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February 26, 2015


Jon C

*sigh* Yep. And it's not anything new, either. When I was in junior high back in the early 80s (that's the last century for you young'uns!) I found myself really enjoying the novels that Apple Books published. Many of them had female leads, but the stories themselves had nothing to do with girly things--spy intrigue, weird goings-on in a small town, all that fun stuff that MG and YA books deliver.

And yet, my school librarian side-eyed me for reading this girly stuff instead of boy stuff like Sports! and Action! and Getting the Girl! And stuff like that. Stories I had no interest in. I wanted a Good Story, not an Awesome Guy Novel.

Suffice it to say, I shrugged off her worry and kept reading what I wanted. And I'm glad I did.


Can you mail a copy to the boy directly, care of his school? I would gladly send one, but I know you don't want to identify the school. That entire scene just breaks my heart.

My son, who is 8, loves graphic novels, most books by Beverly Cleary and The Penderwicks series. He's never complained about the stories being about girls or wondered why it's not about a group of brothers. I will definitely be checking out The Princess in Black for him.

Good for you for spreading the word about how dangerous the segregation of sexes is — I'm sorry you've had issues on your tour because of it.


This makes me so sad. By the time I get a hold of them (teen librarian, public) it's too often late -- the boys have already been told over and over, either directly or incidentally, that there are "girl books" and "boy books" and appreciating anything even vaguely feminine is not what Real Guys are supposed to do.

It's true that many girls are discouraged from liking traditionally masculine things... but traditionally masculine things are often seen as "worthwhile" or even "default" since boys like them & it is therefore OK for girls to enjoy things like books with male protagonists, while traditionally feminine things are often seen as "frivolous" since girls like them, and woe to the boy who wants to cross that barrier in the other direction.

I wish we could approach this in the way that we approach issues of race or ability diversity in books -- in that white kids or able-bodied kids are often encouraged to read books featuring kids with brown skin or wheelchairs (though, no, there aren't enough of those books, and yes, it would be ideal for us to make sure our young readers see those books as about just fellow kids rather than about specifically [race] kids or [disability] kids or other "others"). Why isn't it more common to purposefully put "girl books" in the hands of boys, too?


Omg this made me cry!

And it hit me in the gut that "I've never heard anyone say "even though it's about a boy, you'll like it" about Harry Potter. I am so sorry you've had these experiences. I can't believe we are still dealing with this crap.

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for voicing this problem. Thank you for writing. Thank you for writing such an epic princess book! I'm technically 23 but some of the best books I've ever read were middle grade...so I'm going to check out The Princess in Black right now ;)


Amazing post Shannon, thank you for writing about your experiences and pointing out the connections between pointlessly gendering books and rape culture - food for thought.


I just came home from the library with my 7 year old daughter and a friend's son (also 7). As we were leaving, he asked the librarian for "Zita the Space Girl". They had 2 copies and both kids left with one. I'm thrilled to be able to tell you that after reading your story - and since my daughter loved The Princess in Black so much, I will now remember to recommend it to her friend on next week's trip.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Primal scream time, man. I can't even. This is -- ugh. So ugly.
And those poor boys. We *have* made them ashamed, and also preconditioned them to think that there's nothing that they can learn from women and their experiences. And we wonder why "boys don't read." Self-fulfilling prophesies, anyone?



