I'm a huge feminist and sociologist, which is why I spend endless amounts of time tearing apart literature for tropes and the awful patriarchy. And I tend to only do this with works I think are worth my time - ones I love! I do it with Doctor Who, Sherlock, Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, HP, the classics, and of course: John Green's books. Don't get me wrong, I do think Hazel is a wonderful, strong character through and through, but there are some decidedly off parts. I didn't think so initially, but as I began to read and watch reviews, and do my own literary breakdown, I began to see some patterns.
Disclaimer: TFIOS is my favorite book. I'm not hating on it. In fact, I may be being too easy on it!
I have no idea how I missed this in my first two readings, but now it is really irritating me. Augustus continues to call Hazel "Hazel Grace", even after she repeatedly refers to herself as Hazel, and asks others to call her accordingly. It wouldn't bother me as much if she had confronted him about it, but she never even brings it up. After knowing him for about 20 minutes, she simply allows him to name her. This may seem like a small, nit-picky thing, but even little children know to name themselves. Lots of kids decide that they are no long "Richard", but "Rick", or whatever. She loses so much agency when she allows a guy, specifically her love interest, to ignore her preferences.
I'm not saying John is sexist, or anything crazy. I'm simply saying that this is a glaring loss of agency for such a wonderful character, and it should be addressed. Maybe there was a reason why John decided to do that. I don't know.
Side note: did anyone else realize that TFIOS fails the Bechdal Test?? I mean think about it.. Outside of her mom and Kaitlyn (who is a plot device and not a character), Hazel has no real friends. Even Isaac and Hazel's relationship is completely centered around Gus and his...well, you know.
Just some food for thought...
“Maybe it’s just in America, but it seems that if you’re passionate about something, it freaks people out. You’re considered bizarre or eccentric. To me, it just means you know who you are.” - Tim Burton