So I was contemplating books the other day (as per usual, honestly), and I got to thinking, “What are some things that I wish I saw ore of in books?” And I figured, I may as well create a blog post on said topic just in case some author stumbles upon my blog and decides to grant my wishes (it could happen!). So I’ll not dilly-dally with intros any longer! Without any further ado, here are things I wish I saw more of in literature…
1. Retellings of More Obscure Stories/Folklore/Fairytales/Myths from around The World…
I’m not against retellings. Really. I’m not. It’s just that I feel like we see so many retellings of the same handful of western European fairytales over and over and over again! I mean, when was the last time you saw something other than a retelling of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella? Probably a while, right? Yeah, me too. You know what I’d love to see, though? Retellings of stories/folklore/myths/fairytales that are a) more obscure and/or b) from around the world. I’d love to see more retellings of things like The Firebird or Anansi or Sindbad or Asian, African, Polynesian, Middle Eastern, or Latin American mythology!
2. Different Kinds of Strong Female Leads
You know the Strong Female Lead™, right? You know the one–she’s pretty and sassy and strong and determined and basically flawless save for a ridiculous “quirky flaw” like having oddly colored eyes? Yeah. I’m talking about her. See, the thing is, I’m tired of seeing this archetype. Physical strength isn’t the only kind of strength, after all, and there is such a thing as quiet confidence. The thing is, when we hold this archetype up as the ultimate pinnacle of womanhood, it’s just as harmful as when we hold up the “mother/housekeeper” archetype up as the pinnacle of womanhood. Why? Because it tells girls who don’t fit that exact mold that they’re not worthwhile. But anyhow, I’m just gonna pull myself back from the edge of that tangent! My point is, I’d like to start seeing female characters showing different kinds of strength. Show me a girl who’s shy, but brave! Or one who’s intelligent, but maybe not quite the most confident. Show me human beings in all of their complexity. Because that’s what women are.
3. Diverse Fantasies
This point is kinda similar to #1, but I’d really love to see fantasies that are diverse. And not just racially, but diverse in terms of sexuality and gender, able-bodiedness, mental health, and socioeconomic status, among other factors! For me, as someone who is diverse, and as someone who lives in one of the most diverse, integrated areas in the US, the more diverse a story is, the more believable it is. I grew up constantly interacting with people who were different from me. In many ways, I don’t know what it’s like to live in a homogeneous world, that’s just never been my life. So when fantasies present an all/majority white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, neaurotypical,wealthy, patriarchal world, it’s definitely weird to me! I want people to be able to envision themselves as the hero/heroine of a story, even if they’re not the “default”.
4. Low SES Protagonists
Good representation of poverty is something that is severely lacking in media and it massively contributes to the current stigmatization of poverty. As someone who is low income, I’ve only seen myself represented in literature once and even then, it was inferred representation–meaning the words “poor” or “low income” were never explicitly stated. I’ve faced a lot of discrimination based on class and I think if we had better representation to show how poverty works and who low income folks are that would go a great way towards changing that prejudice.
5. Pirate Fantasies Done Right
So this is a fun, less serious one! I love a good swashbuckling pirate story, but apparently authors don’t because I rarely see them on the market, despite the demand! What’s wrong with pirates, authors?! What–do you just not like them?!! JUSTICE AND REPRESENTATION FOR PIRATES CAUSE THEY’RE PEOPLE TOO!!!