Non-normative Bodies, Queer Identities

Marginalizing Queer Girls in YA Dystopian Literature

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 University of Western Ontario mgreenb6@uwo.ca
  • | 2 University of Florida jill.coste@gmail.com
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Abstract

In this article we consider the absence of queer female protagonists in dystopian Young Adult (YA) fiction and examine how texts with queer protagonists rely on heteronormative frameworks. Often seen as progressive, dystopian YA fiction features rebellious teen girls resisting the restrictive norms of their societies, but it frequently sidelines queerness in favor of heteronormative romance for its predominantly white, able-bodied protagonists. We analyze The Scorpion Rules (2015) and Love in the Time of Global Warming (2013), both of which feature queer girl protagonists, and conclude that these texts ultimately marginalize that queerness. While they offer readers queer female protagonists, they also equate queerness with non-normative bodies and reaffirm heteronormativity. The rebellion of both protagonists effectively distances them from the queer agency they have developed throughout the narratives.

Contributor Notes

Miranda A. Green-Barteet is an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario cross-appointed in the Departments of Women's Studies and English Studies. She has published on The Hunger Games trilogy (2014, 2017) and the Divergent series (2014). She co-edited, with Sara K. Day and Amy L. Montz, Female Rebellion in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction (2014) and, with Anne K. Phillips, the forthcoming Reconsidering Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House and Beyond. Email: mgreenb6@uwo.ca

Jill Coste is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida. Her dissertation focuses on resistance in contemporary YA fairy tales. She has published on Neil Gaiman and Sarah Fielding and has forthcoming essays on YA dystopias in the edited collections Raced Bodies, Erased Lives: Race in Young Adult Speculative Fiction and Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction. Email: jill.coste@gmail.com

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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