My friend Anna has a great new section on her blog, which she cheekily dubbed a “lady list” in the great unveiling post earlier this week. It’s a huge list of books, fiction and nonfiction, that she calls her “feminist reading list.”
This is not a list of my own feminist reading list, although, it would be dang fun to make one, and I could. A lot of my exploration of feminism started as a way to wrap my mind around body image: both my own and the way the media and culture portray female body image. I wrote about that a while ago here. Instead, her list inspired me to make a list of female protagonists who I have loved, and who have influenced my life in big ways and small.
My favorite female protagonists
- Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie Series.
- Stargirl in Stargirl by J. Spinelli
- Jo Alcott, particularly in Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
- Frankie in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart.
- Kit Tyler in The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
- Dicey Tillerman in Cynthia Voight’s Tillerman Homecoming Cycle
- Meg Murray in A Wrinkle in Time by Madelene L’Engle
- Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery
Here’s what I realized while making this list
1. Categorizing books on goodreads is too much fun. Like 45 minutes of mindless fun.
2. Female protagonists were way more important to me as a tween and teen than they are now. When I look at the books I’ve loved and the female characters of adult fiction, they don’t resonate with me as deeply as the “girls” I grew up with listed above. I suppose the notable exception is Kristin Lavransdatter, from the epic trilogy I read last winter.
3. Should I be ashamed (upset?) that my heroines in fiction are so predictable? I mean, Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls Wilder top quite a few “best of” lists. However, that is also why those lists are also “best” lists, because the characters are loveable.
How about you – Who are your favorite female protagonists?