ends up finding a guy that loves her anyway. I used to read these books and then I just got tired of the big girl whining. Yeah, I may be chubby too, but I don't want that to be the focus of the book. Give me a character with curves that kicks butt like a Sookie Stackhouse!
The skinny bitch isn't just regulated to the main character, most of the mean girls are also stick figures with a big rack who harp on the main character. This is what I love about Awkward (the TV show on MTV). Sadie Saxton is a mean girl, but Sadie Saxton is actually a little bit bigger. There have been episodes in which they talk about Sadie's size, but the whole point of her being bigger isn't her identity. Sadie is a straight up mean girl and she owns it. She owns that she's a big girl and she owns the fact that she can take down other girls.
This is actually why in HOW TO BREAK UP WITH AN ALIEN I made the mean girl NOT a skinny bitch or a cheerleader. Gemma is a curvy rugby player with a gruff voice. She's a bit racist and has some snaps at Alex that are unnecessary, but Alex is a tough chick puts those to a halt (and hopefully the reader learns that derogatory names are not cool).
What do you think of the skinny bitch in YA? Do you think it's getting better and more progressive?