Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Power of YA

A Disturbing Trend.

What's your immediate thought upon seeing this picture. Do you scoff? Roll your eyes? Turn around and tell the person next to you how terrible Twilight is? Maybe we all need to examine our behavior a little bit.

I'll be the first to admit I've complained about Twilight. My problem is mainly the unhealthy relationship it portrays. But lately I've had to stop and think about this a little more. Am I just jumping on the "hate" band wagon here? Is it really my responsibility to tell people they shouldn't read it?

I'm noticed a disturbing trend lately, and it doesn't stop at Twilight. 

Why does the world insist on belittling anything that teenage girls like? All you have to do is look at anything to do with One Direction. There will inevitably be someone in the comments telling everyone how terrible the band is, and how stupid teenage girls are for liking them.

Come on, admit they're adorable.

Really? We're going to tell teenage girls they're stupid just for liking a certain type of music?

The Hate Runs Rampant.

No post on this subject would be complete without addressing the Bieber issue. There has been so much over-the-top hate and vitriol directed at Justin Bieber that I fully believe it's pushed him over the edge. And if you go check comments on any picture or article on him, it's mainly a lot of people saying horrible things about Bieber, and finishing off with a snarky crack at the teenage girls that make up his audience. 

Bieber and his audience have apparently inspired everything from death threats (a common occurrence for him) and actual attempts on his life. 

I have no doubt the constant hateful attacks have caused him to throw up walls. Those walls just happen to be an aggressive attitude and a gold grill.  I'm not denying a lot of this may come from fame going to his head, but you can't tell me all the hate wasn't a part of it.

The bizarre metamorphosis:



Obsession is Okay.

When I was thirteen, I was obsessed with Star Wars. I'm not kidding, totally and completely obsessed. I watched the movies over and over until the VHS wore out. I wrote Star Wars fanfic and read every book I could get my hands on. I knew every detail of every insignificant character that ever was. I even had action figures I played with for hours. (What, they were cool! If you turned Jabba's head his tail moved!) 

Instead of One Direction and Edward Cullen, I was dreaming of Harrison Ford in those tight blue pants of his. I was every bit as obsessed as One Directioners, just about something different. 

I don't think people understand that as a teenage girl, obsession is practically a rite of passage. We all go through it, we all grow out of it for the most part. There might be some lingering feelings afterwords, but we do grow up. I still love Star Wars, but my action figures are collecting dust somewhere. It's too bad actually, I wonder if they're worth anything now...

The point is, obsession isn't  forever, but it's a time in a teenage girl's life where everything seems more exciting, more fragile and just...more. Our emotions are all over the place, the last thing we need is some self-righteous, self-satisfied wiener telling us that we're stupid for liking something. 

Looking for love in Alderaan places.

The Energy is Incredible.

I experienced this type of passion myself when I went to the City of Bones movie last week. The movie theater was full of teenage girls. The atmosphere was electric, almost enough to make you feel high. The girls next to us were so excited, they began talking to us about the movie. You could feel their excitement, they were vibrating with it.

There were a couple of men ahead of us, grumbling about how this was a chick flick. I wanted to ask them, so what?

Why is that a bad thing?

Later, looking at reviews,  I see The City of Bones blasted by critics as a "teenage girl's fantasy" and "wish-fulfillment", among other unflattering descriptions. And again, all I can say to that is,


What is the world's problem with teenage girls? Why can't we leave them alone to like things without putting our unwanted two cents into the picture? Better to dismiss this movie as "not for you" and move on, instead of going out of your way to insult an entire age group of already sensitive, already impressionable young girls.

Dedicated fans wait for hours to see Stephanie Meyers

Writer's Dismissing Teenage Girls are Idiots.

What do Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments all have in common?

They were propelled to fame and fortune by teenage girls. 

Teenage girls are your biggest allies. They are your most loyal, passionate fans. They are super-fans. They will make up fanfics about your character, they will buy every single book you put out, they will refuse to shut up about it until all of their friends read your books too. They will paint their bodies with "runes" in the case of Mortal Instruments, or take archery lessons, if they're Hunger Games fans. They will draw lightening scars on their foreheads and show up to every reading and book launch.

