Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dumb Girls

What is wrong with being blond and liking the color pink?

No, seriously—what is wrong with it?

I know I say I don’t read reviews, but sometimes I catch snippets of them while looking at/for other things.  And nothing makes me madder than when reviewers dismiss Evie—MY EVIE—as a ditz.  (Okay, fine, one thing makes me madder: a reviewer who said Paranormalcy was a Twilight knock-off.  Umm, WHAT BOOK DID YOU READ??  Because it certainly wasn’t one I wrote.)

Their ditz rationale usually revolves around three things: Evie likes boys, Evie likes the color pink, and Evie likes to look pretty.

Umm, were you ever a teenage girl?  (My twelve guy readers simultaneously answer, “Umm, no!”  Smart alecks.  Shut up and keep reading.)  Because I was a teen girl, and let me tell you something.  Boys?  Pretty much 75% of my waking thoughts.  Boys, boys, BOYS BOYS BOYS.  I thought about boys all the time.  Cute boys, boys that bugged me, boys that were so cute it bugged me, how I could get those particular boys to notice me, what I would do if they did ever end up noticing me, etc.  And you know what?  I wasn’t a ditz.  I was kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum.  (You wanna see my medals from the Academic Decathlon?  Who needs sports when you are really good at taking tests!)  I was smart and motivated and mature and I LIKED BOYS.

Teen Kiersten! Far left. Odds are I was thinking about boys.
(Or about how pale I was.)
(Or how much I hated my prom dress.)
(But probably boys.)*

As far as the color pink, it’s a bit head-scratching.  What’s wrong with liking a color?  I love the color green.  I’m irrationally swayed by it.  I have been known to buy books JUST BECAUSE they featured green heavily on the cover.  I refuse to buy Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger on my Kindle even though it’d be cheaper because the ink is green in the hardcover and it wouldn’t be on the screen.

Yes, the color pink is “girly.”  But Evie’s obsessive love of it is more an indication of her desperation to conform to her idea of “normal” than anything else.  She loves pink, and teen television dramas, and fashion magazines because she loves the idea of being a normal teenager and those things, to her, represent that ideal.  And, quite frankly, with her coloring she looks fabulous in the color pink, and that’s a good enough reason for me.

And finally, wanting to look pretty.  This ties in to the previous issue of her loving such a “girly” color.  What on earth is wrong with being feminine?  I’m a card-carrying feminist (okay, not literally, no one has issued me a “100% Genuine Feminist Club” card yet, although I have been checking the mail regularly for the last twelve years) and I say getting to wear skirts is an advantage we have over guys.  Skirts are cute and comfortable.  Guys have to wear button-up shirts and ties.  It’s pretty much one of the only ways in which our fashion is easier than theirs.  Take THAT, guys!  Unless you wanna rock the kilt, we totally own you in this category.

I’ve noticed lately a trend where authors feel compelled to insert into their novels that the female MC rarely wears makeup, or feels uncomfortable dressed up, or doesn’t want to try and be pretty.  Like they want to make sure you know their MC isn’t one of “those” girls.

What is wrong with wanting to look nice?  If it makes you feel good, and you enjoy it, I say more power to you.  One of my favorite MCs for a book you can’t read yet is probably the toughest, most contrary, rebellious character I’ve ever written.  And she loves wearing makeup.  Why?  Because it makes her happy and she enjoys playing around with it.  She doesn’t do it for other people, or to impress boys.  She does it for herself.  And if that isn’t feminist, what the crap is?

If a teen girl likes wearing jeans and t-shirts and doesn’t like makeup, awesome!  If a teen girl likes wearing skirts and dresses and putting on makeup, awesome!  Neither makes you inherently a ditz, or stupid, or smart, or whatever else.  It just makes you you.

What’s interesting is that it’s never guy reviewers complaining about this stuff—it’s girl reviewers.  Why do we feel that we have to kick back against these things, or tear girls down who like them?  That’s a rhetorical question.  I don’t know the answer to why it’s “bad” to like girly things, or why it somehow makes you dumb.  But I do know that the vast majority of readers and reviewers love that Evie is girly, and she is boy crazy, and she is pretty, and she is tough, and she is smart, and she is brave.  Because you can be all of those things, it turns out.  You don’t have to choose to either be smart or like being pretty.  You don’t have to choose to either like pink or be taken seriously.  We can have it all!

