Friday, February 22, 2013

FML Fridays - She's Not All That

Movies like She's All That always bugged me.

Popular kid hangs out with geeky girl.  Geeky girl and popular guy fall for each other.  Geeky girl turns out to be gorgeous (she just needed to ditch the overalls and get a haircut).  Popular boy does something stupid.  Geeky (but suddenly beautiful girl) make up, make out, and live happily every after.

Almost every teen movies of the 90s played that scenario into the ground.  It got a fair amount of play in the 80s too.  It always bugged me though.

Not the storytelling itself, but what it said about us as people.  It seemed to be telling us that inside every loser was a popular kid waiting to come out, and that being pretty and popular was the thing we should all seek to attain.  It wasn't about recognizing and celebrating who we were, it was about telling us who we should be.

I tried really hard to make sure that my stories are about real people.  If a good looking guy is going to hook up with a geeky girl, it's going to be BECAUSE she's a geek, not in spite of it.  He's not going to try to make her over or transform her into his vision of perfection and popularity.  

Because, while there's nothing wrong with being pretty and popular, it's definitely not all that.


  1. Well said, Shaunie.

    I know everyone wants their books turned into movies, and all that, but why does everyone have to be good looking? This is especially annoying in YA.

    The more I write, the more I shy away from describing characters, especially protagonists. I want to leave that stuff up to the reader.

    1. I'm with you. I prefer giving people room to imagine for themselves what my characters look like. At the same time, I really love shoving my books full of non-CW types. Guys who aren't traditionally handsome. Girls with curves (who are bothered by them). Normal, average people.

      I once wrote a dorky character for a proposal, and a reader asked me why any girl would be interested in him. My response was that he was funny as hell and a lot of fun to be around.

      That's why I hate books with insta-love. It perpetuates the notion that true love can be and is based on looks alone. But my favorite relationships in books are the ones where the two characters actually get to know each other so that it makes sense when they fall in love. Looks fade.


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