I think that’s so true, that girls will read about boys but boys won’t read about girls. I was a little reluctant to read River Secrets because it was about a boy, but turns out it’s runner-up for my all-time favorite book. (Enna Burning is the gold medalist, Palace of Stone the bronze, and Dangerous takes fourth). I wouldn’t be embarrassed to get caught carrying a book with a boy on the cover, but I’ll bet a boy wouldn’t get caught dead with The Goose Girl because the princess is on the front.
I saw some questions on the last post, Here’s what’s up, that I thought I might be able to help on.
Razofan96: I’m not sure what happened to the scar. I think the ivory dress might be Isi’s wedding gown. Enna’s dress looks like the description of the one from Sileph for the burning raids.
Adelle: Sometimes your character doesn’t need an inner journey. Sometimes you can give her something else to work on. Say she’s learned to be nice to others, but she’s still cautious about falling in love. In the sequel, she could meet someone and there could be a love story. Just a suggestion. I would love another Bayern book too. I’m curious about Susena, and if someone learned all the gifts…FUN! I think Lady Megina acts older than twenty, so she was probably widowed twenty years, but ask Shannon. She may be simply mature.
Anidori-Kiladra: Yeah, Maisie’s language was a little harsh in some parts. I would like if Shannon could calm that down a little, but I did like the story.
Emily turquoise icon: I tried posting on Tumblr and I couldn’t submit. I’m not sure what’s wrong.
Enna-girl: Ooh, Bayern costumes! I’ve got to get myself one!
Isi: Queen’s Academy would have been a nice title, too. I don’t think Conan Doyle meant anything by the Study in Scarlet, but he should’ve done better research.
Enna-girl: I agree! More summer book clubs!
Delia: Using the excerpts is against copyright law, but maybe you could email Shannon about it.
Alaina: Good job! Proof you do learn things reading these books!
There was a little controversy that Alaina and Delia might be the same person, as pointed out by squeetuser Zoe Jonson. Razofan96 and Enna-girl were also suspected. Here are my answers to that:
Zoe Jonson: I did get the sense that someone was double-posting, but this is a casual blog where people share their ideas and if they have a lot to say, they should be able to post more than once. I would suggest, though, that they use the same name and email address every time. Otherwise it does look a smidgen bad like they’re impersonating someone.
Alaina: I’m glad we got this hairy business out of the way. Next time, just post as Alaina with the green icon. It was a little annoying that there was no confrontation with Timon because I wanted to see Tough Miri come out, but I think she did plenty in Palace of Stone and that business was finished. I did notice the reuse of names, but I don’t have a problem with it. In Spain a boy can be named Mohamed Mohamed Mohamed and no one thinks two things of it. BTW if I didn’t cut my hair till I was 17, it would be 10 feet long :)
Zoe Jonson: I’m not trying to tease you here, but you might try to proofread your work. Otherwise, people will think you’re impersonating someone and you’re misspelling words to throw people off.
Ashley: I love all things Shannon too. I don’t think Zoe means anything, but thanks for standing up for Alaina anyway.
Zoe Jonson: I don’t think Alaina needs help here. From now on she’ll post as herself.

Heidi Grange

Thanks for this wonderful post. As an elementary librarian I agree with you a hundred percent. I've seen boys carrying around Rapunzel's Revenge just as often as I have the girls. Kids just want good books and if we give them the chance they'll find what they are looking for.


I know we have free speech here and it’s your blog, but could you keep everything G-rated? My 9-year-old daughter likes reading this and I don’t want to explain sexual stuff here. I’m very conservative---I barely let my kids watch Frozen because Elsa wore a transparent dress I considered indecent. It would be nice if you could keep things kid-friendly.

On Frozen, I think Disney made a big error. They made Elsa so sassy in a see-through dress slit up to her thigh. I know they won the Academy Award for it, and people are going to pick on me because I’m criticizing it. It’s just that in the castle scene, I don’t think she makes a good role model for girls. If everyone grows up thinking, “I want to be like Queen Elsa”, in ten years all the young women will be wearing sheer lingerie as outerwear and flinging their hair around and looking down on other people. My 6 year old had a touch of that---she fell in love with the character and started acting like her. When I told her to brush her teeth, she sang, “I don’t care what you’re going to say,” and on a number of occasions she spun around and slammed the door in my face. If all the girls become like Queen Elsa, the female demographic of the US will not be looking so good.
Some people would say that it was necessary, that it was part of breaking free from her magic. I disagree. Isi, Enna, Dasha, and Rin were able to have their speaking gifts without ripping off their clothes and becoming snobs.
I don’t mean to say that the movie is bad. Personally I liked Princess Anna. And Elsa’s singing voice is really nice. Thank Idina Menzel. I’m just stating the facts.


