Yeah. This is a ranty post. You probably guessed.
I've read a lot of books over the years. I've barely scratched the surface in some genres, barely even scratched the surface in the genres I love, but I've come across a lot of things that bother (in some cases, infuriate) me in literature. I've read stuff that's really stereotypical, hurtful, or promotes unhealthy relationships.
1. Stalking, over-possessiveness, etc. in relationships.
It is not okay if the guy you date regularly stalks you, or stands outside your window while you sleep, or thrashes any guy who dares be friendly to you. It is not okay if he acts like this is a completely normal, sane thing to do. It is not okay if he acts like he knows it's wrong but does it anyway "because he cares about you." No. Just, no. A guy who really cared about you would respect your boundaries. He would trust you-- and I don't get why this isn't addressed more often in YA.
It is also not okay if he is super controlling. A person should be able to make their own decisions. If he cannot be accepting of that, then he needs to leave.
While it is incredibly rare that the woman in the relationship is the controlling/possessive one, the same goes. It is not okay.
2. What makes a "strong" character.
Saying that a girl is only strong when she doesn't need anyone is so wrong-- everyone needs a hand eventually. The people who push others away under the claim that they don't need help because they're strong are the ones who cry when they're all alone and eventually cave in on themselves from the pressure to be tough. As time passes, they feel like they can't voice how they feel, can't reach out. So they stop trying all-together.
This isn't just for girls. Guys are constantly told that they're "weak" or "feminine" if they get emotional. THIS MAKES ME SO UPSET. Guys have emotions, too. It's okay to cry sometimes! It's okay to let yourself go because you just can't hold it in anymore. It's not okay to bash someone who is crying when they've probably been holding it in for a long time. People don't just cry over nothing-- they have a reason (not always a good one, but still). And until you know what that reason is, shut up and back off.
3. Parents that are always MIA/parents that just don't care.
I get it. It's hard to have adventures with your parents around. But it's so not a good explanation to have them up and gone from the story.
My parents love me, and I know for sure that if something super scary happened to me, the first thing I would do is tell them. And I know that they would worry about me, they would be protective of me-- because that's what parents do.
4. Hiding info on what's happening to protect someone.
More often than not, telling your friend/parent/significant other what's going on will help them be protected, because that way they can protect themselves. While I do understand that explaining it is something that would be hard to explain-- "Hey, there's this person that wants to kidnap/kill you because of me"-- seriously, imagine the questions. Imagine the rage/terror at someone endangering your life like that. But, in the end, wouldn't you be grateful that they told you? Ignorance is bliss, but if it also gets you killed, I'd much rather know.
Yeah. I really don't like insta-love. Unfortunately, it happens in a ton of books. Yeah, some try and pass it off as non-insta by having them have either visions of each other or meeting when they were teeny children, but no.
I (quite clearly) do not believe insta-love exists. I do believe in insta-crush, but not love. Love is something that can only be achieved once you know someone. If you don't truly know someone, then you don't love them, you love the version that they are around you.