Let’s Talk: FE&L #8- Female Role-Models in Literature and Why They’re Relevant

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Female Role-Models in Literature and Why They’re Relevant

Natalie

 

Hello, everyone. I’m Natalie, from Science, Books and Silly Things and I want to thank Batool for this amazing opportunity.
Every one of us has a role model (or several) in literature, be it because they are a badass character or

because they have a characteristic that makes us identify with them.

 

Let’s talk about female role models. Some people think some of the female main characters

in, let’s say, YA books are weak because they “can’t do anything without a man” and “their

whole world turns around a guy.” Let’s be honest. Girls fall in love, and they can be badass

while doing it. (Guys fall in love as well, but when they do, and do something about it, they are

considered sensitive and cute. Double standard, much?) Love does not make us weak, in fact, it makes

us stronger. Female characters make tough decisions in the name of love, and what they believe.

Shouldn’t we take that example?

 

Female empowerment is important. As women, we need to realize that we matter, that we can make

our own choices, no matter what society thinks. Some writers know that, and if they don’t, they should

take an example from these amazing characters, Strong female characters exist, and there are a lot of

them. You just have to know where to look. Don’t hide behind that Mary Sue excuse and say that there’s

no strong female representation in literature. That’s wrong.

 

Exhibit #1: Rose Hathaway, from the Vampire Academy series

She’s smart, she’s resourceful, and she fights for the people she loves.

She doesn’t let a crush define her life. Okay, there is a time where she has to do certain

things for the man she loves, but mainly she’s just this badass character that loves to fight, and is

amazing at it. She is also definitely not ashamed of her sexuality. That’s tough to find in a main character

these days. This is why she’s one of my favorite female characters.

 

Exhibit #2: Sydney Sage

There’s an endless list of characters I can name, and some others from

Richelle Mead are on my list, including Sydney Sage, a prodigiously smart Alchemist that once stood up

for her people’s beliefs and then realized they were wrong. She then started fighting for what she

thought was right, against her people, WHILE falling in love.  If you don’t think that’s badass,

I don’t know what is, especially as everyone (including her love interest) depends on her on the

Bloodlines series. *shrugs* She is my #1 literary role model.

 

Exhibit #3: Lady Katsa

Now, the one that I always like to mention when I talk about female

empowerment: Katsa, from Graceling. Katsa is amazing, at first she’s oppressed by her uncle, but then

she stands up to him, after she realizes that she is powerful enough to make her own decisions. She’s a

great role model, a symbol for women that need to realize how powerful they can be when they

become aware of how their choices, thoughts and feelings matter and shouldn’t be oppressed.

 

Exhibit #4: Annabeth Chase

This one’s important. Why? Because Rick Riordan created Annabeth. He

created this smart, strong female character that is focused on what she wants in life. She’s Athena’s

daughter. That usually means she should be Percy’s enemy or something. Guess what? She fights it. She

becomes his friend, and eventually they fall in love, but that’s not what I wanted to say. Annabeth is the

type of character that you can’t say is weak. Even when she’s obviously suffering, she keeps on fighting

and doesn’t let go of her hopes and dreams. Annabeth goes against all the stereotypes.

Exhibit #5: Katniss Everdeen

Need I say something else? Didn’t think so.

Katniss is a strong, female character that came from the

bottom of the food chain, that they didn’t see coming. She started a revolution, people. All because of

love. Impressive, right? 🙂

 

A strong character isn’t defined for insensitivity. It’s defined for his or her

actions, and the reasons behind them. Is that so far from reality? I mean, fighting for what you believe

and who you love is an impressive and important feat. Would doing it for your lover diminish the power

of these actions? I sure hope not. Love is love… and that’s why female characters are so important in

literature. Because they show us that friendship, family and love are essential to live and to be more

sensitive human beings.


natalie

Twitter.com/EvolutionOfNoah

Instagram.com/fearlessly.nat

Fearlesslynat.wordpress.com

Shatter Me Inspired Nail-Art

Here’s an ombré nail-art look inspired by the cover of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (otherwise known as the first book of one of my favorite series ever)!