Except sparkly pink Tasers with rhinestones, because they aren’t legal in some states.

*Special thanks to Amy, for posting old pictures on Facebook.  And special thanks for our ridiculous facial expressions to going to prom with a group of drama kids.


pinksuedeshoe said...

Love this post! Love that pic, oh my gosh, so funny to remember everyone that young! And the day that it is wrong to love pink is the day I move to another planet. Or Canada, they are nice up there and I'm sure they don't care how much you love pink.

Love your book, Love Evie, love everything about her actually. And one day when I grow up I really want a pink sparkly taser. For reals.

Martha Brockenbrough said...

Oh, amen to this, Kiersten. The stigma attached to "girly" things is appalling and reflects a whole lotta sexism. It's never bad if a girl wants to wear jeans and do boy things. It's admirable, as you've pointed out. And this is because we view the male as the norm and the ideal. I love your point that we should do what we like because we like it--that's how we figure out who we are, and how we make our own spaces in the world. Glad I read this post!

Shannon@BooksDevoured said...

I Love it when Authors stand up for their books. Seriously, I do. I am so glad that you are reminding people that we shouldn't judge a person by their appearance, that includes fiction people!

Stephanie Perkins said...

I just gave you eighty billion high-fives.

Cheyanne said...

Don't listen to the haters!

I loved that Evie likes pink and girlie stuff because I like pink and girlie stuff!

And I don't even recall parts of the book where she wanted to look nice as being anything that stuck out to me. Evie, in my mind, is strong and not a ditz.

Tracey Neithercott said...

Yes! I don't see the problem either. I loved makeup and boys and dressing up and boys. Also, I loved boys. I was a major nerd and studied nonstop but that didn't mean I couldn't appreciate girly stuff.

Renee Miller said...

Anyone who would judge a book simply on a character being feminine or masculine and not on the writing probably isn't a reader you need anyway. Seriously, I'd wonder about the ones who like orange. I mean how awful is that? :P

Oh and yes, Canadians are quite fond of pink. In fact our flag colors make pink, so we have to like it. Even if we didn't like it, we don't judge. Just don't make fun of the poutine and everything will be fine.

Anthony said...

I give this rant a total A+.

It was awesome. No, coated in awesome sauce. No, it was FIVE BACON STRIPS OUT OF FIVE.

Lale said...

This is so true. And you know what? Evie's girliness is exactly why I loved her. It's called realism, and there is nothing I adore more than a book that's realistic. :)

Magan said...

I was just having this discussion with my husband! Okay actually he just said that I have an obsession with quarterbacks and didn't understand it, but that's not the point! I may have been a comic book reading blonde with glasses in high school, but that didn't mean that I didn't think about boys 24/7...especially college football quarterbacks...I MEAN COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS, gah.

And love the prom picture! I don't understand why you look so angry, was it because you just paid $50 to watch other people grind on eachother? Because that's how I felt at prom.

Jess said...

You are fantastic. Way to stick up for your character! Evie sounds awesome, and I can't wait to read Paranormalcy.

ellen said...

Twilight knock-off?! Wha-?

Oh, and I was a dork when I was a teenager (still am), and I may not have talked that much about boys, but of course I obsessed over them. While also getting really good grades.
And yeah, it is possible for a girl with an IQ of 135 to like "girly" things like Hello Kitty, and heels, and bags, and oh, the dreaded color pink.

"Feminists" who still want all girls to be the same (they just use a shape they like better) aren't feminists, they still want to limit girls from being and expressing themselves.

BTW, love the pic!

Becky said...

You're completely right. You really are. There is nothing wrong with loving girly things. Even girls who don't wear lots of makeup or chatter about boys or like pink (me on all counts) can still enjoy playing around with makeup and think about boys a lot and love feeling pretty (again, me on all counts).

Feeling slightly guilty here because I have objected to "too much pink" in books -- but that isn't a flaw of the character or the writer or the story, just my personal distaste for pink. (That said, I adored Paranormalcy even with all the pink.)

Erin said...

(a) how come I didn't know you had a Kindle? Was it a Christmas present? Love mine but I know what you mean -- sometimes I just want to buy the pretty book.

(b) my co-worker's 12-year-old son read Paranormalcy over Christmas break. She said he could hardly put it down. I thought that was darling.

Kristi said...

Ok, first off, that picture is WAY TOO CUTE!

