Keep Me Posted!

Sign me up for the latest news from Penguin Teen, including new books, special offers, and promotions.

SEAFIRE author Natalie C. Parker destroys the toxic myth of “not like other girls”

SHARE

By Natalie C. Parker

 

I’m a feminist and was from a very young age. For this I thank my mother, whose brand of feminism at the time might be summarized by her insistence that my sister and I were welcome to paint our nails as long as we kept them short enough to make a fist. This early pairing of ideas—that a gendered activity like painting fingernails was compatible with a differently-gendered activity like fighting—has remained an influential one in my life. And while I’m certain that the reason she was so insistent her daughters be capable of throwing a punch was grounded in her belief that the world was a dangerous place for girls, it was also a message about strength. I grew up knowing that painting my fingernails didn’t make my punches any less powerful, which might seem like a small lesson in the ways our society uses gender, but it was a foundational one.

 

My early lessons in gender and power eventually lead me to pursue a graduate degree in gender studies where I analyzed literature with a critical focus on the ways women and girls were given space in stories. There is much to be said on this topic, but one of the tropes that continues to haunt contemporary storytelling is that of the girl who is “not like other girls.”

 

This trope is one of the most insidious tools of patriarchal storytelling because it’s delivered in the guise of a compliment. It is the wolf in sheep’s clothing of sexist tropes! The girl who isn’t like other girls is one who typically eschews habits and hobbies that are traditionally gendered female (and that therefore have less social value) and surrounds herself with boys because she doesn’t enjoy the company of other girls. We see her appear repeatedly in film and fiction and she’s presented as someone who is more desirable specifically because she has actively divorced herself from traits that are closely aligned with being female. In other words, taking on habits and hobbies that are considered masculine (she’s not like other girls because she likes computers or cars or watching football!), and isolating herself from other girls, makes her better.

 

*cue head explosion*

 

There are many sexist tropes alive and well today, but this one gets under my skin because it suggests that the only way for girls to be valued is to accept that girls and women aren’t valuable to begin with. When it appears in stories, we see girls turning on each other, holding each other down while they reach for approval from the very force that fed them the lie that girls are less than boys in the first place.

 

*cue secondary head explosion*

 

In more ways than one, Seafire is an answer to this trope: a rebuttal and a challenge. One of my greatest hopes for this novel is that it contributes to the rising tide of stories that seek to interrupt this narrative. Instead of suggesting girls in a group must be in competition with one another, I want stories in which girls are in collaboration with one another, where they are capable of disagreeing without tearing each other down, where they push back against the forces that want to disempower them by driving them apart.

 

The girls of Seafire aren’t here for the patriarchy. They resist it with every weapon in their arsenal: they sail ships and plot battles; they go on raids and fix each other’s hair; they argue about what to do next and teach each other to read; they are smart and skilled and brave and gentle. Not a single one of them is like the other, and they are all just like other girls.

Seafire is available for pre-order now! Don’t forget to submit your receipt for our pre-order giveaway!

 

And if you want more awesome Seafire content from Natalie C. Parker check out these book recs for the Seafire crew mates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#AuthorSpotlight

Cinnamon rolls to the rom-com front!

While we love writing unapologetic, unconventional girls—flirtatious, forward Megan and cutting Cameron—we don’t often discuss the other half of the romance equation in our YA rom-coms: the guys. We love our male leads, and we’re excited to unpack them in the context of important conversations in and outside YA on male stereotypes and masculinity.   … Continued
See More

March Movie Madness: SEMI FINAL ROUND 2!

If you thought Harry Potter vs. The Hunger Games was hard, just you get ready for…LOVE SIMON VS. TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE! It’s the rom com semi-final, everybody! Let’s hear from Jennifer!   Look, I know this is a hard one. In a perfect world, I would devote the rest of my … Continued
See More

Why Isn’t She Smiling: Author Spotlight

Why Isn’t She Smiling? by Ally Condie, author of The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe   In preschool, I drew a picture of a girl. The girl was supposed to be me—curly brown hair, brown eyes. She wore a blue dress because blue was and is my favorite color. I was pleased with my work. In … Continued
See More

Four Dead Queens: the PLAYLIST!

Let’s face it. Sometimes, you’re reading an epic mystery fantasy and you just need to jam. As it turns out, Astrid Scholte author of Four Dead Queens feels the same way, and she’s shared her playlist with us! Although she’s not one for writing to music, she certainly knows how to build the perfect Four Dead Queens reading atmosphere. Scroll … Continued
See More

March Movie Madness: SEMI FINAL ROUND 1!

We’re getting down to the wire here. Time for..PT MARCH MOVIE MADNESS SEMI FINALS! From the Netflix smackdown to an intense face-off between The Breakfast Club and The Fault in Our Stars, it’s been crazy. But it’s about to get crazier, because it’s time for–wait for it–HARRY POTTER VS. THE HUNGER GAMES!   Let’s hear from … Continued
See More

BATTLE ROUND 4: March Movie Madness

It’s that time again! Get ready for BATTLE ROUND 4! Last round we saw beloved Netflix movies battle it out, leaving TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE as the last one standing. Today, it’s Emily Wibberley vs. Rachel Hawkins. That means 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU vs. THE PRINCESS DIARIES! How do you even choose?!   … Continued
See More

PT March Movie Madness: THE GRAND FINAL ROUND!

What. A month. From the Netflix smackdown to a battle between The Hunger Games and Harry Potter that no one saw comin’, it’s been an intense month of trying to track down the ULTIMATE teen movie. But you guys have narrowed it down, and now it’s time for the final vote. Get ready, everyone! It’s time for HARRY POTTER … Continued
See More

BATTLE ROUND 6: March Movie Madness

IT’S TIME FOR ROUND 6. And we are getting CRAZY close to the semi-finals. And what else? It’s time for TWILIGHT VS. LOVE SIMON AHHHHH Let’s hear from Danielle!   I know some of you immediately dismissed this entry. Friends, I used to be one of you. Anyone who has met me in person knows … Continued
See More

March Movie Madness: SEMI FINAL ROUND 3!

We are ONE ROUND AWAY from the GRAND FINALE of PT March Movie Madness! And you know what that means. It’s time for THE PRINCESS DIARIES vs. THE BREAKFAST CLUB! Let’s hear from Rachel!   I KNEW Makeover Montage would win y’all over! But now that we’re in the semi-finals, let’s get a little deeper, … Continued
See More

BATTLE ROUND 5: March Movie Madness

Well well well HERE WE ARE AT ROUND 5. We’re gettin’ close to the semi finals and IT’S INTENSE. It’s about to get even more so. Because we’re making you choose between THE BREAKFAST CLUB and…THE FAULT IN OUR STARS   Repping The Breakfast Club is…Peter Bognanni!   “Don’t you forget about me!”  The cheesy … Continued
See More
BACK TO TOP