After your last post about this issue, I gave my 8-year-old son (and avid reader) my copy of Princess Academy. He asked me to get Palace of Stone at the library, and we had several good discussions about why war starts, how the economy works, whether there ever could have been a real country like Danland and where it would have been. There's so much good stuff in these books! He asked 3 times when "The Forgotten Sisters" was coming out, and asked me to pre-order it on Amazon, and woke up early yesterday morning to start it.

That said, he has told a couple of his friends how much he likes the series, and each of them has said, "You're reading a book about a princess?" It's too bad.

Diane Zahler

I had a similar experience at a school event -- after giving a presentation, while signing books, a boy came up to me with his parents and wanted one of my books. They all feature princesses and have girls on the cover. The parents talked him out of it, pointing out that these were "princess books" and not appropriate for a boy. It was heartbreaking -- and infuriating. (But I slipped him some princess bookmarks as he left!)


My son is a huge Princess in Black fan. He acts it out and plays both the PIB and the big blue monster. He loves it. I love it. And yet...he's started to ask me about other things, "dat for boys? or dat for girls?" He's two and a half. It's overwhelming to think that he's already learning gender stereotypes. They're everywhere. Your story is so discouraging and frustrating, especially because, as you said, it's indicative of a much deeper problem than just a misconception about your books at a couple of schools. Talking about it is important, though. Thank you for writing about your experience.


I read the Books of Bayern, first two Princess Academy books, and Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted and Fairest) to my dad and he likes them too.
I agree with Anne about keeping it appropriate for kids. Shannon Hale is a kid book writer (no offense meant) and her blog shouldn’t have adult things on it. I don’t mean to sound harsh here, it’s just the truth.
She’s right about the Frozen thing too. Disney is turning our girls into snooty divas. This may make me unpopular but I’m not afraid to say it.
PS I checked out the book recommendation list and had to read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It’s well-written, but I have to say I like Shannon’s work a little better.


OMG I totally didn't see that Diane Zahler posted here! I loved Thirteenth Princess, Princess of Wild Swans, True Princess, and Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters. I can’t believe I didn’t notice that!
I would say you’re my #1 author, but it’s Shannon’s blog and I don’t want to sound bad. I’ll just say it’s a close race. Shannon, Diane, and Gail (Carson Levine), you’re my favorites.
BTW it was nice of you to give the boy some bookmarks. Did you notice we have the same icon? Too cool!


Thank you for writing this, Shannon. It is a subject I feel strongly about, and I see this marginalization of women's voices manifested in many ways in my own experience: in school, in church, at work. It is heartbreaking. The first step is recognizing there is a problem and increasing awareness. Now that I see it, I can't un-see it.


Shannon, do you ever read these comments and laugh and laugh? Or bang your head against the nearest tree?

I, for one, think this post absolutely qualifies as G-rated and was hard-pressed to find any "sexual content" whatsoever.

Please keep your insightful essays coming. They give words to my growing sense of malaise about the inherent abuse women receive at the hands of our culture.


I was writing a book about the Cold War ending in 1989 from a high school girl’s perspective. I was going for a teen novel. Well, how many teens really care about what happened in East Europe in 1989? That would be before they were born! And I wanted to make it a thriller, but who does a historical thriller?
Then I thought, Shannon made a sci-fi romance about a one-armed, science-geeky, home-schooled, half-Paraguayan female. Surely I could make a historical thriller for teens.
I think that the best advice I can give is: Write your book and let it find its place. Don’t fret over age and gender. Shannon wrote The Goose Girl without knowing what genre it’d be, and look how good it turned out. I used to think, “this is for a thirteen-year-old girl” all the time, and you know what? It was so frustrating fretting over every detail. And though I was writing a girl hero, I didn’t think of it as a girl book. Think To Kill a Mockingbird. Think Anna Karenina. Think Enna Burning : )
Also, I’m a Diane Zahler fan too.


Wait...there's going to be another Princess Academy book? SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


One benefit of having both sons and daughters is the book exchanges that occur among them. A good book is a good book regardless of the protagonist's gender, especially for readers of similar tastes.

Amber Argyle, author

Have your publicist include an abbreviated version of this when they give the school "instructions".
Not cool, educators. Not cool.


It's probably best not to comment on other comments, but GAH!