Secondly, YOU GO GIRL! And I, for one, have to believe that these crazy people reviewing your book are in the minority because I honestly haven't heard a bad word yet, just a lot of "It's totally awesome" buzz! So, ignore those 1% and focus on the glorious 99% that think you totally rock.

BTW - I have your pretty book in my nightstand taunting me every night with it's gorgeous cover! Can't wait to be the 99%...if only I could read FASTER! (or not have to chase a toddler every few minutes perhaps)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

whoo-hoo! bravo! whistling ecstatically!!!

I agree on all counts. first of all, reviews. I avoid them also, but on occasion I've accidentally one or two and they make me mad b/c people bash stupid things!

second of all, girls being girls! yes! even the smart, religious girls think about boys! even good girls want guys to like them! a girl can want to look good w/out being superficial!

third of all, MCs that don't care about make-up/clothes/always wear ponytails--it's so overdone. and so lame. I simply can't relate to women who don't want to take even a small effort to look nice.

and yes, many times I've read a review and thought, "hello!!! that was answered on page 28!! didn't you read my book??"

Kreag the Book Loving Writer said...

I am a boy! Yay you have thirteen guy readers. And i also agree with them, that i do not make a habit of thinking about boys,boys boys but maybe you could say Girls, girls, girls. anyways, Evie was NOT a ditz. She was not like those girls that i go to highschool with that like pink and are blonde. Evie is a different kind of... blonde. Okay, so im not sure where this is going but... ya. Evie, we all love you! Oh, and Paranormalcy is about as original as you can get so how can someone call it a Twilight knockoff? No bleeping way! I hate it when things are compared to Twilight like that.

Katie (Bookishly Yours) said...

Love this post. It's like, in order to be respected or taken seriously, girls can't like anything that makes them girls.

I, for one, loved Evie and all of her pink-loving awesomeness.

Stephanie said...

Thank you! I'm a straight A student but I feel self-conscious walking into school wearing pink and especially wearing high heels because I'm terrified people will think I'm silly or superficial or whatever. So I wear jeans and a baggy t-shirt and worker boots, but you're right I shouldn't because that's not me. Thank you.

Michelle Wolfson said...

So take *that* you girly, pink haters!

Evie ROCKS and so do you, Kiersten.

Well said, as usual.

Ina said...

YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes.


I've often been told that being someone who likes to shop and read Vogue magazine AND read classics and write novels is just plain IMPOSSIBLE. Someone actually told me quite recently that I don't "look like a writer" because I "wear makeup and care about fashion and stuff". To which I say, BAH HUMBUG. It's ok to be any combination of things, including girly AND smart.

Love this post.

Molly said...

It's funny, I'm one of those girls who wears chapstick and jeans and t-shirts-I like dressing up and putting makeup on, but it's not quite as much of a priority as other girls I know. But boys? I have bunches of friends from different places and ages with different personalities who all like boys (a couple of them like girls, but that's so not the point) with equal fascination. There are red heads, blondes, brunettes, gamers, math nerds, writers, pre-med students, musicians, and dancers. There is not a single quality in Evie that each of these girls could not identify with. Liking pink, or shopping or boys is not specific to ditzes, because if those qualities were, some of the smartest people I know would be total dingdongs. And while we're at it, maybe I'm just REALLY unobservant, but I didn't notice anything ditzy from Evie at all- I saw a smart chick with a love of online shopping go and take down some really creepy creatures, all while liking a guy for who he is, not what he looks like. That WAS the point, right?

Gina said...

This post reminds me of a Women's Studies teacher I had in college who felt conflicted because every now and again, she liked to shave her legs and felt she was betraying her feminist beliefs.

But isn't the whole point of being feminist to NOT let yourself be pigeonholed into any particular definition of being female/girly/womanly?? The moment someone tells you you're "wrong" for presenting yourself a particular way, they've completely lost sight of the fundamentals of feminism.

And the truth is, MOST girls like to feel pretty, and most girls want boys to think they are pretty. I literally just talked about this in my last post, how I always imagine my main characters as much prettier than me, because I am so average-looking and the whole reason I read and write is to escape the boring, mundane aspects of my life.

So, in a nutshell (now that I've dominated half the comment section), if loving pink and being blonde and shaving your legs is what makes you feel good about yourself, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!!

Allie Sanders said...

I think I was one of the 99% of teens who didn't constantly think about boys but if you saw the boys in my town you'd understand why. I rebelled at make-up and putting effort into my appearance. I didn't want to be one of those girls who spent an hour getting ready for school.