 


Materials:

White polish

Medium blue polish

Dark blue polish

Clear top coat

Sponge with small pores

Q-Tips

Nail polish remover


Step 1: Paint entire nail with two coats of white polish.

 

Step 2: Using your two shades of blue polish and the same white you used in step one, paint the sponge with three stripes (one of each color), making sure to go from darkest to lightest and to blend between the stripes in order to create the ombré effect.

Step 3: While the sponge is still wet from the polish, begin dabbing the colors onto your nails. Be sure to keep the colors aligned on the nail (as in, not moving the sponge laterally) in order to prevent the colors from overlapping one another.

Step 4: Dip a Q-tip in nail polish remover, and clean the excess polish off your nails.

Step 5: Paint a clear top coat onto your nails.

And that’s it! Be sure to give your nails adequate time to dry as to prevent smudging 🙂

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NoVa Teen Book Festival Recap

Ever since I found out about YALLFest, I’ve been scouring the internet for bookish events in my area. I was going to attend the National Book Festival in DC last summer but… I didn’t (thanks Mom and Dad). Suddenly, at the beginning of this month, a friend on Twitter told me that there would be one in Arlington, VA, which happens to be super close to where I live. Thus, on March 7th I attended the NoVa Teen Book Festival, my very first author event! And of course, I just had to do a recap post 😉

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All the awesome authors that were in attendance!

 

Honestly, for me, one of the coolest things about attending a book-related event was meeting other book-nerds. All around me I could hear various discussions about different books and characters, and I loved it. It was so much fun to get to know other people who love young adult literature as much as I do! Here are some pictures I got with two awesome ladies I met during the author panels:

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And one of the coolest things that ever happened to me happened on that day. STORYTIME!

Okay, so I was in line with Sajda (from upper right photo) waiting to get one of my books signed. All of the sudden, someone taps my shoulder. I turn around, and there’s a teenage boy standing behind me. He asks me if I’m Batool. I say yes. And then, he says the best words I’ve ever heard: “I read your blog”. IT WAS SO COOL. He totally made my week, and I regret that I didn’t ask for his name. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to ask for a picture with him:

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Note to the awesome dude: If you’re reading this right now, thanks so much for approaching me and letting me know that you read my blog!

Along with all that awesomeness, I got a few pictures with/of some authors. Some of which were a tad bit blurry, but hey a blurry picture is better than no picture.

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Kristen Simmons

I was totally clumsy when I walked up to Kristen. Because my foot bumped into her table, she thought I hurt myself but really I was fine (it was just my pride that hurt). But aside from the humiliation, it was awesome to finally meet Kirsten in person because we’ve interacted before on twitter (she told me she liked this post!) and she’s so sweet. She’s also really funny in person.

Ned

Matt De La Peña

 

Robin

Robin Talley

 

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Jasmine Warga

 

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Author Panel

I have a few videos of the author panels. Once I figure out how to get my phone to work long enough for me to transfer them to my computer I’ll be able to share them with you guys (hopefully).

Well, that was my first ever author event. I’d just like to say, if you ever get a chance to go to a similar event, you should take advantage of it. It’s so much fun, and even if you’ve never even read any of those authors’ books (like me) it’s still cool to hear them talk about their experiences as authors. You may end up finding a great book that you’ve never even heard of before!

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Let’s Talk: FE&L #7- Strength in the Softer Parts

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Strength in the Softer Parts

by Madhuri Blaylock

I just put the finishing touches on my trilogy, The Sanctum, so when Batool asked me to write a guest post for her blog series on women and empowerment, I hardly thought I would go back to my fantastical world of hybrid demons, warriors, and vampires. I figured I would need some time away from them, to decompress from the drama of their finale. And yet, here I am, talking about the women of The Sanctum

and you know why?

Because they are such freaking badasses, I simply cannot help myself.

It’s quite fitting actually, since the genesis of The Sanctum lies in my own desire to create the girl absent from the pages of my many and varied fantasy and paranormal books. Not the Badass, because she exists, in so many shapes and forms, on the pages of so many novels and screenplays, kicking butt and taking names after her badassery has been explained to her

laid out and examined

expounded upon and studied.

