In our day and age feminist icons are so important to demonstrate to young women that female characters do not need to be two-dimensional stereotypes. Unfortunately, finding books with great female characters can be difficult. All too often they are written only to supplement a male character.
However, all is not lost. There are female characters in modern writing who are strong and compelling in their own right. They are well-written, independent and have something to say!
Here are ten female characters that really stand out for their strength and intelligence:
Highly introverted and antisocial as the result of a rough childhood, Lisbeth is described as “insane” by the men in her life, which only adds to her hatred of them. Although she gets called a psychopath, it is shown quite often that she has a conscience (a key trait that a psychopath would never have, or exhibit). In reality, she stands out as an anti-heroine who doles out justice to abusive men.
Matilda stands out as an example of pluck and positivity in a situation where most other young people would allow themselves to become embittered and defeated. While the people around her abuse and sabotage her desire to read and educate herself, Matilda perseveres. No matter how discouraging her parents and Miss Trunchball are, Matilda is portrayed as being strong and resilient.
Strong willed, adventurous, and smart. These are just a few key phrases that describe Hermione. The young wizard always refuses to be left behind, and rather than acting as an accessory to her male counterparts she plays an active role in the group achieving their objectives.
Despite becoming The Wicked Witch Of The West in The Wizard of Oz, Elphaba was at one point was quite possibly one of the strongest female characters ever written in Wicked. Passionate and devoted to helping those around her, it should be remembered the green-skinned maiden only becomes evil when her sister Nessa is killed.
Kambili as far as everyone is aware, lives the perfect life. However behind the doors of her home, the story is very different. She and her brother suffer abuse and isolation from the hands of their overly religious father, who has practically destroyed the family by using the Bible in the wrong way. One day they are sent to live with their aunt and Kambili finally sees the world for what it really is. With her new found knowledge, Kambili decides to fix the family that her father has broken.
Not only does she sacrifice herself for the sake of her sister, Katniss shows many strong leadership skills throughout the book series. Smart, quick on her feet, she’s also great with a bow and arrow. Katniss shows women that they can be both beautiful and tough.
Hazel has cancer, but that doesn’t keep her from living her life to the fullest, despite being quite passive. She doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself, or try to convince herself that her cancer is the end of the world. Hazel chooses to live her life the way she sees best, by spending time with her loved ones and reading her favorite books.
Margaret is just your basic 12 year old girl, however that’s what makes her character so endearing. As she tries to figure out what she is meant to be in life she overcomes many challenges. From puberty to religion, Margaret wants to keep her own type of faith strong throughout her life.
Age 14, Lily has grown up believing she was responsible for her mother’s death. This story tells that not all white families were as privileged or happy as many thought during the late 50’s and early 60’s. Rather than deal with any more abuse from the hands of her father (whom she referred to as “T-Ray”), Lily manages to break out of her domestic prison. She heads towards a small town known as Tilburon, South Carolina. There she meets the Boatright sisters and learns to coexist with them, much like the bees in a hive.
Sephy is a “Cross”, the term used to describe a dark skinned citizen. . In the story, Sephy has to endure many hardships due to the fact that she has befriended Callum, who is a “Nought” (or light skinned person). Despite her difficult life, Sephy uses her quick wits and confidence to get her through.
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