In the last four years since I graduated I have bought more skirts and dresses than I can fit in my closet. I have clothes actually designed for women rather than the oversized, shapeless T-shirts that I gave to my hubby. I have a whole drawer dedicated to make-up. A shelf dedicated to hair products. I like being a girl.

I don't understand why we're brainwashed to think that appearance is such a bad thing. Sure, if you're going to alter yourself to fit someone else's views there's a problem but why shouldn't I get dressed up for no reason at all if it makes me feel good?

I don't understand the complaints on your book. I loved Evie because she was everything a girl should be. She was beautiful, strong, and so totally real. I never saw her as a bit of fluff (even when she was obsessing about bad Teen TV) but as someone who I would want in my corner in a fight.

Also, I looked for a pink Taser but the cops told me I couldn't carry one in the state of Michigan. Total bummer. I had my rhinestones all ready and everything.

Julia King said...

Oh my gosh - I remember about half of the people in that picture. Crazy. Mr. Jeff--he reminds me of China cause I went to China with him on a study abroad. He is funny and got me into Arrested Development. Kiersten, sometimes I forget that we are from the same city and went to the same high school. Too bad we never knew each other then even though we probably passed each other in the hall all the time. Ok, I am at work and haven't had time to read the post, but I will. Just had to elaborate on how funny it is that I know people in the pic. Ciao.

Jade said...

You only thought about boys 75% of the time? Some days I went over the 95% mark.

I LOVE this post! When I got married, I didn't take my husband's last name because I didn't want to. I did, however, wear a pretty dress and make-up. I don't believe they contradict each other. I certainly don't believe that you have to either be girly or smart. I like characters (and real people) who can rock both angles.

And Evie IS awesome. Let the haters hate, Kiersten. Let the haters hate.

heidikins said...

Oh man, I can't get past that photo--pure awesomeness!!

I actually loved how much Evie is girly and loves pink and such, it was so different from how I remember most of your personality (a homemade "Say No To Love" Valentine's T-Shirt comes to mind). I love that you created her as her own, pink-sparkle-loving character.


Amber Cuadra said...

Here here! I agree! You can be kick-butt and wear skirts at the same time. Or pink. Plus, all the girl MC's trying to stay away from the "girly" stereotype is getting kind of annoying, at least to me.

Andrea Cremer said...

Yay, Kiersten! I also hate the claim that just because a book is paranormal and has romance that it's characters aren't intelligent or that the book is simply a Twilight knock-off. Grrrrr!

Evie is one of my favorite MCs. And being an author who does have an MC who hates make-up and dressing up - that's just who she is. She's written by an author who loves make up and would rather wear a skirt than jeans (seriously!) It's all about letting the character be their true self :)

Jordyn said...


lora96 said...


PS I used to teach in a prison. I drive a truck. I have a master's degree. None of this precludes my love of sparkly nail polish.

Anne R. Allen said...

I'm so with you on this. Girly girls can be strong, too!

Kimberly Sabatini said...

Woo hoo! You said it perfectly. I think one of the most important lessons here is that any girl can and should be allowed to be who she wants to be. Why do folks think they get to pick for someone else? Glad you stood up for Evie. Wondering if NY allows sparkly pink tasers--I really want one! Hmmmm wonder who we could use it on?

Leigh said...

Love this post. I also read a comment on someone else's post today saying that they wouldn't read anything that became really popular like HP or Twilight. I don't understand that. I get not being a follower and all that but don't you think that a lot of things that get really popular get that way for a reason? Like, for example, books that reach the NYT Bestseller lists, ahem? Maybe there're good! Get over yourselves!

Jordanne said...

POWER TO YOU!!! I read this aloud to my mom and sister and they loved it (even though my mom hasn't read your work, she loves you....YOU'RE HILARIOUS) and this post is, in fact, very true. Sad to say, I used to be one of those girls that thought when you dressed up and wore make-up, you were an airhead. But now that I'm in highschool and my sister began instructing me on how to dress and I began reading more fashion magazines and going on more dates and thinking more about "BOYS BOYS BOYS"...while still being myself and reading just as much as I did when I didn't do all that...I realized...I'm not an maybe they're not...Of course, some do have that "I'm prettier than you, aka superior aka I'm allowed to be witchy" complex. Not all. Just some. But anyways, love you Kiersten! I'm dying for the next book. DYING. <3 <3 <3 xoxo

Guinevere said...