Nope. I didn’t want that girl because although she evolved into something fierce and proud, she began wide-eyed and unaware, beholden to some secret about herself unlocked by a cute boy.

I wanted the Self-Aware Badass. The girl who knows she is the shit, why she is the shit, and exactly how she became the shit.

Hermione Granger, all grown and sexy.

That’s the girl I wanted to meet, the girl I sought, craved really. And when I couldn’t find her, I created her. And while I was doing that, a funny thing happened.

I created a whole crew of similar women – tough as nails, whip smart, deadly, and full of a sense of self and purpose. Women who knew their worth without a man needing to define it, set the parameters, and provide the explanations.

Hermoine Granger, all grown and sexy.

Interestingly enough, now that I look back on these women – Dev, Darby Winthrop, and Jools Clayworth – I realize that for all of their feats of greatness, the moments where they felled the antagonist, slayed the devils, and single-handedly made evil think twice, their true strength lies in their softer side.

Their vulnerabilities

and their willingness to accept those weaknesses, because that’s really what they are, look them in the face, understand they are just as vital as all the indestructibility, the super-human strength, the lightning speed

and do not make them any lesser of a woman.

If anything, they make them so very real and relatable and worthy

of all the accolades and hurrahs

the greatness and power.

It’s the vulnerabilities and the weaknesses that make these women whole and complete

grown and sexy.

For I love watching Dev lay waste to the warriors who come after her, felling them with ease, laughing in their faces as she slides her blade across their throats. I love living through her regeneration, knowing her body rebuilds itself after suffering horrific trauma. I love listening to her explain her creation and her purpose and her meaning – her knowledge of self is exhilarating.

But more beautiful than all of that is learning her fears and her weaknesses, her need to appear strong and unmoved, and watching as she accepts the hand offered her and takes a chance, trusting someone besides herself

sharing herself and her fears and weaknesses with another.

The quiet of that moment, its meaning and significance, stay with me long after her story ends.

Then there is Darby Winthrop, the Southern Belle from Hell, the vampire I love madly. She is brash and sexy, uncouth and deadly. She’ll smile in your face and woo you with her Southern charm, then snap your neck before you knew what hit you. She’ll kiss your throat and run her hand up your thigh, making you all hot and bothered and wild, then she’ll drain you of every drop of blood and leave you for dead.

She is centuries old, smarter than anyone in the room, and stronger than them, too. She is funny and witty and full of life; she is sexy, in touch with her darkest desires, and simply oozes sensuality.

She is power – she wields it, she owns it – and watching her at work, bending men and women to her will and whim is a thing of beauty. But more wondrous than all of that, is learning Darby’s one weakness, for in him, we realize just how truly powerful she is. For in him we witness her capacity to love and forgive and forget, until that is no longer an option and she is forced to do the unthinkable.

And it is beautiful

and painful and extraordinary

and makes us fall for Miss Winthrop harder than we ever thought possible.

Last but not least is Jools Clayworth, younger sister, only daughter, given to fits of jealousy, brat. Superior warrior, killer instinct, natural leader. A roiling mess of insecurities, well hidden but fueling her every immature and petulant antic. Until she can no longer continue acting the child, when her skills on a battlefield are no longer enough, and she is forced to evolve into the strong, determined, powerful leader no one but Jools ever expected her to become.

And still that is not enough to protect her from herself, for she is her own worst enemy. She is her own weakness and when she finally realizes as much, when she comes to grips with all she has witnessed and all she has engendered, and she desperately reaches out to another to save her

it is gut-wrenching and moving

and I, the writer, Jools’ creator, who respected her and her gangsta from day one, but felt little else for the warrior or the woman, am finally able to also love and appreciate her.

Because sometimes

the true strength of the Badass

the beauty

and the wonder

lies in the softer parts.


