I want to start off this post by saying everyone's life choices are theirs and I recognize that and don't expect people to live my standards because they're mine and not everyone's.
Ok. Everyone agree on that? Yes?
I finished reading a book last night. Toward the end of the book, our heroine and hero have no choice but to share a hotel room. The boy decides to sleep on the floor. Our heroine says, "Oh hey. You should come sleep in the bed. Without your clothes on." *eyebrow wiggle* Boy denies. Girl protests. Their arguments goes round in circles, but in the end, our young brave hero does not give in (even though he's probably already slept with a girl) because this girl is different and he loves her, so he won't sleep with her. Our heroine gets all huffy and angsty and wonders if he won't sleep with her because she has small breasts.
I'm wondering if you can place this book with just this information or if you've seen this often enough in YA books that a few are running through your mind. Granted, it isn't as common as a love triangle, but I can think of quite a few YA books that have this kind of scenario. Did it phase me the first time? No, not really. But for some reason, this past book it did. Because I've read this so many times now, I'm starting to worry about this scene getting repeated so often.
Now, here's the thing. I don't think that reading a situation once will normalize it for a reader. So if one book has a character making a decision that I wouldn't want my younger cousin to make, usually I won't get up-in-arms about it. But the situation above alarms me because I worry it's becoming normalized.
I mean, hey, in this situation, they don't sleep with each other. So why get so alarmed about it? Well, who is this kind of book targeted to? Teenage girls. The heroine of the story wants to get down, and a lot of the time, with a boy who's been "bad" before. I get the authors, in this scenario, are probably trying to show how our bad boy has changed, or how the hero's love for the girl is pure. But for me, it also kind of hints that the man is in control of when the couple takes that step. I can think of one book right now (and maybe my memory's fuzzy and I'm only remembering one right now) in which the girl says "No, it's not the time" to her love interest--the one who she really does love, not the bad boyfriend kind of character. Other than that, it's always been the boy who stops it. Which makes me wonder, will teenage girls think that they can trust their partner? That once they get those urges, it's okay to bring it up and try to get him to sleep with her, expecting the boy to know if they're ready or it's okay for them to go ahead? If so, this is a VERY bad idea. Because the boy they have may not be as idealized as the one in the book. He's just as stupid with hormones as the girl is. And this could be very bad.
Like I said in the opening: people have different standards. That's everyone's choice and I don't mean to waggle my finger at anyone who's making different choices than me. BUT. Every person should make a responsible choice. And in these YA book moments, they're never ready, they've never thought about the consequences, they aren't responsible at all. And ultimately that's what worries me. That authors are so caught up in making it dramatic that it's setting a bad example for the teens who read it.
Tell me if you agree or if I'm being an over-dramatic prude.