What was your favorite heroine, with her own fabulously and wildly successful series, when you were a childhood reader, my witty and wise women readers? Members of the Insecure Writers’ Support group – chime in! https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com
I ask this not to be sexist or unkind, for I am neither, but because I write women’s fiction.
I polled my close friends and came up with this list of plucky favorites among the classics:
- Pippi Longstockings: Pippi was fearless, innovative, and amazingly strong. Her bravery and loyalty saved the day over and over again for her and her animal buddies as they traveled the seas with Pippi’s sailor father. And, she was a style maven early on. Did she grow up to work for Vogue or to infiltrate the U.S. Navy and become a commander of the seas?
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: The true adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her siblings, as they settled along the frontier lands of Kansas in the late 1800s, offered us perspective on the responsibility and freedoms that young people had before household appliances became ubiquitous. Laura was clever, hardworking, and was quick-thinking to get out of situations ranging from burning houses to mean kids. She was my baby-sitting read, natch.
- Nancy Drew was a daddy’s girl… oh wait, this assertion may be contentious. After all, she was a famed discoverer of truth and problem-solver of mysteries. Here’s the book in which she first appeared, in the 1930’s, as antidote to the Hardy Boys.
- Wonder Woman was invincible. There are many moments when I crave her bracelets to flick back arrows and zaps.
- Madeline was a feisty childhood feminist, not just the smiley girl who wore a broad-brimmed black hat
- More recently, we sat back and smiled at the presence of Hermoine Granger in the vaunted Harry Potter series. Part of the triumphant trio of wizards from the beloved J.K. Rowling series, Hermione was whip-smart, hardworking, but willing to bend the rules to help her friends. She saved Harry and Ron countless times with her ingenuity and book knowledge.
Every Disney heroine, from Ariel to Mulan to the princess in the tower who let down her hair, dominated the scene and prevailed. With humor, wit, and inventiveness – as precursors to women in Politics today.
I have another for you to add – Ramona Quimby!
Also – Laura Ingalls. Those 2 were the first heroines I fell in love with.
Followed closely by Nancy Drew.
For a girl growing up in the late 80s/early 90s, I also loved the BabySitters Club. They modeled friendship, group dynamics, good business sense and navigating life with your closest friends. Based on their example, I set up my own group of 6 – gave us all nicknames, and laid out the ‘guidelines’ for our friendship. While we didn’t have a business, 5 of the 6 were in 4-H – and we remain close friends to this day. Showing up for each other wherever and whenever we are needed.
Jessica – one of your best qualities is that you’ve been in love with literature since birth 😉
Well, who didn’t love Wonder Woman? I was a big DC fan and very familiar with her.
I’d love Wonder Woman’s legs – and those incredible arm cuffs for Christmas!