 

Author of The Sanctum trilogy / Supporter of #WeNeedDiverseBooks

www.facebook.com/thesanctumtrilogy

@madhuriblaylock

madhuriblaylock.wordpress.com

Pathogen: Patient Zero by Kai Kiriyama (Cover Reveal)

Check out Kai Kiriyama’s new book, Pathogen: Patient Zero!

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Every outbreak starts somewhere…

A young girl, hospitalized with a violent strain of the flu.

The charismatic doctor who promises that she’s going to be okay.

A nightmare virus that threatens to destroy them both.

Reduced to the title of Zero, she is dehumanized by her doctors into little more than a series of charts and procedures. Zero is left to her own devices, telling her story through a haze of drugs, slipping in and out of consciousness, and trying to find some kind of inner peace as the doctors hustle around her to find a cure.

From Kai Kiriyama, author of Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon and My life Beyond the Grave: The Untold Story of Vlad Dracula, comes her newest book, this dark, YA medical horror, PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO.

From start to end, PATHOGEN takes the reader on a journey through the death of a young woman, struck ill by what seems to be the flu. As she deteriorates, the story follows along from her point of view as she succumbs to more symptoms, and is forced to endure more and more tests while the doctors treating her look for a cure. Heartbreaking and harrowing, PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO journeys through the five stages of grief, and explores what it feels like for those suffering from terminal illness.

Here are some awesome teasers from the book:

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PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO will be released May 15, 2015, and is available for pre-order on Smashwords.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/522496

 


Kai Kiriyama is a writer of many things, mostly novels, of varying genres. With diplomas in tea leaf reading, palmistry, crystal divination, and crystal healing, it’s no surprise to see novels reflecting the otherworldly with her name on them. Influenced by tales of magic, deception and monsters, Kai takes her genre-hopping seriously.She currently lives in Canada with her pet snake and a looming deadline. She can be reached by email at kai@theraggedyauthor.com

You can find Kai on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/raggedyauthor

On facebook: facebook.com/authorkaikiriyama

On her website: http://www.theraggedyauthor.com

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Let’s Talk: FE&L #6-History of YA

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A Discussion on History of Females in YA

Brin

Thanks so much to Batool for inviting me to write a guest post detailing the importance of

female empowerment in young adult literature. Her blog is wonderful and I was deeply

touched to be approached to write a piece on a topic that is dear to my heart.

I am an adult who reads young adult fiction. There, I said it.

Why, you might ask? I actually get asked this a lot. The answer is: because I find more

empowering female protagonists who I can actually relate to.

When I was a teenager I had difficulty finding books that had realistically depicted, strong

female characters. That’s not to say there wasn’t any – it was just difficult trying to find

these types of books in my local library (my main source for reading material) or my school

library.

Female empowerment, in young adult novels in particular, really saw a boom in the 1990s.

Prior to that, the majority of contemporary young adult fiction aimed at girls was romance

orientated (Sweet Dreams I’m looking at you!), though there were some great examples of

strong female characters in fantasy literature (Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series by

Tamora Pierce, or Aerin from Robin McKinley’s The Hero and The Crown to name two

examples) but you could argue the contemporary market was somewhat lagging behind.

Let’s go back a bit. The first book to be deemed a ‘young adult’ title was Seventeenth

Summer by Maureen Daly released in 1942. It was a romance (naturally) aimed at girls

about the trials of first love. A prevalent theme in all young adult fiction is coming of age –

regardless of gender.

The term ‘young adult’ was originally devised by the Young Adult Library Services

Association during the 1960s to represent the 12-18 age range. It was really the 1970s that

saw the ‘young adult’ novel really take off though. This era has been called the ‘golden age’

of young adult.

Authors such as Judy Blume and Lois Duncan dominated the shelves (even though both

were seen as somewhat controversial for their often difficult and challenging subject

matters – they can frequently be found on the ‘banned books’ list for example). I read both

of these authors myself (mainly in the early 1990s) and classed them among my favourites. I

liked that they targeted ‘difficult’ subjects such as teenagers having sex (shocker!) and

feminism. Another author who was greatly lauded for this was Norma Klein but I am only

passingly familiar with her works so I cannot really comment.

