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