If your only evidence is, "It made me uncomfortable," rest assured it is not a fact. I'm sorry if you want your Disney characters to be demure and submissive or dress in nun habits, but Elsa's clothing covered everything but her *high* upper chest and shoulders and occasionally part of a leg, that's hardly lingerie. If you want to argue about their massively unrealistic body proportions or alien-sized doe eyes, I'd be right there with ya, but I think you have greatly missed the insight of this post if you want to further subdue females and delegate their styles to medieval garb without calling them divas.

Ms. Yingling

In my library, we talk a LOT about stereotypes, as well as how everyone should be allowed to read any appropriate middle school books! In February, boys are actively encouraged to read books with girls on the cover, so we circulate a lot of Gallagher Girls and Tamora Pierce to guys. It makes them more open to a variety of books the rest of the year. I always feel like I should have to tell them they "can" read these books, but apparently I still need to. Fight the good fight, Shannon! I am buying a copy of PIB for my middle school library; we'll see how it does with the boys!

Amanda W.

I'm a school librarian and I hear this from my students occasionally and I always end up pulling the whole class together and giving the same speech - always with the teacher present to reinforce the message. I say, "You can do what you want in your own home, but in THIS LIBRARY there are no "boy books" and "no girl books", "no boy tables" and "no girl tables." There are books and they are awesome. There are students and you are awesome. You can check out whatever book you want and NO ONE has the right to tell you otherwise." Sometimes it gets a little ranty, but I can't help myself.

Connah Brown

This is just wrong. I feel that we shouldn't decide what kids like, but let them decide for themselves. Who cares if a boy likes a book about a princess?

I'm going to come out and say it, I am a Brony, if you don't know what that means, it's a fan of the television show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and the vast majority of those fans, like myself are 16-25 year old males. This ties almost perfectly in with what this article is about. When people see a little girl watching My Little Pony, they think it's cute, and move on... But what if a little boy is watching it? Oh no, it's the end of the world! Actually, no. It isn't. But people seem to act like it almost is. Immediately they start to question his sexuality, or weather he has any major mental disorders.

Okay, so with that thinking, let's flip the tables here... A girl watching something like Transformers, or... I don't know... Top Gear... People don't think that she's going to be a lesbian, they don't think that she's got anything wrong with her. There's nothing wrong with a girl liking "boy" shows... but for the opposite people overreact.

My theory for this is that boys and men are supposed to be masculine, dominant, and feel like they can rule the world. But if a boy watches My Little Pony, or reads a book with a female protagonist, then they're not going to be masculine, they're not going to rule the world. They're going to become gay and feminine.

This is the way that people think in the world, and unfortunately, I don't think it's going to change any time soon.

P.S. I haven't read any of your stories, but I am considering perhaps checking out Princess in Black.

Karena Lapray

I only hope that when I'm published, I can add to the voice of change. As a mom of three boys and 1 girl, I'm saddened.


I'm a Librarian and I shared this with my Facebook friends. One had a comment that needs to be quoted here. "I wish there was some way to absolutely ensure that the entire administration of the school had to read her posting."

Shannon - You're preaching to the choir. We know there are no such things as boy books and girl books, but the administration of that school don't. Please pass this blog post on to the school administration?


I'm a librarian and a mother of a little girl, and I seriously cried angry tears at work after reading this. SO MANY ANGRY TEARS. Misogyny hurts all of us.

Sandy Grant

I read this with my kids this morning and had an interesting discussion. I have a 17 year old girl, 15 year old boy, 11 year old girl (the 9 and 7 yo boys didn't comment) They all agreed that everyone should have been invited to the assembly. If it was optional it should have been optional for everyone. However on the topic of Boy books vs. Girl books my son was adamant that he had no interest in reading princess books and it wasn't because of "shaming". My daughter pointed out that she would have no interest in reading a book called Toots and Farts either. (But I can imagine there are a few boys out there that would love that one.) My son does read and enjoy plenty of books with female protagonists (Mistborn, Hunger Games and Fabelhaven are the examples they gave) so it isn't the female protagonist that turns him away but the Princess aspect. They say you can't judge a book by its cover but lets face it we do. And if you are trying to sell a book to boys I recommend avoiding the term "princess" and the glamor shot of a pretty dress. Instead show an action scene with a little sweat!

