Videos While Victoria is Editing – Day 3 – A rant on the movie Young Adult

EDITED TO ADD: a few ppl on twitter have misunderstood me and think i do not possess a sense of humor when it comes to my industry. I assure you, I do! But I feel there’s a way to tease–the Simpsons recently did a whole episode on YA and it was hilarious!!–but I think I’m taking issue with the fact her writer-status is NOT being played up. Instead there’s just this simple negative word association happening, and THAT is what’s eating at me.

EDITED AGAIN: According to someone who’s seen the film early, her career as a YA writer factors in very little, which I admit makes me feel better, though I still can’t agree with the marketing. I solemnly swear to go see the film though, so I can make an informed judgment. Trailers, while they give more info than book covers, are very similar in their limitations.

So sometimes I get worked up about something, and I’m confident the majority of people feel the same.

And sometimes I get worked up about something, and know that I’m in the minority.

And then sometimes I get worked up about something, and have no idea how anyone else feels.

Thank goodness for blogs.

Today’s video is NOT on of my favorites. In fact, it really bothers me. It’s a trailer for an upcoming moving called Young Adult.

Now, the REASON it bothers me is this.

The main character is a young adult author, but the title of the film and the trailer treatment focus only on her childish behavior. There’s no mention of her career in the trailer (I had to go back and check the blurb to make sure I hadn’t made up her profession) and consequently the double meaning of her job and her personality/mental state casts both in a negative light. By making YOUNG ADULT synonymous with immaturity and trope-ish mean-girl-graduates-and-can-buy-liquor behavior, it takes a genre/category of fiction (and the category I write in) and gives it a negative slant.

And that REALLY bothered me.

So now I just want to know, am I alone in this sentiment? How do you feel about it?

14 thoughts on “Videos While Victoria is Editing – Day 3 – A rant on the movie Young Adult

  1. Jeffrey West says:

    I know exactly how you feel, Victoria. When I heard about this movie a few months ago, I was excited and curious as to what a movie about the life of a Young Adult author could consist of. And honestly, to see how accurate the portrayal, but when I saw the trailer, I found myself asking, “Did they say anything about her being an author? Did I make that up?” But no, as you said.

    I, too, feel as if it casts a bad light on the term “Young Adult” making it synonymous with immaturity. And we know from our experiences that that isn’t the case when referring to YA fiction and its readers. As a reader of YA lit myself, I find it demeaning to not only the genre, but to me personally.
    Like I am immature, so I read young adult novels. Or that the genre is pandered toward “kids” and that “isn’t something a twenty year old should be reading”.

    I was once asked by a friend who is slightly older than me why I read YA fiction. There was an intonation in his voice that took me by surprise. I was taken aback because one, I had never had to answer that question before and two, I know he read and enjoyed The Hunger Games, but when he asked me, I could hear that faint tone of “it’s for kids” follow his words. I simply told him that the stories were far better and dealt with more real issues than most adult novels, etc. And the issue was dropped.

    I never really know what to say in a situation like that. I read it because it’s what I enjoy. I read it for the stories. For the joy, sadness, laughter, depression, open-mindedness, sympathy, escape they give me. I read YA because of the community that surrounds it, the accessibility of the authors, and the ability to talk to other people who have read the same story and work out different themes and ideas.

    YA is not a childish genre and should not be treated as such. Nor should Hollywood try to demean the term by making a movie about someone who never grew up and call it “Young Adult”. While the term is correct by definition, it is demeaning by its context.

    I apologize for the rant, but I just want you to know that you are not in the minority here. That or we are in the minority together, but I would rather be in the minority with someone I care about than in the faceless majority of critics.

    • Jeffrey,

      I wanted to specifically respond to your comment because I found it to be mature to the point of eloquent, well thought out, and passionate. Exactly what I expect from a young adult or anyone of any age who reads young adult literature.

  2. Dizneeee says:

    I haven’t heard of this movie. Disappointed to hear of the negative connotations it’s using.

    No wonder I get comments like, “Why are you buying teenager books?” People don’t understand.

  3. Jeanni says:

    This bothers me too. I could never put it as well as Jeffrey West, but my answer when I get that question (about reading it and writing it) is always that Young Adult books are about something. They don’t need the flower-y language to cover up anything. I don’t read books for their themes, but YA books have better stories that are really about something and they do have meanings. The people who read them are not kids. YA goes there even when “regular” books won’t.

  4. JP says:

    Heh. You’re definitely not alone. Like you said, the double-meaning the trailer– and the whole movie in and of itself, really– implies will most likely put it in viewers’ heads (who don’t follow the YA community and/or read YA books) that 1. YA authors only write YA because they’re mentally stuck in their past, wanting to relive it, 2. the entire genre of YA is “stupid” or, as many people walking past the YA shelves mutter, “the vampire books,” and 3. people who read or write YA should be written off as just that.

    So yes. I am definitely bitterly annoyed that the producers, etc. either didn’t do their homework, or, more likely, they did, but they don’t care.

  5. Tracy says:

    Honestly, I found the premise and preview totally insulting. Considering how many very successful current movies are based on YA books, seems like the movie industry could be just a LITTLE more respectful of YA authors…and the genre in general. This kind of thing is why people ask me when I’m going to graduate to writing “real” books. GRRRR.

  6. And Victoria ~ you are NOT alone. I think you will find everyone within the young adult lit community as well as the majority of young adults themselves incensed by the premise in conjunction with the title. Perhaps a better title would have been Spoiled Bitch.

  7. noraadrienne says:

    I think I’d rather go see the Smurfs movie, or Sherlock Holmes and let this poor taste film pass directly to dvd where it can die a slow death.

  8. One way you know YA has come into its own is the ways it is, with increasing frequency, being misrepresented in popular media. It’s become important enough to be not only misunderstood but mocked. Admittedly, that’s a backhanded compliment, but the fact is, YA matters—and some people really don’t like that.

  9. Ley Saulnier says:

    I don’t know ANY young adult authors who at all are like Charlize Theron’s character. None. YA authors are not only an incredibly humble lot, but even those that make it “big,” so to speak, don’t turn into spoiled bitches. Look at J.K. and Stephenie. Mothers, with children, not lushes with tiny dogs.

    It also looks like a horrible movie with an entirely detestable main character. I don’t know why anyone would want to see it anyway.

  10. msforster says:

    She’s really an author? Really? I just assumed the title was because she was acting so childish, or it was some kind of New Adult reference or something.

    Wow. Yuck.

    I KNOW NO AUTHORS LIKE THIS. I mean, the “young adult” connotation is troubling, like you said, but it’s the fact that she’s supposed to be an author at all that blows me away.

    Authors are just as likely to be selfish and mean and petty as anyone else, but it’s a totally different kind of selfish from the “spoiled mean girl” trope. We’re batshit crazy, but it’s usually an obsessive, internal kind of crazy.

    If I find out that they made her character a young adult author so they could have her act NOTHING like an actual writer, I shall be very displeased.

  11. Trisha Leigh says:

    I had the chance to see the movie last week, and I have to say I didn’t feel offended at all. There is a single line in the movie where someone insults the MC by saying “It’s a good thing you write for teens because you don’t know anything about being an adult!” and that’s the only line in the movie where I went, hmmm.

    Her profession is not painted as the result of her failure to grow at all, not once. In fact it’s not even a very big part of the movie and as the plot develops we see all of the very real, actual reasons for her stunted maturity.

    It’s an intense character study about a single person who is mentally ill, alcoholic, and on the verge of destruction. I felt in no way as though it was meant to be a comment on any industry or group of people.

    My two cents. You’ll have to see and decide for yourself!

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