They had female protagonists who actually read like real people – completely different from

the other young adult series that I consumed at the time (like the aforementioned Sweet

Dreams series or the completely unrealistic Sweet Valley High series – with the most

perfectly beautiful and ‘sweet’ Wakefield sisters – pass me the sick bucket please)!

It is always something of a disappointment for me that when I was growing out of reading

young adult, the market had its second ‘golden age’. This began in the very late 1990s but it

was the 2000s that really saw the biggest impact.

Book series such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter paved the way for series such as Stephanie

Meyers Twilight, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth’s Divergent

series. I am not a huge fan of Twilight (Bella is too much of a Mary Sue, damsel in distress

type for me and don’t get me started on Edward Cullen as the romantic lead) but you

cannot deny that the popularity of these particular books has really allowed female-driven

narratives to flourish.

Katniss Everdeen is a great example of a strong, kick-ass protagonist but what makes her the

more relatable for me is that she doesn’t want to be thrust into the role of role-model and

icon – she just wants to survive and protect her loved ones from harm. This is what makes

her such an awesome example of female empowerment for me. She is a warrior but she is

also just a girl that has to overcome some truly horrific circumstances. The final book in the

trilogy Mockingjay is actually my favourite because it deals with the fallout of all the trauma

that Katniss has and continues to experience.

As I mentioned before, it really was unfortunate that the young adult genre really saw a rise

in the types of books I would have loved to have read as a teenager – just as I was heading

out of my teenage years!

I didn’t have a lot of time for reading when I was studying at University and I was beginning

to cut my teeth on more adult-themed books (to be fair though I had always read a mix of

young adult and adult books previously – as much as I loved Sweet Dreams and Point Horror

novels aimed at the teenage market – I also lapped up Stephen King novels and the like).

Young adult seemed a distant memory.

However, the popularity of books such as Twilight encouraged me to start reading young

adult books again and I am incredibly glad that I did. I have cited Katniss as a strong,

empowering female character but she is far from the only one I have read. I love Rose

Hathaway and Sydney Sage from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series

for example – both approach things in vastly different ways but they are kick-ass characters

that deserve attention.

I would also recommend Kristin Cashore’s Graceling novels which can definitely be

described as feminist and anything by Maggie Stiefvater who always has strong female

characters. As for contemporary novels, Sara Zarr and Rainbow Rowell are definitely worth

checking out.

There are actually a plethora of novels to choose from which just goes to show that the

market has greatly expanded since I myself was a teenager. I am glad that I got the chance

to rediscover young adult – it has been an incredibly enriching experience and I am thankful

that young girls today get to experience such a vast range of powerful, strong and relatable

female characters as role models – I wish there was more of it when I was that age.

Here is some further reading material on the above subject:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/15/living/young-adult-fiction-evolution/

http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/understanding-appeal-young-adult-novel/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/19569-12-childhood-book-characters-that-empower-young-

women-and-grown-ones

http://www.popmatters.com/feature/185264-the-empress-new-clothes-brave-new-heroines-in-

young-adult-fiction/

http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2012/04/greatest-girl-characters-young-adult-

literature/50746/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/ya-books-heroines-_n_4467453.html

Adios!

Brin (forever young adult at heart)


 

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My Blog – http://brinsbookblog.com/

Twitter – @BrinGuivera

Tumblr – http://brin-guivera.tumblr.com/

 

The Hit List by Nikki Urang (Review)

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The Hit List by Nikki Urang

Release date: November 11, 2014

Purchased on Kindle

My rating:

  

The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to be a new beginning for Sadie Bryant. Moving across the country is exactly what she needs to escape the gossip surrounding her injury, the devastating betrayal of her ex-partner, and to rebuild her career as a solo dancer.

When the school announces that the annual Fall Showcase, a performance that secures a spot studying in London, will now require each dancer to have a partner, Sadie’s fresh start is a nightmare. Now she has to dance with Luke Morrison, the school womanizer with a big ego. Sadie doesn’t know how to trust Luke enough to dance with him after her last partner left her broken, but Luke is determined to change that.