I love pink, I love fashion and shopping, I love having my hair and makeup done and being pretty, I love getting massages and pedis... and I love paranormal romances and reading in the tub.

I'm also a Marine. I've deployed to Iraq. I'm an expert shot. I'm very, very good at my job.

I can fly planes. I graduated summa cum laude from college. My minor was Physics.

So does anyone really want to call me a ditz? :)

Being a girlie-girl doesn't equate to dumb unless, of course, a misogynist is doing the judging. If you don't value women, you won't be able to appreciate their intelligence alongside their femininity because those things will seem to be at odds. Girls and women should just get to be who they are, not conform to anyone else's idea of how they should look and act.

Emily White said...

Thank you thank you thank you thank you! I LOVE Evie because of all those things you stated! I felt like she was me when I was a teen (yup, a blonde who loved pink, and sparkly! and boys!). And it was so refreshing to read about a girl who LIKED to look pretty instead of disregarding all those "girly" things.

Poo poo on the haters! Smart girls can be girly and love love LOVE pink!

Oh, and a little tidbit: pink was a boy's color before the '40s.

Tracy said...

I wanted to smack Evie for the obsessively pink thing, but that's only because I whole-heartedly believe blue is a far superior color.

But fictional girls who don't like fictional boys? There's something wrong there ... unless she happens to be a fictional lesbian...but that's a whole other kind of story.

I must say I'm impressed that only 75% of your teenage thoughts revolved around boys. I'm pretty sure my percentage was much higher.

Emily White said...

Oh, and I just read the comment above mine. I'm completely a girlie-girl and I'm an OIF veteran, too! Yup, eight years in the Army and I totally know how to kill someone with my bare hands--just one of the perks of being in a Special Operations MOS.

Katie said...

I'm pretty sure that those people were kind of predjudiced. They already had their minds made up about Evie before they read the book.
Maybe they didn't even read the book at all. I mean, seriously, a Twilight knockoff? WHAT?? It was not anything like Twilight, in my opinion. The only way I can think that it was like Twilight was that it had paranormals. But really? That makes me so mad.

My friend who is blond and loves pink loves Evie - and so does my friend who is brunette and hates anything pink or frilly. It's just the way Evie is and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, that makes her a stronger character because she is so strong, and yet she's the typical teen girl (in a good way).

Aubree said...

LOVE this post. seriously. love it. too bad i can't marry it.
it's all true, and not for one second did i think of evie as a ditz just because of her pink boots (although i admit, i wanted to steal them).
anyone who says they don't want to look pretty is probably lying through their teeth. we all want to, me included of course. i want to look pretty without so much wanting, but you get the idea. smart girls in high school like you can be pretty, paranormal ones like evie can be pretty, feminists can be pretty! (gloria steinem, anyone? anyone?)
oh, and the twilight rip off comment is utterly absurd. my spidey senses tell me they didn't read your book!
i'm done now :) keep being awesome, your posts all make me laugh.

Shveta Thakrar said...

Thank you! I am so, so, so tired of bashing femininity! There is nothing wrong with liking anything, whether it's considered traditionally masculine or feminine! Argh!

/end rant

Thank you for this post, Kiersten.

Shveta Thakrar said...

Oh, also, until recently in the West, pink wasn't considered "girly." In other cultures, guys still wear it. It's just a color, like you said with green.

*sigh* Get over it, society.

HollyAnn said...

Ha! My MC struggles with this becaues she's a warrior and doesn't think she can be girlie, too. She figures it out in the end I do feel like girls struggle with the idea that liking pink will put them in a corner and cause them to be judged. Sad but true.

Karen Akins said...

Ha! Love this post. And love this picture. But why are you all so very, very, very angry?? :)

Amie B said...

pink is my favorite color. and all my friends say i'm as girly as they come. as far as i know, no-one has ever hated me for it :)

Ebony McKenna. said...

Of course Paranormalcy is just like Twilight. They have girls in them and they are successful books.


I totally get where you're coming from. It's part and parcel of having your work out there but at the same time it boggles the brain.

When I started writing, I knew there was no way I could please everyone - and when I get lovely reviews I am over the moon. But I think it's human nature to scratch your head at a strange review and think 'have you even read the book?'

And pink is totally misunderstood.

Sarah said...

