Sometimes when I feel really anxious and scared I think of a really strong character from a book I admire and I channel them in what I say and do and it honestly helps me so much so don’t fucking tell me that books aren’t magical
Everyone knew that Furudate’s character development skills are unholy, but chapter 224 has honestly just slain me. Naturally, a lot of people expected Hinata to help Kageyama snap out of it again, but who would’ve thought it was going to happen in such a beautiful, stunning and meaningful way. He didn’t just help him get rid of the unwanted title — he actually made him accept it. Hinata showed him that it’s a part of Kageyama’s nature, one he shouldn’t just try to get rid of because others thought it was making him useless as a setter. Kageyama did leave it behind once, but it caught up to him in Miya’s words still, so this time Hinata took no chances: he managed to actually make Kageyama see his own value in a completely new light, and the fact that there was nothing wrong with disagreeing with his teammates as long as he kept his temper in check (and if he couldn’t, the rest of them would certainly point it out).
Sure, Kageyama realized that he hasn’t been listening to his teammates after the harsh feedback from middle school, and he fixed it with Karasuno, but he also completely forgot that this communication should go both ways, and that it shouldn’t be just him adapting to the spikers.
Hinata took something that’s been weighting Kageyama down for over a year, and he didn’t just throw it away for it to haunt Kageyama again later — he twisted this dark metaphor into something fresh and something good, something that would definitely help them all become stronger. And he did it with such sincere, and yet ridiculously simple words.
What makes Hinata such a good person isn’t just him seeing the good in people — it’s about making those people see it, and not even just see but also get accustomed to it and start using it to reach their goals. And while Kageyama is just one example, he sure is one of the toughest and brightest yet.
I’ve always had this tendency to apologize for everything—even things that aren’t my fault, things that actually hurt me or were wrongs against me.
It’s become automatic, a compulsion I am constantly fighting. Even more disturbingly, I’ve discovered in conversations with my female friends that I’m not alone in feeling this impulse to be pleasant, to apologize needlessly, to resist showing anger.
After all, if you’re a woman and you demonstrate anger, you’re a bitch, a harpy, a shrew. You’re told to smile more because you will look prettier; you’re told to calm down even when whatever anger or otherwise “unseemly” emotion you’re experiencing is perfectly justified.
If you don’t, no one will like you, and certainly no one will love you.
I’m not sure when this apologetic tendency of mine emerged. Maybe it began during childhood; maybe the influence of social gender expectations had already begun to affect me on a subconscious level. But if I had to guess, I would assume it emerged later, when I became aware through advertisements, media, and various unquantifiable social pressures of what a girl should be—how to act, how to dress, what to say, what emotions are okay and what emotions are not.
Essentially, I became aware of what I should do, as a girl, to be liked, and of how desperate I should be to achieve that state.
Being liked would be the pinnacle of my personal achievement. I could accomplish things, sure—make good grades, go to a good school, have a stellar career. But would I be liked during all of this? That was the important thing.
It angers me that I still struggle with this. It angers me that even though I’m an intelligent, accomplished adult woman, I still experience automatic pangs of inadequacy and shame when I perceive myself to have somehow disappointed these unfair expectations. I can’t always seem to get my emotions under control, and yet I must—because sometimes those emotions are angry or unpleasant or, God forbid, unattractive, and therefore will inconvenience someone or make someone uncomfortable.
Maybe that’s why, in my fiction—both the stories I read and the stories I write—I’ve always gravitated toward what some might call “unlikable” heroines.
It’s difficult to define “unlikability”; the term itself is nebulous. If you asked ten different people to define unlikability, you would probably receive ten different answers. In fact, I hesitated to write this piece simply because art is not a thing that should be quantified, or shoved into “likable” and “unlikable” components.
But then there are those pangs of mine, that urge to apologize for not being the right kind of woman. Insidious expectations lurk out there for our girls—both real and fictional—to be demure and pleasant, to wilt instead of rally, to smile and apologize and hide their anger so they don’t upset the social construct—even when such anger would be expected, excused, even applauded, in their male counterparts.
So for my purposes here, I’ll define a “likable heroine” as one who is unobjectionable. She doesn’t provoke us or challenge our expectations. She is flawed, but not offensively. She doesn’t make us question whether or not we should like her, or what it says about us that we do.
Let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with these “likable” heroines. I can think of plenty such literary heroines whom I adore:
Fire in Kristin Cashore’s Fire. Karou in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Jo March in Little Women. Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. The Penderwick sisters in Jeanne Birdsall’s delightful Penderwicks series. Arya (at least, in the early books) in A Song of Ice and Fire. Sarah from A Little Princess. Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time. Matilda in Roald Dahl’s classic book of the same name.
These heroines are easy to love and root for. They have our loyalty on the first page, and that never wavers. We expect to like them, for them to be pleasant, and they are. Even their occasional unpleasantness, as in the case of temperamental Jo March, is endearing.