Kristine A

I do think you made a good point about marketing books, Sandy. Gendered marketing hurts the cause. But I think the whole point of her post is that she shouldn't have to show sweat on the cover to get boys to read it. Our girls don't have problems reading books with a picture of a prince on it - we shouldn't need it the other way around



Okay, I just have to say What are you talking about? I find nothing wrong with this post. Sure she does MENTION the menstral cycle, but that's not something that should be cause for concern. And what's this "I barely let my kids watch Frozen because Elsa wore a transparent dress I considered indecent."

Her cape was transparent, not the dress itself. The dress isn't see-through. And this " They made Elsa so sassy in a see-through dress slit up to her thigh" The slit in her dress was barely knee-height.

Do you honestly think that Disney would allow one of their main characters to be sexuallized like that? Especially in one of their animated movies? Sure some artists and animators have been known to have some fun by slipping sexual sub-context into their movies, but what you're saying is an over-exaggeration. If she really was sexuallized in the way that you're saying she is, I highly doubt the movie would have made it to the cinimas without much less than a PG 15 rating.

Elsa is a rebellious spirit that's been cooped up her entire life. Her outfit and attitude, which may come across as "sass" is simply her release of that rebellion that she's wanted for so long. This isn't neccisarilly a bad thing.

I get that you're conservative, but perhaps just loosen up a little. Give your kids some freedom and breathing room. I know you're just doing what you feel is right for your kids, but honestly, this is a little too much.


I didn't have a problem with Elsa's dress, it was her attitude. I think she was a little too snobby and condescending.
Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty were very conservative. I don't think it's right to criticize women for showing too much.
But @Jason, Ani (Isi) in the Goose Girl was cooped up her whole life and didn’t become snooty.
I don’t think Frozen is PG-13, but I think Elsa was a little too rebellious and haughty. Do you ever notice the lyrics of the song let it go? She says, “I don’t care what they’re going to say” and “Turn away and slam the door.” I have a feeling that this would make a lot of girls rebels against their parents.
When @Anne said “sexual” I think she meant the mention of rape.

Kristine A

Wow, you mean a coming of age (growing into an adult) tale included a scene where a young person rejects counsel of their elders and disobeys as they develop a greater sense of self and independence? Where have I heard of that before? (ariel, the giver, etc.)

As for the word rape, this is Shannon Hale's space to share her thoughts. I would advise parents who are screening their children's media consumption to do so with blog posts as well, it's not Shannon's responsibility to write for the audience you want her to. I've taught my 9 year old daughter all about sex and I would view it as a teaching opportunity if she read something that referred to rape and had questions about it. YMMV.


Elsa's clothes are not indecent, but I wouldn't want my kids to act like that.
I don't think she's a snob throughout the rest of the movie. After the ice castle is built, she is quite nice. But that scene makes a rebel out of her. There's nothing wrong with being a rebel, just ask Raven Queen (Ever after High).
I do agree with Jane that you can have a strong female burst out without being too haughty, as she said. Isi, Rin, and Dasha were all plagued by speaking gifts and still acted respectful. Even Enna, though she's sharp-tongued, never acts too snobby.
I wouldn't say Elsa is "sexy" but definitely stuck-up in that scene.


I don’t have a problem with young people getting freedom in a book, but I do have a problem with kids growing up thinking it’s okay to disobey their moms. Moms are here for a reason.
I believe in free speech, but this is a blog for kids. If Shannon wants to talk about adult stuff, she should have a section that says “for adults”, like how Austenland and Actor & the Housewife are labeled. This is just my opinion.


I shared this with my 17 year old son. "That's awful and sexist! Is it even legal?" He has read a wide variety of books, without caring if the cover had a boy or girl on it. I was lucky enough to be his junior high librarian, and I hope all of my students understand that books are written for kids, not for boys or for girls.