For some reason, I think that those things make Evie unique. She has a taser, so she's tough. But it's pink, so she's something I've never seen before!

In a way (not the SAME way) she kind of sounds like Buffy. She liked boys and yada, but she wasn't a "ditz." Usually.

Mike said...

So many reviewer people are busily writing things they think sound good, or sound like they think they should sound, because they don't have a clue; don't know what they're writing about, etc., etc. They probably 1. didn't read the book - just glanced at a couple of pages., 2. can only come up with cliches, since they have no original thoughts.,3. they like to tie nonsense together and call it great thinking. And on and on....

These kind of reviewers are rectalinear thinkers. (Yes that 5th letter is an A. It really takes you to the butt of the problem!}

As an older Male (71) I can tell you that guys have the same kind of worries girls do. "How can I get her to notice me?" "What do I do if she does?" "I don't know what to say to a girl,without sounding really dumb." As far as the girls and makeup - think of guys with aftershave, or liking the smell of sweat because that's manly, etc.

Guys like to look good (or "macho dirty") for the girls. Impress 'em!
What's wrong with pink? I had a bright pink shirt I wore in college, to be different - a couple of athletes got them too. We had great fun (all of us 6 foot, and barrel chested, and in pretty good shape too - just looking for somebody to say something).

Twilight? Ha! Probably didn't see that either (or read it). I happened on YOUR book by coming across a ref to your blog on another blog. Saw the cover, read that this had a nice turn (twist) on "normal" stories, and bought the book. Loved it. I like things that take things that we take for granted and turn them around. There's always another side to "normal". For example: Michelangelo ruined a block of marble to carve the statue "David" (my favorite line for thinking on the "other side" of normal).

Mentally tell that reviewer to soak their head - in their condition a sits bath would be ideal.

Love your work! Write, Write, Write!

Small Review said...

I LOVE this post! Thank you!

I think reviewers calling Evie shallow or a ditz for liking girly things kinda missed the point. She's trying so hard to be normal, and those are all things I think of when I think about a "normal" teenage girl. Evie seems fun to me. Does that make me a ditz too?

Plus, her life is so harsh. If I spent my days tracking down, tasing, and tagging supernatural baddies all the time, I'd want to veg out with some girly fluff on my time off too!

And, yeah, I pretty much thought about 1) Boys and 2) How to look pretty. I didn't like pink or anything overly girly like that when I was a teen, but now (as is pretty obvious from my overly-pink blog) I love the color pink. What's wrong with that? Why should that make me any dumber than someone who likes blue or red or green?

One of the things I love about Evie is that she is a strong female character who isn't a tomboy or a "tough girl." She is girly, but she isn't weak. I think authors often want to write about a strong heroine (which is good) but they seem to think that in order to make them strong they have to remove all femininity from the character. But why? I don't like that at all and it's become a boring stereotype in YA lately. It was really refreshing to have Evie be both strong and feminine.

Michelle said...

great post.
Love the rant.. get the truth out there

Ishta Mercurio said...

You know, I'm a feminist who got straight-A+ grades and skipped years of school and who also chose to stay home with my kids instead of pursuing a career, because it's what I decided was best for my family.

Not a lot of people get that, but I think you probably do. Thanks for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

Read Now Sleep Later said...

LOVE this post. I'm not blond, or a ditz, and I have to say... even though I'm married I still spend a lot of time thinking about boys... although my tendency is towards yummylicious grown-up Boys like Lee Pace and David Tennant.

Excuse me. I just drooled a little.

I loved Evie--she may sound like a ditz, but that's just her cover. She's a smart, sassy, sharp as knives wonder woman in pink, and she can rock awesome boots that I would look ridiculous in. I prefer to rock a pair of red vans+jeans+t-shirts with geeky slogans and the occasional image of Matt Smith.

p.s. My husband looks *great* in each of his three pink shirts.

anonymeet said...

Hear, hear!

I think "doesn't care about clothes, doesn't wear make-up" is sometimes used as a shorthand for "this character is strong and independent."

But that's just silly on a number of levels. As this post and the comments show, strong and independent don't necessarily have anything to do with clothes or make-up. It's also kind of a lazy way to show who a character is. I'd much rather see the strength and independence through the character's actions or be learned over the course of the story.

The Despain Gang said...

