As a writer and reader of young adult (YA) literature, I find it is impossible to ignore the rise of traditional masculinity within new, adolescent heroines. In the 21st century, readers have seen the rise of supposedly strong female characters—heroines who carry assault rifles and avoid their emotions. By relinquishing their emotions and their flaws, these heroines have sacrificed the qualities about themselves that initially made them appear so interesting. My desire to see more realistic heroines like myself developed into a creative fiction project that follows and acknowledges the voices of feminine heroines. I call these protagonists “female strong.” My project—a collection of linked short stories—is peopled with the types of heroines that are severely lacking in YA novels and in the film industry. In my own short stories, I have embraced the narratives about young women who are both strong and emotional. I wanted to create memorable female characters that the reader could root for simply because of their feminine strength, even if their flaws were naivety, or lack of confidence, or even if they failed to achieve their resolution in the end. Female-strong characters are vital because they present a view of women who aren’t purely fantasy; they are placed in the real and are feminine, too. In other words, they don’t have to be a gorgeous, knockout model who can kick butt; instead, they can derive strength from their intellect, or their intuition, or perhaps even from their emotion.
- Envisioning Female-Strong: Reclaiming the Feminine Heroine of Young Adult Literature