With the very publicised oppression of female reproductive rights, it is essential that women and young girls have strong, inspiring females to look up to. In a male dominated society, it is easy for a woman to be over looked and underrepresented by the media. In fact, women in power are often viewed as anomalies. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because of the patriarchal mindset that most people adopt, or perhaps it’s because women are viewed as weaker and not as important. Whatever the reason, it is more important now that women are represented, especially in literature. We need to defy these gender stereotypes and societal norms, and allow children to understand that being a girl is not a weakness.
Until recently the world of publishing was dominated by men, and these men carried their own prejudices. Females had to work twice as hard to get published, and even then, they weren’t as revered as the male authors were. They were encouraged to suppress their gender in their work. An example of this was when J.K Rowling, author of the brilliant and commercially successful Harry Potter series, was told that she shouldn’t use Joanne Rowling as her pen name because it would be too obvious that she was female, and women just don’t sell as many books as men do. It is only now that female authors have broken through the attempted domination, and it is glorious. But it seems that the world may be reverting to old mindsets…
It is 2017 and a man is trying to tell a woman what she may and may not do with her body. Gender equality is a dream yet to be achieved and society has adopted a terrifying view on consent. Before little girls and boys grow up thinking that this is okay, we need to show them that women are strong and fierce too. We can change their mindsets by breaking through society’s prejudices and views. Children read books, and books are turned into movies. Most of these books have male protagonists, and females are portrayed as surface characters that look pretty and live for love. We do have books with strong female protagonists, but we need more. We need more generation relevant novels with female protagonists so that girls and women of today can be inspired to fight against the patriarchy that threatens us once again.
Looking to feel empowered and inspired? Here are some books with a brilliant take on feminism:
• How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
• The Complete Collect Poems of Maya Angelou
• Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
• Into the Go-Slow by Bridgett M. Davis
• Sophocle’s Antigone
• The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
• A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
• The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Davis