Then, The Hit List comes out. A game of sexual conquest where guys get points for all the girls they hook up with—and it seems like every guy at the school is playing.

The girl worth the most points? Sadie.


I had several issues with this book, so I’m going to start off by breaking down what I didn’t like and then moving on to some of the aspects that I did.

First of all, I had major issues with the main character, Sadie. To me, she just came across as being super whiny, irritating, and indecisive- I really can’t think of a single thing that I liked about her. She has trust issues due to her injury and betrayal by her ex-boyfriend/ex-dance partner (which the author will be sure to remind you about on at least 15 different occasions). She hardly ever speaks up for herself; instead, she relies on surrounding characters to do all the talking for her. Even when guys are borderline sexually harassing her, she either a: says NOTHING or b: waits around for someone else to protect her. At times she seems incredibly immature and really can’t make up her mind about anything important in her life. Lastly, she seems to be very talented at dancing, and she has a deeply rooted passion for it, yet she keeps forgetting that in her effort to organize her thoughts about one guy or another.

As for the other aspects of this book, I found them to be unoriginal and forgettable. The main love interest is the typical sometimes jerky/ sometimes sweet guy with commitment issues, and money and power bestowed upon him by his parents’ status. There are many cliches which made me want to repeatedly hit myself in the head with my kindle. Example:

“You’re a better person than me. You make me want to be a better person.”

Yeah.

Anyways, Sadie and her love interest (which I won’t name because I’m not sure if that qualifies as a spoiler or not) kept having back and forth moments. There was one point, in fact, where Sadie and Love Interest had just finished fighting, and then Sadie storms off only to come back to him a few pages later. Like I said, indecisive.

Now that I’m done ranting, I’ll tell you what I liked about the book. Firstly, I’ve never read a book set in a dance institute, so that was something new for me that I somewhat enjoyed. Secondly, the fact that Sadie and Love Interest were dance partners added a little bit of heat to the story, because they constantly had to be glued to one another. Lastly, I enjoyed reading about Sadie’s love for dance and the way it made her feel stronger.

That’s pretty much it. Unfortunately, as you can probably tell, my gripes about this book far outweighed any redeeming qualities that I saw.

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LET’S TALK: FE&L #4 (Part II)- THREE TRENDS OF FEMALE REPRESENTATION IN LITERATURE

This is a continuation of Part I of James’ post, which you can read here.


 

Now, let’s not be negative anymore, shall we? Believe me that stung a lot for me, too. I

don’t like to be patronizing, I just want people to be mindful of their surroundings. But let’s

move past that and look at some of the more positive moments in female literature recently.

Personal favorite: The Hunger Games. Yes, I know it’s cliché and blah, blah, blah. It’s still one

of the greatest examples of a strong female in literature today. People always think of Katniss

immediately when they hear “The Hunger Games” which is a major step in and of itself. If that

weren’t enough, it’s Katniss who always determines her own fate in the Games. Everyone who

tries otherwise always fails. Sure she may be emotionally unstable and sad, but that is well

shown in the books to be because she has been through a war, and before the traumatic events,

she was a stable, strong, powerful-hearted person. The books very cleverly and successfully

create a strong independent female character by NOT focusing on gender roles and instead

focusing on the fact that war is hell. Throughout it all, though, Katniss remains a focused,

independent character who is well-developed and very, very complex. One of the great reasons,

in fact, why I think Mockingjay is the greatest of the Hunger Games books is that it uses Katniss

as a metaphor for women as a whole and it shows Katniss taking a journey that is reminiscent of

a girl becoming a woman. For example, she starts the book by being a complacent, nigh

vegetative, servant to District 13, relying on them for guidance for the better part of a few

chapters, but then, as the novel goes on, and they try to force her into certain roles, she keeps

breaking out, and resulting in a betterment of the rest of the group as whole when she does,

though District 13 refuses to acknowledge this, or at least dilutes her importance to themselves,

still trying to tell her what to do. It’s a perfect parallel for feminism, honestly. Katniss, like real-

