It seems lately there has been an uprising trend in “kick-ass” female characters: Katsa from Graceling; Katniss from Hunger Games; Ismae from Grave Mercy; anyone from Tamora Pierce’s books. These girls aren’t simply strong, they know how to kick ass and take names.
AND THIS IS NOT A BAD THING! I love love love that finally female characters are being the leads, not for finding a boy to love but because they are fierce, fierce heroes who defeat the bad guy.
But as my good friend Tee from YA Crush said (and I totally want to put this on a t-shirt!) “not every girl can skin a squirrel.”
Last Tuesday I listed my Top Ten Favorite “Girl Power” Heroines. In case you missed it, check it out here. In case you’re to lazy to click on the link, here they are:
As you can see, most of them can’t skin a squirrel, but they all have a certain power that is all their own.
I asked several of my blog friends about what female book characters they think exemplify girl power traits. Their answers were all so varied; I loved the diversity of them, the types of girl power traits each character showed.
Brittany: My favorite girl power literary characters are probably Lola and Anna from Stephanie Perkins’ books. I literally just read those books (back to back) and I love how they’re not afraid to be themselves – and we see this a lot more with Lola – how being confident and thinking independently ultimately attracts her perfect soulmate to her! That’s the way to go. She’s happy and proud of who she is, she’s not afraid to hide it, and she wants everyone to be as unique as they can be and she loves them for it.
Tee: My favorite girl power character is Frankie Landau Banks. I know there are so many “tougher” characters out there, but I love that she outsmarts everyone not because she can shoot arrows or outrun people, but because she uses her incredible brains. We need more heroines like this. And I love that she isn’t perfect and doesn’t have all the answers. She’s flawed and she cares too much what her dumb boyfriend thinks. It makes her all the more real and it makes what she can do feel so much more within reach than the things a girl like Katniss can accomplish. I mean, not every girl can skin a squirrel, but every girl can outsmart a guy. And they should!
Meghan: All of the female characters in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, especially by the end of the book. Also, Katsa (Graceling) and Fire (Fire) from Kristin Cashore’s Seven Kingdoms series (again, by the end of the story, not so much in the beginning). Elisa from Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (by the end of the book).
In my researching for this post, I came across this fantastic article about how to create a kick-ass YA heroine. It’s a little old, a year in fact, but I think still holds true to today’s characters that we all love: Your Formula for a Kick-Ass Young Adult Heroine
I think Tamora Pierce’s comment sums up my thoughts completely on what makes a girl power powerful character: “I like to show strong female characters who are also proud to be female… [Another aspect is] not rejecting other women or women’s roles.”
One of the most powerful examples we can set for not only future generations but for ourselves as well is to embrace being female and all sides that come with it. As Wonder Woman (one of my favorites) shows you can be sexy, strong, heroic, feminine ALL AT THE SAME TIME! To me, that’s what makes a good girl power character, one who embraces being female while not letting it hinder her – because why should it? Being kick-ass doesn’t mean knowing how to fight or defend or kill someone with a piece of string; it means so much more and SHOULD mean so much more!
Who are some book characters you think have major girl power?