What, then, about the “unlikable” heroines?
These are the “difficult” characters. They demand our love but they won’t make it easy. The unlikable heroine provokes us. She is murky and muddled. We don’t always understand her. She may not flaunt her flaws but she won’t deny them. She experiences moral dilemmas, and most of the time recognizes when she has done something wrong, but in the meantime she will let herself be angry, and it isn’t endearing, cute, or fleeting. It is mighty and it is terrifying. It puts her at odds with her surroundings, and it isn’t always easy for readers to swallow.
She isn’t always courageous. She may not be conventionally strong; her strength may be difficult to see. She doesn’t always stand up for herself, or for what is right. She is not always nice. She is a hellion, a harpy, a bitch, a shrew, a whiner, a crybaby, a coward. She lies even to herself.
In other words, she fails to walk the fine line we have drawn for our heroines, the narrow parameters in which a heroine must exist to achieve that elusive “likability”:
Nice, but not too nice.
Badass, but not too badass, because that’s threatening.
Strong, but ultimately pliable.
(And, I would add, these parameters seldom exist for heroes, who enjoy the limitless freedoms of full personhood, flaws and all, for which they are seldom deemed “unlikable” but rather lauded.)
Who is this “unlikable” heroine?
She is Amy March from Little Women. She is Briony from Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Katsa from Kristin Cashore’s Graceling. Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse. Sansa from A Song of Ice and Fire. Mary from The Secret Garden. She is Philip Pullman’s Lyra, and C. S. Lewis’s Susan, and Rowling’s first-year Hermione Granger. She is Katniss Everdeen. She is Scarlett O’Hara.
These characters fascinate me. They are arrogant and violent, reckless and selfish. They are liars and they are resentful and they are brash. They are shallow, not always kind. They may be aggressive, or not aggressive enough; the parameters in which a female character can acceptably display strength are broadening, but still dishearteningly narrow. I admire how the above characters embrace such “unbecoming” traits (traits, I must point out, that would not be noteworthy in a man; they would simply be accepted as part of who he is, no questions asked).
These characters learn from their mistakes, and they grow and change, but at the end of the day, they can look at themselves in the mirror and proclaim, “Here I am. This is me. You may not always like me—I may not always like me—but I will not be someone else because you say I should be. I will not lose myself to your expectations. I will not become someone else just to be liked.”
When I wrote my first novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, I knew some readers would have a hard time stomaching the character of Victoria. She is selfish, arrogant, judgmental, rigid, and sometimes cruel. Even at the end of the novel, by which point she has evolved tremendously, she isn’t particularly likable, if we go with the above definition.
I had similar concerns about the heroine of my second novel, The Year of Shadows. Olivia Stellatella is a moody twelve-year-old who isolates herself from her peers at school, from her father, from everything that could hurt her. Her circumstances at the beginning of the novel are inarguably terrible: Her mother abandoned their family several months prior, with no explanation. Her father conducts the city orchestra, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. He neglects his daughter in favor of saving his livelihood. He sells their house and moves them into the symphony hall’s storage rooms, where Olivia sleeps on a cot and lives out of a suitcase. She calls him The Maestro, refusing to call him Dad. She hates him. She blames him for her mother leaving.
Olivia is angry and confused. She is sarcastic, disrespectful, and she tells her father exactly what she thinks of him. She lashes out at everyone, even the people who want to help her. Sometimes her anger blinds her, and she must learn how to recognize that.
I knew Olivia’s anger would be hard for some readers to understand, or that they would understand but still not like her.
This frightened me.
As a new author, the prospect of writing these heroines—these selfish, angry, difficult heroines—was a daunting one. What if no one liked them? What if, by extension, no one liked me?
But I’ve allowed the desire to be liked thwart me too many times. The fact that I nearly let my fear discourage me from telling the stories of these two “unlikable” girls showed me just how important it was to tell their stories.
I know my friends and I aren’t the only women who feel that constant urge to apologize, to demur, to rein in anger and mutate it into something more socially acceptable.
I know there are girls out there who, like me at age twelve—like Olivia, like Victoria—are angry or arrogant or confused, and don’t know how to handle it. They see likable girls everywhere—on the television, in movies, in books—and they accordingly paste on strained smiles and feel ashamed of their unladylike grumpiness and ambition, their unseemly aggression.
I want these girls to read about Victoria and Olivia—and Scarlett, Amy, Lyra, Briony—and realize there is more to being a girl than being liked. There is more to womanhood than smiling and apologizing and hiding those darker emotions.
I want them to sift through the vast sea of likable heroines in their libraries and find more heroines who are not always happy, not always pleasant, not always good. Heroines who make terrible decisions. Heroines who are hungry and ambitious, petty and vengeful, cowardly and callous and selfish and gullible and unabashedly sensual and hateful and cunning. Heroines who don’t always act particularly heroic, and don’t feel the need to, and still accept themselves at the end of the day regardless.
