Teen media has held onto the same character stereotypes for decades. They’ve become easily identifiable, key tropes: the popular girl, the nerd, the jock — the main character. You can identify the main character because she’s not like other girls. Modern audiences roll their eyes at the trope: the Main Character is quirky, relatable, and doesn’t “try too hard” or focus on her looks because caring about looks and fashion is for other girls — girls who aren’t main characters.
But young adult literature (aka “YA”) is a book genre that prides itself on its ability to pave the way…
They say the tailor at the corner of Belle Drive has no name.
You can ask her, as you stand atop the dais of her shop like royalty, and she takes your measurements with deft old fingers. But she will only smile, as she has no answer for you, or anyone else who asks.
She sews vintage suits and classic dresses, for weddings and for funerals. Despite her talent, her prices have always been fair, and she has been known to greet customers with a smile and a complimentary plate of bonbons — on the house. …
“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman.
The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.
The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
— Malcolm X
From Lana Del Rey’s insistence that Black women are incapable of emulating her brand of “delicate femininity”, to the stereotype of Black women as aggressors, Black women are continuously stripped of the opportunity to be soft. Even responding to decades of oppression with (rightfully deserved) rage plays into a stereotype. “See?” People say, after a Black woman dares to feel anger after experiencing the one-thousandth micro-aggression of…
The recent trend of writing LGBTQ+ love interests of color might be more harmful than you’d think.
LGBTQ+ stories have historically been (primarily) white tales. While the presence of queer characters of color has increased from “next to none” to “well there’s definitely more than two” in recent years, LGBTQ+ characters of color still cannot hold a torch to the prevalence and reach of their white counterparts. Through the battles of positive representation, LGBTQ+ people of color are sidelined at best and entirely erased at worst.
But surely the recent trend of injecting queer love interests of color into otherwise…
Ashia Monet is a speculative fiction novelist. Her debut novel THE BLACK VEINS is available now. Follow her on Twitter @ashiamonet + Instagram @ashiawrites