“The problem with this assessment of YA fiction is that it not only privileges certain genres over others, but also presents itself in gendered terms. That means that the way we have talked about YA fiction since 2005 has largely been constructed around privileging authenticity, or the idea that certain genres and books are inherently more “real” or “prestigious” than others. Gender ties into this argument because more often than not, the YA works pegged as authentic and legitimate are written by men and fall into the category of realism. In contrast, the genre of fantasy or sci-fi, and especially those that include touches of romance, are lambasted as fanciful or “guilty pleasures.” Looking For Alaska may very well be a better work of fiction than Twilight, but to suggest that one is a lesser form of art simply because of its content, or the sex of the author, is ridiculous. Despite how ludicrous it is though, it’s often central to the way we discuss YA fiction.
This problematic process of legitimization, of public opinion and the historical record embracing something as worthy of critical attention, is nothing new. Even The Beatles, now largely considered the most influential and “authentic” band of all time, were once lambasted as meaningless, empty pop music. The fact that this early assessment of The Beatles pairs up with the band’s popularity among teenage girls in the early 1960s is no accident. The critical system we have in place tends to largely accept that some works of art are more authentic and real than others, and that system consistently shoves women, and non-realistic genres like fantasy and sci-fi, to the margins. All one has to do is look at how the books of Stephenie Meyer and John Green, who both had their breakthroughs a decade ago, have been received over the years. The response to each author’s bibliography is representative of larger issues, which are the consistent lambasting of certain genres as fluff, and the marginalization and devaluing of works written by and geared toward women.”
Read the entire post at AV Club.
Personally, I hated The Fault in Our Stars for being the cancer porn to Twilight’s abstinence porn. I dislike both authors equally. Next please.