You've got nothing to worry about or justify. Evie is amazing and I related to her very well. You're a great writer. You're right, I love makeup and pink and Tasey was one of my favorite aspects of Evie in the beginning. The fact that she named it, made it pink, added rinestones and acted as it was her best friend, made me smile right off the bat. Well done!

Angela Felsted said...

There's nothing wrong with Evie. Evie is great! And I was a teenage girl who couldn't stand boys, mostly because the ones I knew were meatheads.

Eleni said...

Hey, I loved wearing pink and playing with make-up in high school, and I don't think that makes me a ditz. Plus, I especially despise it when I read a review on Amazon that starts off with "It wasn't as good as Twilight but..." I want to shout "TWILIGHT IS NOT THE HOLY GRAIL OF TEEN LIT!! THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO READ OUT THERE THAN TWILIGHT!" It's like the theatre reviews of my plays that started out with "I don't go to plays to often, but ___ was pretty good." If you have to start your review off like that, then maybe you don't have enough experience to be reviewing the play! Same thing with books!

Red Boot Pearl said...

Why do people think being feminist means being anti-feminine?
I seriously don't want to be a man.
I like make-up and I like staying home with my kids... I like making my own decisions.

p.s. I seriously liked your post about Taylor Swift's 'Mine'
and the whole concept of:
girl+self = love

I LOVE the movie 'Penelope' with Christina Ricci because it's all about loving who you are.

Liesl said...

Amen. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, because I do consider myself a feminist, but maybe not in the sense that people think of it. I am married, I'm a stay-at-home mom of three. I CHOSE that life and I do it on my OWN TERMS. I like pink, I wear it sometimes, I like make-up (in small amounts, no masks!) and I was obsessed with boys from second grade until college.

To me, feminism does not mean dismissing all thing "girly." Feminism is the effort to empower women with their own will; to make choices and take action independent of anyone's expectations and without calculation for seduction of the opposite sex.

We have brains. We are strong. That doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't be beautiful, or soft, or sensitive, or maternal. Those things are powerful too. People get that mixed up, I think.

Marsha Sigman said...

At first I thought that was a pic from Gossip Way to strike a pose!!

And you look so

I agree, wanting to wear makeup and liking boys certainly doesn't make you ditzy or makes you a girl. Unless you're a boy. But that's a whole other topic.

Samara Jensen said...

One of my favourite female characters ever is Elle Woods from the Legally Blonde movies (and of course, the original novel). Elle is blonde and she loves the colour pink, but she's also very smart. Except for a long time, people can't see past her blondeness and her love of the colour pink, and they think she's just a dumb blonde. Boy, do they get a surprise!

Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with a heroine who likes to look pretty. My latest female MC is a bit of a tomboy but still likes to dress up now and then. And my upcoming female MC is all about the make-up and dresses. It's good to have variety in our heroines - we're all different in real life, after all.

Jill Hathaway said...

DUDE. You look like you're having the worst. time. ever. in that picture!

Kiersten White said...

Umm, as far as how much fun I look like I'm having in the picture, we staged it that way on purpose but it was also fairly accurate. Not a very happy time in my life...

Oh, high school.

You guys, I have loved reading every single one of these comments. I'm feeling all warm-fuzzy-girl-powery. I especially liked the comments from my military readers (ROCK ON) and my guy readers.

Leigh said...

Ugh! Gets me well annoyed when I hear the 'Twilight Knockoff' theory! If a book has a girl MC a few hot guys and god forbid even mentions school its dubbed a 'twilight wannabe' The people that say these things are just jumping on the bandwagon. They probably haven't even read the book and they certainly haven't the brainpower to come up with something in the very least original to say, even if it's to say something negative. Fine... if you don't like it, thats cool. But at least come up with your own words to dis the book.

Anyway, stepping down off soap box, this is just one of those topics that really gets my goat.

Girls, hot boys, pink, being attractive - I'm all for it.

Leigh said...

Oh and your Prom photo! Haaaaaahahahahahaha. It's like a bad pic from a retro episode of Glee. All those pouts! Fantastic.

Lisa Aldin said...

Amen! That is all. (Same with women who choose to stay at home and be stay-at-home moms. This choice is not ANTI-Feminist. Feminism is wanting women to have equal rights as men. It's about CHOICE. Geesh.)

Megan.Christa said...