When I saw Frozen, I had no problem with Elsa, except that I thought, “Shannon could’ve made an ice-speaking book way better than this! Why didn’t they hire her to write the sorcery scenes?” I think many characters make mistakes during their coming-of-age, it’s what becoming adults is all about. Enna sets people on fire during her coming-of-age; Raven rebels against destiny; Miri joins a rebel group that’s trying to kill her friend (though she didn’t know it). Teenagers do make mistakes.
However, I do think Disney could’ve written Elsa as a kinder person. She is nice in some parts, but there’s inconsistency in her. It’s almost like there’s two of her. As far as the dress, I don’t have a problem. If it was as see-through as real ice, I’d grumble to the artist. I get mad when I hear about women forced to cover everything but their eyes, it’s plain ridiculous.
I don’t want to tear apart the Frozen movie. It is a good storyline and the characters are for the most part likeable. But if you are going to write a coming-of-age mistake, don’t put it to a catchy tune that five-year-olds sing without thought of what the words mean. When they’re older, they might take those words to heart and end up as rebels.
I’m not saying rebelling is a bad thing---in Palace of Stone Miri rebelled against the king (peacefully) and everything was good. I’m glad Raven didn’t become evil. Even Enna was just trying to protect the country she loved. In Enna’s case, Shannon relayed the information in an unbiased fashion, telling what happened and the characters’ reactions to it. She didn’t set it to a world-famous song and make it seem like every little girl should go running off to burn an army.
About the song Let it Go, the melody is pretty. Idina Menzel sang it well, so well that I think it was too good for the movie. I like it better when it’s just the song and not the animation, because I can appreciate the music and not get trapped in Elsa’s fierce glares and grotesque expressions. I bet Celine Dion could sing it beautifully.

Finally, I’d like to apologize to Shannon for using up her blog space. It’s the only blog that I’m a member of, so I can’t post elsewhere. No facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. If you want to delete the Frozen discussion, you can.
But I would recommend that you write an ice-speaking book. It’d be so cool. Literally COOL : )


This made me so sad. I think it's just sexist, to both men and women, to segregate the sexes, and to segregate things like books and movies into "For Girls" and "For Boys". I feel like "For Girls" happens a lot more in books, though, but in video games "For Boys" is this huge thing.
Recently, I gave my little six year old brother a copy of The Storybook of Legends. He loved the first few chapters, but he wouldn't take it to school no matter how much I encouraged him too. He kept saying that his friends would make fun of him. On Valentine's Day, he told me he saw an Ever After High valentine on the floor and wanted to get it for me, but couldn't pick it up without anyone seeing him do it and so it went to the trash. The craziness! He loves Ever After High; we watch it together all of the time, but he was too scared that his peers would look down on him.
So sad... :(

Deborah W Halàsz

As I read your post and some of the comments, I realized that I don't think any of the required reading I had in junior high or high school had a female as the protagonist. Sure, there were female authors, but no female protagonists. This was in the late 80s/early 90s, so I can't speak to today, but what encouragement is there for free reading when none of the required reading features a girl protagonist? Of course, I didn't recognize the discrepancy until now. I wonder if my teachers did?

Petunia Krupnik

Is it just me, or is it incredibly ironic that in the comments of a post criticizing our society's rape culture, commenters are contributing to it themselves in their criticism of Elsa?

@Anne Elsa's dress was BARELY inappropriate, if inappropriate at all. All it showed was her right leg up to her knee and the tops of her shoulders. Sure, by conservative LDS standards, that's incredibly shameful. See that I mentioned LDS specifically. Most normal conservatives don't have a problem.

Thinking that women should cover themselves is a huge contribution to rape culture, Anne. THE IRONY!! I just can't get over the irony here! Misogyny from women to women is a big deal, and your comment is the paragon of the phenomenon.

@Jill and @Jane and still @Anne Saying that Elsa is a "snob" just because of that one scene is silly. You're taking it out of context completely. "I don't care what they're going to say" was a nod towards the controversial nature of Elsa's ice powers. She doesn't care what they're going to say about 'em. The movie is set in the 1800s, that's significant.