That is how dedicated they are. What writer wouldn't want this type of passion for their book series? What writer wouldn't want fans that exited over the worlds they've created?

Try to remember that next time you scoff at someone for loving One Direction.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think  this is something that's only just started to get worse? Or has this been a problem for a long time? Are you guilty of rolling your eyes every time you hear someone talk about Twilight? 

I love to chat about all things YA on twitter: https://twitter.com/ErinLatimer2 


  1. I'm not ashamed to admit that I read twilight--many times. I own the books both in English and in Danish. I've seen up to the fourth movie (haven't gotten around to the last) and my life has changed direction after reading those books.

    It was because of Twilight that I became interested in vampire books, vampire books what was I were searching for when I found Wattpad.

    Would I have found Wattpad without twilight? Perhaps. But that's how things went down. I used to see behind the scenes material, where Stephanie Meyer told everyone how the story started, as a dream of two people talking in a meadow.

    I've had dreams as well. So it inspired me to perhaps maybe write something too. Now, four years later I'm here.

    Am I the best writer? No.
    Do I write the same stuff as Meyer? I wouldn't think so.

    I personally think that among all the somewhat disturbed, and negative things that involves pop-culture (Recent thing being whether 1D actually bullies and hump girls excessively) a lot of people forget all the *GOOD* thing that being a fan girl is about.

    It's about expanding their knowledge. Writing fan fiction isn't easy if you want to stay true to your character. It's about making friends, and gossip with them. It's about being allowed to be a little girl for just one moment. And none of that is disturbing or sad.

    I'd also like to address the fact that in many of my circles (Most of them being Wattpad related) I often see the people who yell loudest about these things, fan fiction, popular YA, 50 shades of grey and how it started, etc. They're in 9 out of 10 times not accomplishing anything with themselves and/or their writing.

    Personally? I think it's jealousy. I'll admit I've read "bad" books to give myself an ego boost. I've read 50 shades. But while I might not agree with the writing, I realized something. E.L. James (the writer) did something I had yet to do. She finished three books in the same series.

    People call these pop-culture not actually "writers" but eh. They're doing the basic thing a writer does--write. That's more than what can be said for the people complaining about them.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Well said! And I think if Twilight has inspired people to write, that's a wonderful thing. Like I mentioned, I have a big issue with the way the relationship is portrayed. But I think the right thing to do is to DISCUSS it in a reasonable manner, not tear it to shreds while you're talking to someone who actually likes it. I don't see why we have to make anyone feel bad.

      I actually read the entire series and enjoyed them. I could see how the story has addictive qualities, and even though I'm not a fan of the series, I love that it gets people reading.

      And I TOTALLY agree that often times it's jealousy. They think they could write better than that, so they're angry that they're not famous.

  2. This is so true! I'm a teen girl, and I never thought about it that way. Thanks for making such an important point.

    1. You're so welcome. And thank you for reading!

  3. I am a teenage girl. And I'm a hater. Beatles and non-Twilight for life.

    And yet, I don't blast them. I hate people who blast things for no other reason than that they hate them. I don't like 1D or JB. I'm fine with other people liking them. I'll wrinkle my nose when they come on the radio and I'll change the station. That's it. What I get mad about is people who compare music. Music is not meant to be compared. You cannot compare everything to your favorite band, you'll be disappointed.

    The same goes for writing. I, in fact, think Stephenie Meyer is an incredible author, and I wish that I could write as well as her. However, I feel that her characters aren't satisfactory and completely unrealistic. I have read all the Twilight books.

    So yes. Love Twilight and 1D. I have the same obsessions with Green Day and Harry Potter. Everyone has different tastes, and the minute people accept that, the world will be so much better for them and the people around them.

    1. Very eloquently put.

      I'm RIGHT there with you on the Harry Potter obsession :D And I agree, everyone has different passions and even though I'm right there with you (not a big Beatles fan either) if everyone had your attitude, things would be much more peaceful!

  4. It depends - like always. ;)

    The hatread against Justin Bieber, who is taking care for the outcome of so many people in that young years is way over the edge, and I never really understood that.

    Death threats? Really? Come on - if you don't like the music don't hear it.

