This article from WIRED.com discusses the brilliance of the new dystopian thriller genre, in which women rule the leading roles! I thought it was incredibly insightful, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read it below and be sure to share you thoughts in the comments:
It’s been nearly 30 years since Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985. Portraying a future U.S. in which a religious military coup has obliterated women’s rights and relegated many to the role of domestic sex slaves, the groundbreaking novel invited the waves of opposition that meet so much great political literature, from conservative outcry to banning in schools, to the point where the American Library Association named it the 37th most frequently challenged book of the 1990s. To hear detractors tell it, The Handmaid’s Tale—with its depictions of sex and violence as well as its larger commentary about power hierarchies and the value they place on women—tells a story that is completely inappropriate for young people.
And then The Hunger Games happened.
In a post-Harry Potter world where YA fiction is mega-franchise fodder, feminist sci-fi authors descended from the Atwood school—albeit with decidedly less sexual themes—have produced some of the most popular books of the past decade, nearly all primarily geared toward young adult readers. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy—the harbinger of the dystopian YA craze—has put approximately 65 million copies into circulation in the U.S. alone; the first two movie adaptations have already grossed more than $800 million together domestically (and the third book, Mockingjay, will be adapted into two films over the next few years, making the franchise a multibillion-dollar machine). There’s Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy, and Marie Lu’s Legend, and of course, Veronica Roth’sDivergent. The latter, which stars a teenage girl born immune to her society’s people-classification system and fated to clash with its leaders, has put 13 million copies in circulation since April 2011 and will see its first film adaptation open in American theaters March 21.
The trend is well-documented, but one of the biggest questions it poses is rarely, if ever, asked: how did dystopia, a genre long hallmarked by largely adult (and often male) themes and characters, become so dominated by the young and female?