life feminists, is forced to fight hard against forces that do not want her to be independent and

want her to live her life their way, but she defies them at every turn, yet feels like she’s making

no actual progress. Eventually she gets to the point where she is forced to pick: kill the person

who tormented her for her entire life, or kill the person who’s urging her to kill the first person as

well as control her life in a very real sense, and stands to inherit the power vacated by the first

person when they die. Katniss chooses the latter, and, knowing she will be drawn over the coals

by the radicals who will take power anyway, she nearly commits suicide, but she is saved by the

person she thought would most want her dead, Peeta, a man. A man who had been until recently

controlled by the forces now taken from power. A man who entered the same system she did at

the time she did, and who was initially supportive and thoughtful with her, but was torn away by

that system in their second phase of life. If Katniss is the metaphor for feminists, Peeta is the

metaphor for most men of the world, brainwashed by modern society into believing that society

as it stands is perfect and supporting it, though they know deep down, it’s wrong, and they

continue to struggle with it, despite having remembered the memories. Gale, on the other hand,

is the metaphor for the lower class, anti-poverty movement. He stands by Katniss’ side for as

long as it suits him, but in the end, he is willing to betray her trust in order to achieve his own

agenda, and for that reason, Katniss is forced to split from him, because she (and metaphorically,

her movement) needs an actual person, not an idea by her side. Peeta is a person. He’s not

consumed by an idea anymore. He’s just a person who Katniss can be herself with, and she can

exist in harmony with him, rather than have to keep fighting, because her fight is won, and

though it may not be completely stable (Peeta’s occasional flashbacks and hallucinations,

Katniss’ nightmares), the end result is a world much better off, and there may still be injustices

to correct, but war is a wearying endeavor, and some long for it more than others. Therein lies

the great genius of Mockingjay. It shows all of these various issues, and connects and clarifies all

of these metaphors that Suzanne Collins had been building throughout the series. It’s one of the

deftest conclusions I’ve ever read. And it truly shows that with feminism, like any movement,

hate winning over hate is not better, which is why Katniss kills Coin instead of Snow. The

Hunger Games also really stands as a triumph in female literature being empowering because of

the fact that in the main romantic relationship of the book, Katniss is not set under Peeta in terms

of power. In fact, if anything, Peeta is under her, but they are relatively balanced, all in all. And

while one could argue that Katniss is dependent upon Peeta emotionally, I would argue that it is

a mutual dependence, especially after Peeta is hijacked. They rely on each other to be

emotionally supportive, especially of their own faults and weaknesses, to be each other’s

strength where they have none. In other words, a healthy, good relationship. Again, this stands as

a metaphor for feminism, because a truly equal society will not have men and women at each

other’s throats, but will instead have them supporting each other when necessary and only then.

Treating one another like porcelain dolls isn’t going to help anyone, either, in fact, that’s

basically what 13 did to Katniss. Bottom line, be equal, and don’t hate, no matter how much you

want to.

Another one of my favorite examples of empowered women in literature is in Harry

Potter, a virtual cornucopia of strong women. Professor McGonagall, Hermione, Luna, Ginny,

Mrs. Weasley, even Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy to some degree. JK Rowling, with

her landmark series, has, in my opinion, created perhaps the most diverse and strong group of

female characters in literature since Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. All of those women have

admirable qualities and strengths to look up to, but none of them are without flaws or

weaknesses, and that, I think is what causes the second archetype of female characters I mention.

A completely flawless, can-do-no-wrong character, regardless of gender, is not only

uninteresting, but also runs the risk of being very easily turned into a dominatrix. Neither is the

case in Harry Potter. Hermione, for example, is constantly driven to tears as a result of being

seen as “too smart” and occasionally gets bossy, but she is still, at heart, a loving, caring

individual capable of doing almost anything. Weaknesses don’t mean you’re not strong.