    But Twilight I have another problem. It's not only a real unhealthy relationship and Stephenie Meyer is drawing a picture of women I seriously feel disgusted with, it is her influence of so many writers.

    Wheter their Werewolfs are Chihuahuas on steroids or their Vampires who are behaving everything but a Vampire.


    And since I'm pretty indifferent against Justin Bieber I'm very angry with Stephenie Meyer. But that's a book problem, not a movie problem. ;-)

    Long story short: I rarely hate people. Too much effort. And if I dislike somebody I avoid him. That's pretty easy :)

  5. oops. SmugDevil here, sorry. :(

    1. I'm totally with you on the vampires being portrayed "wrong". hehe. I love all the old vampire lore.

    2. To me supernaturals normally can't portrayed wrong since it's on the author to create said supernatural. I always find it disturbing when somebody is telling me how vampires work.

      One task of an author to me is to stir up the recommended view on races/characters/supernatural and doing something new with it.

      I did it once by creating a desperate virgin Succubus :-)

      But Stephenie Meyer took the Vampire-fascination and used it to get her message across: Good girls are virgins to marriage, get a baby and then live happily after as a part of her hubby.

      That's what I'm upset to.

      SmugDevil ;)

  6. When you speak about Justin Beaver: It's easy to run down the guy. Silly songs a 10 year old could think up. "I love you my baby, Yea you so crazy, you make me think of my Daisy -but yea, I so lazy. (But I'm sure his PR will have him singing, better, bought songs from now on. But I must have written silly poetry like that too when I was his age. So I don't hold that against him)

    I heard him sing something like that on MTV some months back, strumming a guitar like crazy - he's no Elvis. But I have nothing personally myself against the guy. He just entered a talent program, and scored lucky. If he had flopped, he might have still come away with some fame -and be an unknown - but still with a small fan base -and receiving no death threats. Which I guess he'd prefer.

    Justin Beaver is despised by guys, simply because he's made it! His PR go to a lot of work making sure he's always connected with really sexy girls. This naturally upsets guys nursing pints of beer in bars/nightclubs -aware staring at their pints, if they were Justin, "hell", they could have anyone in that place. This produces rage, and I guess all the anger related to his death threats.

    I've heard even many say over here in my county, in Ireland. "Give him a few years, and he'll be as cold in his grave as River Phoenix. Probably going out exactly the same way." I don't support these sentiments. My way of looking at life is. If no one wises me harm, I don't pose any malice to them either. There is more than enough negativity out there in the world as it is, than to be directing it at Justin Beaver. If anyone is responsible for all the hate directed at this person, I would blame the media, and most certainly his PR, who make really sure the media are in the savvy regarding his every move. "That's scary thing, and can make anyone go quite mad. As your world can become so distorted, you literally start to feel like a fox, being hunted by hungry hounds."

    Love your introduction, really professional, lets a guy see it from a girl's point of view :)

    1. Thanks so much! I agree that most of Bieber's haters seem to be guys, sadly they lump teenage girls in with their complaints, which I hardly think is fair. :(

      Totally agree, I almost feel bad for the man, since he can't go outside without being nearly attacked!

  7. I'm indifferent to Bieber and to 1D, but I've got to say, the bashing--of them and other acts catering to teenage girls--is worse these days than when I was in my younger teens because of the Internet. When I was, 12, 13, 14 and obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio and the Backstreet Boys, the Internet was in its infancy and webpages were slow and badly designed and Twitter and Facebook didn't exist. So any hatred toward the boy bands of the late 90s wasn't online for everyone to read and retweet all the time.

    But Twilight...I read the entire series. Several of my friends read the series, too, and one of my friends and I made it a little tradition to get dinner, a drink, and then watch the movies. But we're not fans. Like you, we're all critical of the relationship and of Bella herself. But my younger cousin was about 14 when the books came out and she loved them at the time, of course. Figured if that was what she was into, then that's what she's into.

    1. Backstreet boys, ah yes, that takes me back. Oops, pun not intended.

      I think with Twilight, it's perfectly fine to enjoy the books or movies casually, or get together and watch it with friends. I saw the first movie in the theaters.

      I think if I had a daughter (I don't) I would let her read them, but there'd be some discussion over the relationship, and you're right, of Bella herself.

