Discussion: YA Protagonists Are Dominantly Female

Hi guys! I’ve decided to start doing discussion posts. I’m not sure how often I’ll post them, but here’s my first one. πŸ™‚


Today’s topic: YA Protagonists are dominantly female

It’s really self-explanatory, but it’s been on my mind for a while. So many YA protagonists are female now, and it’s much rarer to see male leads.


I have nothing against female protagonists – I’m all about girl power. But why did male protagonists just disappear? It feels like they just got suddenly shoved to the sidelines. Yes, there’s Harry Potter, but who else? Percy Jackson is a MG series, so I’m not counting that (also, there are more male protagonists in MG than YA… weird).

But if we’re talking about females…

  • Aelin, Throne of Glass
  • Clary, The Mortal Instruments
  • Tessa, The Infernal Devices
  • Cinder, The Lunar Chronicles
  • Scarlet, The Lunar Chronicles
  • Cress, The Lunar Chronicles
  • Winter, The Lunar Chronicles
  • Cath, Fangirl
  • Eleanor, Eleanor & Park
  • Cassie, The 5th Wave
  • Mara, Mara Dyer
  • Penryn, Penryn and The End of Days
  • Karou, Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Tris, Divergent
  • Katniss, The Hunger Games
  • Hazel, The Fault In Our Stars
  • Annabeth, Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus
  • June, Legend
  • Emma, Miss Peregrine’s
  • Bella, Twilight
  • Blue, The Raven Cycle
  • Juliette, Shatter Me
  • Katy, Lux
  • Amy, Across The Universe
  • Anna, Sweet Evil
  • Alina, Grisha
  • Lia, The Kiss of Deception
  • Adelina, The Young Elites

And that’s far from all of them. (I’m only including girls that are really the focus of the story. Like, Hermione is a protagonist, but the books don’t follow her. They follow Harry. Therefore, she isn’t included.)

But, if we look at male protagonists using the same guidelines…

  • Harry, Harry Potter
  • Thomas, The Maze Runner
  • Magnus, The Bane Chronicles

There are more, but these are all I could think of. All of the books/series I mentioned for the female list have males as well, but none of them are the focus of the story – the females are (hence why they’re on the list).

Again, I have nothing against female protagonists, but I do enjoy books that follow males. Currently, there seems to be 5+ females for every 1 male. That’s a rough statistic and only my opinion, but the point remains: YA needs more male protagonists.

Diversity in YA is a huge thing right now – including more cultures, races, LGBTQIA themes, etc. But among all of that, I think now there’s also an unbalanced scale of female vs male protagonists. That counts as diversity too, and that’s also an area that is succeeding considerably less than the others.

I’ve said my piece. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Why? I’d love to know! πŸ™‚

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24 thoughts on “Discussion: YA Protagonists Are Dominantly Female

  1. I feel like female protagonists are a fad in YA right now. I personally don’t care if the protagonist is male or female as long as I find them interesting. Hopefully we can move on to new types of diverse characters in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s because most YA writers are female. They tend to write through that perspective because they can relate more with their own gender.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So true! YA fic is definitely dominated by female protagonists. I’m thinking a big reason is that(not totally sure of this statistic) apparently 80%-98% of YA readers are female. Is this because more females read books, or because there aren’t enough male protagonists featured in YA books? Surely, it’s a combination but I think definitely more about the readership.

    If a story is great, I donΒ΄t mind reading about a male main character at all, but if I had two equally good novels, and one was about a female MC and the other was about a male MC, I would probably start with the one about the girl, probably because I feel like I’d be able to identify with her more. And you know what? I think there’s something else, too.

    Probably another factor is that the majority of YA WRITERS (esp. in YA fantasy) are also female. That might have something to do with the skewed stats, too.

    P.S. Todd Hewitt from Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking series might be a good character to add to your short list of YA male protagonists/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have great points! That’s probably all true. πŸ˜€
      Personally, I can relate to any character if their personality is close to mine or if I’ve experienced something similar to them. πŸ˜‰
      I think female YA writers could potentially write great male protagonists because so many have awesome male side characters, like in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas or Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. πŸ™‚
      I haven’t read the Chaos Walking trilogy so I didn’t know about Todd. I might add him though. Thanks! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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