Maybe the more we write about heroines like this, the less susceptible our girl readers will be to the culture of apology that surrounds them.
Maybe they will grow up to be stronger than we are, more confident than we are. Maybe they will grow up in a world brimming with increasingly complex ideas about what it means to be a heroine, a woman, a person.
Maybe they will be “unlikable” and never even think of apologizing for it.
People actually expect me to believe that if you throw a group of only one sex inside a fucking maze with no memories, no social, cultural or religious discourses forced upon them, no outside influences of any kind for years and years with only each other to grow close too, trust, survive with, protect, build with, bond with etc.
That eVERY SINGLE ONE WOULD END UP STRAIGHT??????!??!!
On the Coastal Tip of Jamaica, actress Candice Patton stands barefoot in a sheer yellow dress before settling turquoise waters. Her arms sway back and forth as the Caribbean air billows through the thigh-high slit. She gives the camera a small smile as the sun radiates off her skin and the tide tiptoes towards the shore. The Instagram boomerang I’m glancing at has now been viewed over 200,000 times by her 1.2 million-user following.
It’s mid-June; a median between two milestones in Candice’s life - two weeks before her 29th birthday, and two weeks after the Season 3 finale of The Flash aired in homes nationwide. The superhero fiction show, based on the DC Comics character of the same name, stars Candice as Iris West, opposite Grant Gustin as the titular hero, Barry Allen. In the last three years, The Flash has garnered over 15 awards, with Candice herself most recently winning a Saturn Award for “Best Supporting Actress on Television”. It makes sense that CBS Watch! Magazine would send her over to the Caribbean for a photoshoot.
The CW star calls me from her residence in Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon, after her trip in Jamaica. I expect her to sound exhausted from her jet setting, but she’s not. To my astoundment, there’s a lot on her mind. I come to realize that, unlike Iris West, Candice Patton is equipped with a power of her own.
Fuchino Yuuto (Noya) wrote a blog post to wrap up this tour of Engeki Haikyuu, Summer of Evolution! (x)
He of course begins by thanking everyone who came to see the show, and writes that he’s glad they could finish all 37 performances safely.
Then he immediately starts writing about the pressure he felt taking up the mantle of Noya from Shouhei and how nervous he was to enter the Karasuno cast. And although he was really overwhelmed at first at rehearsals, he was really glad to have become a part of their team. He and Kenta are the same age, but he felt overwhelmed by Kenta’s presence as an actor, and so he worked hard to learn as much from Kenta as he could.
He got a lot of motivation from Kouhei, and lots of advice from Kazuma. He’s so glad that he and Justin could get that jump-serve-receive scene perfect for the final show, because they had a hard time getting it down just right throughout the entire tour.
This play more than any other helped him realize what it is to ‘connect’ with your fellow cast members, and he tried hard to work on every relationship he could within the cast.
He’s always thought Shouhei’s Noya-san was especially cool, and so he really wanted to be just as cool when he took on the part. But there were times when he got depressed because he wasn’t quite sure what to do. The day after Shouhei came to see the show, Fucchi and Shouhei went out to eat. At that time, Shouhei told Fucchi that his Noya was cool, and Fucchi was so happy he had no idea how to respond. It was then that he really felt that in the world of Engeki Haikyuu, there really are two Noyas.
“Volleyball is a game about connection, and it’s like this that we are connected in Engeki Haikyuu. The ball that Shouhei connected to me; I received that, and I face upward, wanting to continue that connection. That’s what I thought from the bottom of my heart.”
Lastly he thanks everyone for their letters and presents and all the support they gave him; he feels nothing but gratitude to everyone. As an actor, he’s going to keep pushing forward!
“I have key words. I see Tatiana, she uses her body a lot; she dances to get into different characters and I really admire that. I have this one word, for Delphine and it’s ‘Enchantée’…
‘Enchantée’ and it just brings me back to her.”
“Tarth. I’m biased, but she keeps it together.” -Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to HBO on which character do you admire the most?
“I love the character of Jaime Lannister. He’s just so complex…” -Gwendoline Christie
“Gwen and I have a lot of fun together, I wish it could go on forever.” -Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Nikolaj is a very special actor. He’s brilliant, hilarious and
mercurial. And again, incredibly highly skilled. I felt nervous about
acting opposite someone that was so highly skilled that I’d be working
with so intensely, but he completely went for it from the beginning and
was not afraid to go full-throttle on all of the scenes. And to really
feed the relationship off-screen, too, by endlessly teasing me, haha.
It’s really fun and hard work. He’s a brilliant actor. And I’ve had an
absolute ball. I’ve had a real riot.“-Gwendoline Christie
“If you meet Gwen, you’ll know that she is light.” -Nikolaj Coster-Waldau