  8. I think you're on to something here - if only everyone else was. While I've never really seen/read/listened to any of these, I have respect for them. After all, authors, song artists and those who work on films are human beings. And they wouldn't be where they are if there wasn't something about them that was 'good' - although, apart from The Mortal Instruments, I will probably never be a fan of them.

    My only problem is some of the people that read those books, watch those films or listen to those people then behave horribly on the grounds that 'they're a fan'. However, that's a problem with the person... :/

    And I have to agree with you about Bieber. I know a girl who's a big fan of him and, whenever she mentions him at her school, there are three boys that almost like vultures. The moment she says it, they pounce. She has a difficult enough home life... *rolls eyes*

    On one writing website I'm on, there's been an all-out war (I was MIA and on Wattpad at this point) between Directioners and 'Non-Directioners'. One of my old co-authors got tired of it and opened a project where people could join and a Non-Directioner would be paired up with a Directioner. They couldn't write in their usual genres and it couldn't be 1D fic. Things calmed down since then but there are still little outbursts and the 'most popular' is still dominated with 1D fic.

    1. Absolutely agree. I've read Twilight, and I can see that the story telling can draw you in. There's a REASON people like it.

      I agree, I've seen some fans (including twilight and J Bieber fans) act really horribly, but I think you'll get this anywhere with people in general.

      And your friend at school must be getting defensive by now, it's not really fair to her, poor thing. Teenage boys seem to be some of the biggest Bieber haters, and I can only imagine that stems from some kind of jealousy (even if they'd never admit that).

      I honestly don't know why anyone would claim the title "Non-directioner" it's weird that anyone CARES that much about hating a band. That's really bizarre.

    2. I've never actually read the book - someone offered to lend me their copy but I declined. To be honest, it was a little awkward. We were eating at a restaurant and sat next to a table of three girls (they appeared about fifteen but looks can be deceiving), so I was worried I'd get the onslaught of eye-daggers. XD

      I read the comment section of a novel that an online friend of mine critiqued. They pointed out certain errors: speech punctuations, some spellings, the fact that it was all one block of text... And the reply was atrocious. I closed to the tab after the fifth hateful reply.

      True. I've only witnessed a handful of girls making comments about that kind of thing. Mostly because they've all got their own little obsessions like Olly Murs or Little Mix. The ones that do snap back come unstuck, including a girl I've known since I was four years old. She loves Disney Channel TV shows yet she'll be the first one to 'throw a stone'. I've been on the receiving end multiple times. -_-

      My Belieber friend isn't even crazy or maniacal in any way. She listens to his music, buys posters and drools over him. But *nothing more*. And the jealousy is a good point. Despite the fact that we're still 'young', many of the boys in my year have either had so many girlfriends that it becomes trivial (which, I'm afraid, doesn't always need multiple dates to become that way), they've never been to hold one down or they've never actually been given the attention fans give Bieber. There are a few exceptions.

      Just search any writing website or Facebook/Twitter. There are anti-1D pages, groups and novels. O.o Some people just started using the title to differentiate between those who were and those who weren't. But I think there are a few who have taken it a step too far. I just got notifications on an argument between someone I fanned on another website and a Directioner. It got a little nasty... :/

  9. I am obsessed with MCR and probably becoming obsessed over a wattpad story called The Casquette Girls soon TO BE PUBLISHED and uh yeah. >.< I LOVE THIS WHOLE ARTICLE. Even though i do not like 1D and JB for my own reasons i do not direct hate towards them and especially not their fans. (Well, not unless they are really rude to me first-.-) I think that people just get annoyed with us bc they arent obsessed too. But they should think of things they really like and wonder if people ever feel annoyed with them for talking about it all the time .... We're obsessed for a reason. Its important to us. <3 ^.^

    1. I bet you don't get as MUCH hate over liking MCR though, right? Because at this point, it's not "trendy" to make fun of them, like it is with 1D and JB.

      And you're exactly right. Why isn't a good thing to have a passion in life? I think some people recognize that they don't have that same fire that you do and they want to stomp it out out of jealousy.

