I feel so lucky to be growing up in a world that continues to progress toward embracing feminism and recognizing women’s rights. Today, I’m so excited to introduce y’all to my long-time blog friend and fellow Louisiana resident, Emily, who blogs over at Bourque’s Books. She’ll be sharing some of her favorite books that strong female characters in recognition and celebration of Women’s History Month!
Women’s History Month is a month that I cherish — I try to purchase from women-owned companies, I read more feminist literature, and I try to take notice of the things I usually take for granted. We’ve come a long way for women’s rights, but we still have a long way to go. As evidenced by the recent Emmys, our media is taking strides to become more inclusive, both with introducing new genders and new races to the nominees. Only recently has there been a push for more women in movies and television. The Bechdel test is gained national attention for calling out movies with seemingly strong females who actually only care about their male counterparts. Unfortunately, some of our favorite movies of old fail this test spectacularly.
Luckily, I grew up on books.
Authors have been writing strong female characters since the beginning of literature (even Homer recognized a woman’s power in The Odyssey when he put his protagonist under the spell of Circe!). That means that this post was an easy one to write. I love reading books about strong, independent, fierce women, and, lately, it seems like some of the most popular literature has featured these badass babes.
There are some women who just pop into my mind when I think about strong, fierce female protagonists. Most of these are from books I read when I was in middle school, and their characters shaped my growth as a woman.
You can’t have a list of strong female protagonists without including Scarlett O’Hara. Sure, her decisions were mostly morally questionable, but I appreciate her no-nonsense attitude and the way she went after what she wanted, circumstances be damned.
Oh, Hermione. I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was 12 years old, and Hermione was the first girl my age that I read who was unashamed of her brilliance. I was the girl always putting my hand in the air when a teacher asked a question, and I loved seeing someone who was sassy and fierce and smart just like I was.
Jane Austen’s time period was not known for its freedom for women, but Austen dreamed up Elizabeth Bennet, a sassy, independent woman who was determined to marry for love. She had no problem putting Mr. Darcy in his place, and their marriage will be stronger for it.
Oh, Jo. When everyone was crying over how sweet Beth was, I was looking at Jo, the leader of the clan. She was pigheaded and courageous and had no time for boys and I loved it so much.
The first club I ever joined was a Nancy Drew book club, in which I amassed more than 80 Nancy Drew books before my mom decided my room looked better when you could see the carpet. Nancy Drew was smart and sassy and could see all the clues before I could, plus her stories were easier to read than Sherlock Holmes’.
Like I mentioned earlier, I think we are having such a renaissance of strong female characters in novels. Maybe they just keep finding me? Either way, I’m here for it.
So maybe this one isn’t so contemporary, since it’s a WWII historical fiction novel, but Verity is the epitome of strength and courage. Not many women at that time period were able to pilot fighter jets and take down rebels, and this girl did it all with sass and a smile. This book is really about female friendships, and I’m all about it.
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, thank you very much. Until she’s not. Eleanor is forced to let her walls come down as she confronts her terrible past, but her growth throughout the book is astounding, and I’m not sure if I could have survived everything that she survived.
The Hate U Give is one of the most talked about books of 2017, and for good reason. Starr is faced with some big, life-changing things that no teenager should have to confront, and she does it with such grace and composure and tenderness that I honestly believe she is one of the strongest girls on this list.
Based off of the illustrious Marilyn Monroe, Evelyn Hugo decides to write a tell-all in her final days of life. The story she reveals shows how formidable of a character she was in her youth and the strength it took to keep her secrets and the secrets of those around her.
This is another strong WWII lady, and Isabelle is based on a real French resistance fighter who helped downed pilots escape Nazi clutches. There were so many times in this novel that Isabelle made a decision that I never could have made, and I admire her so much for it.
Was there anyone that I missed? Give me some recommendations!