If you've read The Art of Frozen, they mention the change from Elsa's cover-all coronation gown to the ice gown. They coronation dress, which covers everything, even her hands and neck (in summer!) is meant to symbolize the confines of her powers-how she had to hide them for so long, how she had to stay in her room and hide from her own kingdom. The ice dress is meant to symbolize freedom-freedom to use her powers, freedom from 1800s dress codes, where even Anna's coronation gown would spark controversy. I know they felt that that symbolism was necessary, and I do agree with them, but you're entitled to your own opinion.

Now that I mention it, it's funny that you approve of Anna and her shoulder-baring dress but not of Elsa's ice gown. They show about the same amount of shoulder (of course, Anna's shows more), the only difference is the leg-Elsa's shows it up to her knee.

And on your mentions of Enna, Isi, and Dasha: the only one who faced real hatred for their speaking gifts was Ani, and even she made a few symbolic wardrobe changes(from princess to goose girl and back). The only difference is one provides visuals and the other is left, mostly, to your imagination. Maybe Ani's ending dress was worse than Elsa's, at least by your standards. Most likely, in some people's minds, it is. In my own mind, I imagine the dress at the end to have the same neckline as Elsa's ice gown and have since I first read the novel at the age of 6.

Elsa never looked down on anyone. I don't know where your getting that from. If, again, that notion stems from the line "I don't care what they're going to say" you're taking it out of context. And, do you really want your daughter always caring about what others say about her? Someone will always be jealous of her, someone will always hate her, especially in these coming years. When people begin to gossip about her, which they will, do you want her to care about it so much that it's crippling? Please, I hope you don't want that. Social anxiety is the worst. As a sufferer myself, let me tell you-it can get so bad that you cannot go outside without a nervous breakdown. You do not want that or your daughter. You do not want to see her cry her eyes out almost every day, you do not want to see her gain unhealthy amounts of weight because she can't exercise because she thinks everyone is watching her and judging her or see her lose unhealthy amounts because she becomes anorexic or bulimic and feels that everyone is judging her for being "fat". You don't want to see her have panic attacks and get angry and pull out her own hair (and other self harm) and not even know herself why she's doing it.

@Anne If your daughter is acting out, it seems like she's probably using Queen Elsa as an excuse to practice her autonomy. It's very normal for girls her age to act out like that. She would act this way with or without Elsa. This is not the doing of Disney and Frozen, this is a normal phase that all 6 year olds go through. Ha! You should have seen me at that age! Actually, you probably shouldn't have-now that I'm older that phase is embarrassing.

Also, Anne, people already walk around in lingerie. It's not abnormal to see a woman with a crop top or a lace bra on top of a skirt or even just jeans. And there's nothing wrong with flinging your hair.

@Anne I do agree that this post may not be G-rated. However, Shannon is an adult woman and she's not going to keep it G-rated all the time. If you're okay with your daughter reading Dangerous, though, you should be okay with this blog post. But if she reads this she might start asking questions. If you're up for it, this is a great opportunity to share your thoughts with her on this subject and even your opinion on Queen Elsa (which, I must say, I whole-heartedly disagree with).

On your blog post, Shannon, that is incredibly disappointing. The misogyny and misandry in today's society can bring a young woman to tears. *face palm*

@Emily god, that young? Ugh. *face palm*

Erica Eliza

Maybe the reason so many storytellers are afraid to have female protagonists is because they know they'll be scrutinized, criticized, and ripped to shreds. Case in point: Elsa. Too sexy! Too feminine! Too stuck up! Too depressed! Too irresponsible! I've never heard anyone call Hiro or Ralph a bad role model for boys. But, you know, boys don't copy everything they see in media like girls do. We cry out for more female characters but don't make storytellers feel safe to create.

Petunia Krupnik

@Melinda sorry I'm a little riled up, but "fierce glares and grotesque expressions"? The only expression I saw on Elsa's face was pure joy at the ability to use her powers again, pure joy at not being around people who hated her. I imagine it as the same joy Lissa from Vampire Academy felt every time she was able to use her spirit powers(if you haven't read the books, I would suggest it as long as you're over 14). Maybe that last expression was a little sassy, but "grotesque"?