Everyone has their Achilles heel. Keeping with strong women, Professor McGonagall is one of

the strongest and most capable witches alive, and though she is strict, she also has a present and

deep sense of humor and wit and is in a sense, the perfect grandmother figure. Luna may seem

like a dumb blonde, but there is much more to her than that. She, in fact, represents alternative

ways of looking at the world, which allows her to have a great sense of optimism. She also

proves herself to be a more than capable fighter and loyal, caring friend. Ginny, in the books at

least (damn you Kloves), is also a leader, fighter, and fiercely independent woman who learns

early on that devoting her life to a man does not do her justice, and though she struggles with

stable relationships, she speaks to a percentage of the populations of both sexes who feel the

same way. Ginny proves that however many people you’ve been with in any capacity doesn’t

make you weak, submissive or naïve, nor does it make you a bitch, unless someone accuses you

of that, in which case all bets are off. And Mrs. Weasley dispels the stereotype that housewives

have to be submissive. In fact, if anything, she’s the dominant one in the relationship, except on

occasion. That’s the great thing about the elder Weasleys’ relationship; they balance the powers

within the house, and they both genuinely care for each other, even if they do get on each other’s

nerves every once in a while. As for Bellatrix and Narcissa, they are two representations of

women corrupted by ideals. Bellatrix is corrupted by blind devotion to Voldemort. She’s the

Harley Quinn of the Harry Potter universe, though she still has a radical sort of strength within

her character, within her devotion. Narcissa is corrupted by the devoted housewife ideal. She

carries this commitment to her husband and true love for her son within her, more resembling

Cersei from Game of Throne s, except she has no will or motivation to leave her husband. She’s

a woman corrupted by both traditional values and class, as she often sees others as inferior by

nature, such as her house elf, Dobby. And yet, Narcissa, when all grows worse than she can or

will tolerate, she takes the situation into her own hands and manipulates it so that it works out for

the better. A moment of quiet strength for a woman just beginning to have her own sense of self.

In conclusion, to the eyes of this young man, female empowerment has certainly come a

long way over the years, but I am very concerned that it may be taking steps back instead of

forward. The true path to empowerment is not in segregation, it is in integration. Men and

women standing side-by-side, not miles apart or at each others’ throats. Be Katniss, not Bella. Be

Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny. Don’t take crap, but make sure you clean your filter every so often

so that the non-crap can get through. There may seem like there’s a lot of crap, but the truth is,

the crap is only a lot heavier. It falls to your filter first. Please don’t assume that because you’ve

come across a lot of crap in your time that everything that hits your filter will be crap, because

that’s exactly what the crap wants out of you, to hurl more crap back. Be above the crap, climb

through it. Find your light. And keep on reading. 🙂 Thanks for reading, guys. See you around.


Well, hello, Batool’s readers! My name is James. @felofHe on Twitter,

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/30420091-james on Goodreads (don’t have a custom

URL), and ihearthawkeye.wordpress.com on WordPress for those of you who are interested in

Marvel stuff.

Versatile Blogger Award

Much love goes to Nyze over at Everything Nyze for nominating me for this award!

shatter me

The rules:

1. Thank the person awarding you.
2. Paste the blog award on your page.
3. Share 10 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 friends.


10 Random Facts About Me:

1. I hate people touching the inner parts of my wrists or ankles. I’m not sure why, it just makes me feel so squeamish.

2. I was born in Amman, Jordan.

3. I love fashion and clothing but you would never know that looking at me because I look like a hobo 85% of the time.

4. I love to cook and bake.

5. I have a habit of excessively worrying about what people think of me, which I am trying to rid myself of.

6. I dream of visiting Turkey one day.

7. I started this blog as a way to get creativity hours for my IB Diploma.

8. My favorite colors are any pastel colors, black and white.

9. I can’t really take compliments about my physical appearance well because I never believe that people actually mean them.

10. I’m a compulsive liar and everything I just told you is false.

(Just kidding about that last one. Here’s a real one instead: I LOVE CHOCOLATE.)


My nominations:

 I don’t have enough people to make a list of 15 but here are some bloggers that I don’t know very well and I’d like to get to know a little better:

Inertial Confinement

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

Clockwork Desires

Every Rose Has Its Soul

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