Why are Labels like “Guilty Pleasure” More Often Applied to Genres Dominated by Female Characters and Authors?
“…the way we have talked about YA fiction since 2005 has largely been constructed around privileging authenticity, or the idea that certain genres and books are inherently more “real” or “prestigious” than others. Gender ties into this argument because more often than not, the YA works pegged as authentic and legitimate are written by men and fall into the category of realism. In contrast, the genre of fantasy or sci-fi, and especially those that include touches of romance, are lambasted as fanciful or “guilty pleasures.” Looking For Alaska may very well be a better work of fiction than Twilight, but to suggest that one is a lesser form of art simply because of its content, or the sex of the author, is ridiculous. Despite how ludicrous it is though, it’s often central to the way we discuss YA fiction.