Category Archives: male protagonists

No Man’s Land : The Case for More Male Protagonists in YA

When you look out at the Young Adult market you see an over saturation of books  about females. As a male reader I have no problems with female protagonists, as long as they’re likable, independent and the story is enjoyable. However the majority of Young Adult novel I’ve seen have all been about contrived relationships, as if that’s all the matters.

Sorry but I can’t stomach another paranormal romance, or a girl who moves to a new town and meets the hottest guy ever. Maybe it’s because I’m approaching my thirties and am too jaded by this point. But would it kill you to have stories without trite tropes like the ubiquitous love triangle, or the girl who falls for the bad boy or the deep, mysterious guy?

The reason I like stories with male protagonists is because they don’t get bogged down in pointless soap opera dramatics over who likes who, unless its a male/male romance which I have tons of issues with for the same reasons, but that’s another post for another time.

If female readers crave  these types of stories, OK more power to you, but don’t expect me to like them. I have zero patience for characters whose only obstacle is which hot guy to go out with. Give me a rock solid, humorous, and enjoyable story that’s well written and I couldn’t care less if the main character were a gelatinous blob from Uranus.

What I do take issue with is this notion that males don’t read as much as females thus why the YA market is dominated by books about females. Has it ever occurred, that this is only true of a segment of males and not the group as a whole. And that the reason could because there are so few YA books for them?

It’s not just the romance angle or books about cancer and dying that turn many guys off. It’s the lack of stories about what it means to be a male in our modern society.

This isn’t a call for women to “Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.” It’s a call to all those out there who want to criminalize male behavior as inherently sexist. Just as women needed and have created their own spaces, so to do males. The problem is any space designated male only is now labeled misogynist.

When guys get together it’s not the He-man women hating club that many make it out to be. By and large we just want a place we can be ourselves without worrying about saying or doing something wrong and being branded the worst person in the world, ever. Yeah we can be rude, crude, and idiots at times, but at our core we just want to have fun.

I’m all for equality which is why I think female authors should be more inclusive of male readers. After all male authors are expected to do the same with female readers. Sure keep the romance, but make it a subplot to an interesting story if you expect us to read it.

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