Writing Adolescent Fiction/Teen myths and stereotypes to avoid

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'Things to avoid.'

1.“Real” women don’t do math.

This is a big myth which everyone can't seem to stop and think about. There is no such thing as a real woman who doesn't do math. Math is basically a compulsory subject in most schools. "real women" are women that have jobs (some don't) but they are independent and they can also be doctors and engineers.

2. Black people are inferior.

This is another huge myth that is still being tackled everyday. People from African blood aren't naive. They quite influential and independent.

3. Women weren't created only for childbearing or for being a housewife.

It is a common belief that because men are the principal producers in “modern” society that this has always been the case. In fact in earlier times when women were the main food-gatherers and producers, there were matriarchal societies where women had high status, were preeminent as cultivators and were glorified as goddesses. As late as the 2nd century BC, the major deities in European culture were women.

There are a variety of theories as to why this changed. Some like Reed felt that with the evolution of private property women lost their place in productive, social and cultural life and their worth sank along with their former status. Others like DeBeauvoir felt that change occurred when it was established that men as well as women were involved in the reproductive process. Napoleon felt:

"Woman is our property we are not hers because she produces children for us — we do not yield any to her. She is therefore our possession as the fruit tree is that of the gardener."

Researchers also used women’s reproductive capacity to conclude women's intellectual inferiority, and then turned around and concluded that using the intellect would destroy reproductive capacity. For example:

Female students were concluded to be pale, in delicate health and “prey to monstrous deviations from menstrual regularity.” (Clarke, 1873, last printing 1963!)

The woman who uses her brain loses her “mammary function first and had little hope to be other than a moral and medical freak.” (Hall, 1905)

Women are “closer to children and savages than to an adult civilized man.” (Le Bon, 1879, reported in Gould, 1981)

As you can tell from the publication dates of these texts, this ideology is outdated, and is not applicable to modern literature. Women, such as Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, and Katherine Johnson, the astrophysicist the who helped put man on the moon, have accomplished a great deal in the fields of math, science, and engineering. Therefore, women's contributions to the STEM fields are a perfect example of why you should not include "Women can't do math" in your adolescent fiction, because it sets an unfair stereotype on the young, impressionable girls who read your books.