I don't know what you mean about inconsistency. Maybe you're referencing the part where she almost kills the Duke's guards? Again, I'm going to refernce Vampire Academy-I thought it was a little like the darkness that Lissa got from her spirit powers. But, it could have also been pure adrenaline and the need to save herself-they were trying to kill her, after all. When she was mean to Anna, it was just for Anna's own good. Elsa had been told her whole life that she was dangerous and she wanted Anna to leave her be so she would be safe. If you're not talking about either of these, just say what you ARE talking about and I'm sure I could change your mind.

And what's wrong with Let It Go? If you're talking about "I don't care what they're going to say" please read my last comment.

I do agree with you that Shannon could write an AMAZE-BALLS book about ice-speaking. One detail from HCA's The Snow Queen that Disney skimmed over was the Snow Queen's lack of emotions. She literally had no emotions whatsoever. I would love to see how someone could put that in paper or on screen. How would a character with NO EMOTIONS react to people and her environment? There's just so much potential in that one detail.

Petunia Krupnik

@Erica Eliza it's not storyteller's faults that their characters are ripped to shreds. It's readers, like you. How id Elsa "too sexy" and "too feminine"? How is she "too stuck up"? Read my first comment please.

There's one part in your comment I found incredibly offensive, at least more than the rest:"too depressed". Wouldn't you be depressed if someone showed you a vision of a mob persecuting you at the age of 8 and your own parents hid you in your room and told you you needed to hide something that you cannot control about yourself from everyone? It also seems, like the majority of the United States, you do not understand depression. It is not something that anyone can control. It is caused by the lack of serotonin, the shrinking of your hippo campus and stunted neuron growth. Not only that, but studies have shown that every human being gets depressed one time in their life, whether they realize it or not.

How is Elsa "too irresponsible" or even irresponsible at all?

And that last bit of your comment is just plain misogynistic. Boys do, in fact, copy things they see in the media-ALL THE TIME. And you yourself are scrutinizing female characters here, and in your own words, "don't make storytellers feel safe to create".


Wow, this conversation is getting intense.
@Petunia Krupnik, I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I don't really think there was a need to single out LDS people... And yeah, that young. it's pretty sad. And for your comment towards Erica Eliza- I don't think you're getting the point. I think she meant that might be a reason authors don't write female protagonists. But, I don't think that's a good reason not to do it. And you're right, it's not their fault, it's ours.
But @Erica Eliza I hope you realize why that "too depressed" but could be taken as offensive. And I sincerely hope it wasn't meant in the way Petunia took it as. Please read Petunia's comment, on that part she made a good point.
@Anne, Jane, and Jill- read Petunia's comment; there were a lot of great points. As an ex-Frozen fangirl, I think that her comment was a great explanation for why Elsa needed the wardrobe change.


I really appreciate your article. This is a real problem, seldom recognized or maybe just not addressed. Boys and girls are different, surprise. The "feminization" of education over the past 20+ years had turned a lot of young males against further pursuit. It's one of the reason college entrance numbers are leaning toward more females. Please don't get me wrong I'm glad girls attend higher education but in the world this generation is going to face they are all going to need higher education and we as the adults, have to work to make that an option. Congratulations to you for having a female character that appeals to girls and boys, now if we can just get over the hurdle of having to whisper....


@Julia, I don't know where you get the idea that this is a blog "for kids". Doesn't say that anywhere. Mrs. Hale is an adult woman and this is her blog, and so, because she is an adult, she's probably going to talk about adult-related and mature subjects. Like misogyny and misandry and race and so on. She's done it before; why is it an issue now?


I used to write Sweet Valley High books. I can remember many times when boys told me they loved SVH. They always said they read their sisters' books, and they said so only when nobody else was in earshot.


So, there were some die-hard fans on the recent post. If you guys are up for it, we need more contributors on the Shannon Hale Wiki.


This story was sad and shocking and it made me angry to realize this kind of thing is so common, still. Then then I scrolled down to the comments, and the shock and anger continued. I was taken aback by some of the responses here - especially the sentiment that because some of Shannon Hale's books are for kids, she should restrict her blog and her voice to only what is appropriate for those readers.

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