Why do authors write whiny ass teenagers?
Oh, hey look! Another pet peeve of mine that I have just remembered because I’m reading yet another bad book! 😂 (Honestly, I think you people read my posts because I’m just super angry and mean to people all the time. But hey! It works, I guess! Hahaha!)
Before I go off on that tangent, I’d like to discuss today why exactly it is that authors seem to think that these whiny ass, completely incompetent, dumb as bricks main characters are going to be good for their story. And I don’t mean likable because I personally don’t believe a main character has to be likable (anyone who has read my stories know my characters usually aren’t.) But I do believe that the main character needs to be capable of driving the plot and NOT because they’re an idiot who makes stupid decisions or just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Those are examples of passive main characters. We want an active main character who does things.)
My biggest issue with these stupid, whiny, incompetent characters is that they do nothing for the plot. They don’t drive any forward movement. They end up running around in circles for most of the book. They never have a unique, good idea of their own and constantly rely on every other character in the book to help them do anything. Without said support characters, the main character would end up dead, in prison, lost, a puddle of sadness, (insert other pathetic option here.) These main characters are basically posing as main characters because the plot isn’t even about them nor are they directly affecting the plot.
Yet for some reason I continue to see these pathetic female protagonists (in YA, mind you) who are imbeciles. The things they do are so stupid that even bad horror movie characters wouldn’t do them, and usually whatever dumb thing this MC does is because of some selfish desire. Now, there is nothing wrong with a selfish character. But MOST people have the ability to discern stupid selfish acts with smart reasonable acts and make the appropriate choice (which also usually ends up furthering the plot in an interesting, realistic way. The stupid selfish act may further the plot, but in a really dumb, super boring, wholly unneeded way that takes literally no brain cells to think up, and doesn’t actually end up being interesting for the reader because it was soooo easy to get to.)
And I really wish I could say there were just a few books here and there that have this issue, but it’s so much of a trend that I sometimes hate myself for reading YA. (Though, to be fair, I’ve seen plenty of these whiny ass women in new adult and adult books as well. Apparently society [including women] think that women are stupid, emotionally unstable, and unable to make rational choices. This worries me, but that’s for another day.) I can list a dozen books that have done this and I have rated every single one of those books extremely low because not only is it frustrating to read from the POV of a main character who whines, cries, and makes bad choices, but it literally drags the ENTIRE book down.
But let me give some examples, shall I?
1) Main character has something that can swing the balance in the favor of a rebellion… they give it up for selfish information that helps… their own emotions. 😑
2) Main character trusts the devilishly handsome dude who is blatantly not trustworthy and then is soooo confused why the dude betrayed them. 😑
3) Main character makes ALL the wrong choices, screws up everything, and still manages to complete their quest or whatever even though literally everything they did should have gotten them killed and caused them to fail. 😡
4) Main character can’t concentrate on ANYTHING when a cute guy walks into the room/is nearby/whatever, BUT is too scared to approach said guy and express their feelings. (aka they end up being a puddle of emotional goop throughout the entire book. God. Shoot me now.)
Now I could go on and on because there a lot of stupid stereotypes regarding female teenagers out there (and some are true, but not everyone was an idiot in high school, thank you very much.) But I think you guys get the point. We all know that certain things happen in real life and are realistic, but they just do NOT work in fiction. Stupid, whiny, pathetic, emotionally overwhelmed female characters happens to be one of these things, and I really wish authors would stop writing them into books because it makes me want to smash the book against a dozen knives, shred it to pieces, throw those pieces off a roof, and then set them all on fire with a flamethrower… and roast marshmallows.
But what do you think?
Are whiny ass teens annoying to you too?
Leave your thoughts below!
And check out my discussion from last week:
“DNA on Book Covers“