The reason I really loved Paranormalcy is because Evie was totally like me! I'm a teenage girl who loves to wear makeup and dress up and generally look nice. It makes me feel happy and bright. I feel awake. And up until your book, I had been kind of tired of those characters (don't get me wrong, I love tomboys) who are anti-pink and always wear tee-shirts and jeans.

Evie is amazing and I loved how easy she was to relate to.

LinWash said...

Kiersten, you just keep on writing, girl, and forget the naysayers. Pink's not my favorite color, but I love Evie, I loved Paranormalcy, and I want the next book in the series!

Jeigh said...

I honestly focused more on the fact that Evie was a strong girl, and not what she was wearing or what color she liked. I just like a girl with a brain in my reading, you know?

I have some pictures like your prom picture, except my angry face is because I'm trying and failing to look sexy. They're buried deep.

Madeleine said...

Yay, Kiersten! More power to you!

I'm a teenage girl. I'm friends with teenage girls. I'm also not friends with other teenage girls. I'm surrounded.

And there are a few things I am certain of:

1. Some of them look smart and are actually very, very not. They can still be perfectly wonderful, though.

2. Some look like glam-glam, hot-pink explosions, but they're brilliant.

3. Most of them (particularly the ones I'm friends with) don't fit into any category or stereotype at all. They are themselves. They can be described by many many adjectives, but certainly not by one.

I, for example, don't wear much make-up or do much to my hair, but I love looking pretty and dressing up. I am the NERDIEST OF NERDS (seriously), but I don't sit in the corner with a finger up my nose.

The one thing I can tell you about 87.999% of girls at my high school - including myself?

We all think about boys.

Lynz Pickles said...

Okay, not literally, no one has issued me a “100% Genuine Feminist Club” card yet, although I have been checking the mail regularly for the last twelve years.


Several hours later:

*runs back in*

I can't mail this because I don't know your address, and I don't think you'd really appreciate someone you don't know tracking it down (I couldn't, actually, but hypothetically...) and sending you something, even if you'd specifically requested it. Plus my colour printer isn't very good. So, instead, a digital version you can print up yourself, if you feel like it:

Kiersten White, Feminist.

I went for an authentic look with that version, because really, who looks good in any picture used for identification? But I do have a second version for you, just in case you want to pull an Evie and look all prettied up:

Kiersten White, Makeup-wearing Feminist.

Challenge complete!

Bee said...


patdwhite said...

man,I miss having that cute teenager at home!

Jodi Meadows said...

You said it!

Emily said...

There are many reasons I LOVE Evie, and most of them are because she's 150% girl :) i love a strong female MC that can also rock her feminine side, chase boys, and love pink.

Dana Elmendorf said...

The next time you read a bad review, tell that nitwit to look at your book sales and thank them for contributing to your bottom line. Sometimes Kiersten honey, people are jealous. Like my mom always said, opinions are like A-holes, everybody's got one.

You are a gem, a pink sparkly gem.

Anonymous said...

"What on earth is wrong with being feminine?"

AMEN. I'm a girly-girl brunette,and I'm loving it!

One of my favorite things about Evie is her obsession with pink (which happens to be my favorite color as well). It makes her all the more endearing!

-Christine from Arizona

Sara McClung ♥ said...

As a blonde who's a huge fan of the color pink? A-freaking-men :)

sylestehwriter said...

I love Evie! Heck, I WAS Evie at her age. I see nothing wrong with it. Evie's cute and feminine AND tough, and definitely NOWHERE NEAR similar to any characters in Twilight, which is one of the reasons I really liked it (I liked Twilight, too, but I have read a few knockoffs of Bella lately). Don't concern yourself with those reviews and Write, Kiersten, Write! (Because I'm really ready for the next book!)

Anita Saxena said...

I'm always late to comment. Sorry. I love this post. When I was a teen, all I wanted was to be pretty and for boys to like me. It consumed me. When I read Paranormalcy, I totally related to Evie's character. She was believable, even though she lived in a secret facility and carried a pink taser.
Ignore those smelly heads with the negative reviews. They don't know what they're talking about.

Claire Dawn said...

I'm a thorough tomboy.

And I love pink.

I think these stereotypes are what cause so much problems for American teens. If you listen to this you're 'emo', if you workout, you're a 'jock', do well academically and you're a 'geek'.

So you have to spend all this time carefully crafting a persona that is who you want to be seen as, not who you are.

Belle said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I love Evie, anyone calling her ditzy has not read your book. She is strong and able to take risks for people she loves. If thats not strong then what is?