  10. "teenage girl fantasy? " really? I'm not a fan of the series but since when have popular series been that realistic? If then what about comics? aren't they typical male fantasies? somehow they're cool. The typical teen girl fan is seen as annoying and loud. But, actually most of the girls who like twilight and similar books that I've seen are pretty nice.

    And the worst part is that there are girls who proclaim proudly that they aren't like the rest of us. They're better because they read less hated literature.
    I mean what is the deal with twilight anyway? I don't personally like those books but that's because I'm not into romance. Having a cheap shot at the book is what passes for comedy in some places on the internet sadly...

    1. Yes that's exactly right. It's become "trendy" to hate on popular books. It's sad but true.

  11. Teenage girls fuel almost every industry. They are very powerful. If a particular product is not popular with them, it disappears from the shelves and the TV. I'm so glad you wrote this post. Girls should be free to fan over whoever they want without being afraid of backlash. The celebrity's aren't the ones with the power—the girls are.

    1. EXACTLY. Well said. The most popular series would be nothing without the unwavering enthusiasm!

  12. Teen girls have always had an avenue for their crushes and interests. When I was young, it was just teen magazines and MTV but it was something. I agree with Bethany. Now that the teen population is BIGGER, they are able to drive marketing and more media is geared toward them. It's highly visible in ways it never was before. Sure it would be great if all these girls were reading the classics and watching indie films but people want what they want and why should anyone else put that choice down? My hope is that those producing material for teen girls don't "dumb it down" for them. They are still smart young women and deserve to have access to quality material that interests them.

    1. Very true. Which is why I love most of the YA fiction I've read, there's no dumbing down. And "driving the market" is an excellent way of putting it.

  13. Hey Erin! I really liked your YA Rebels audition video so I decided to social media stalk you a little and I'm so glad I did. Everything about this post is on point and restores my faith in humanity a little, knowing people like you exist.

    I don't understand the stigma placed on teenage girls for simply liking something too much. We all go through obsession as teens. (Some of us never grow out of it).

    This is one of the many reasons I still gravitate to the YA genre. Teenagers are the best kind of fans, their energy is contagious and I hate if even one of them feel discouraged to admit liking something out of fear of being mocked and shut down.

    I commend you. You are exactly the kind of person I want to watch on the YA Rebels channel. Good luck! :)

    1. Thank you so much! I'm crossing my fingers for both of us, though the competition is getting pretty fierce!

      We totally go through obsessions, and I think a lot of us (me included) still have them, they're just more "grown up" or we train ourselves to talk about them less. I know I have to stop myself from constantly talking about YA books and writing to the people around me who may not be as excited about it as I am!

      And teenagers are totally the best fan. They throw everything into what they love. If they think your character should have ended up with someone else, they'll yell at you, if they love a character, they'll write fanfiction about him or draw pictures and send them to you. They'll throw their entire being into LOVING what you've created. It's so foolish to dismiss them, but so many people do.

  14. Yes your are wright and thanks for post a good topic . your post is

    top most in related post of A Disturbing Trend.


  15. I totally agree with all of this, yes, but hold on: Star Wars. Okay. Okay. I'm just... You know, fan girl breathing issues right now. *breathes heavily*

    Okay. I've recently become /obsessed/ with Star Wars. Oh gosh. Starting with LEGO Star Wars (literally my favorite game ever), and I picked up the habit of saying, "Obi-Wan Kenobi is my spirit animal." And I had seen and enjoyed all the movies at a much younger age, but I hadn't actually really loved it or appreciated it. And I just finished the first trilogy and it's so amazing, and so funny. Like that one part where Luke Skywalker is talking with Ben Kenobi, and Ben says something like, "Even a duck must learn how to swim," and Luke looks back at him and asks, "What's a duck?" and I honestly just died. And oh my gosh, it's such an exciting, humorous, intelligent series, and I'm so excited to watch the movies again for the first time in yeeears and actually understand the references. Oh my gosh. And Han Solo, mmm, hello muy delicioso. Maybe I like myself a little bit of scoundrel too.

    Anyway. I really needed to just fan girl for a moment.


    1. Oh wow. I should probably clarify that I finished /reading/ the first trilogy, not watching them. Not yet. Getting there, really excited. I need a good Star Wars movie marathon. Ugh, so much perfection.