Thursday, November 3, 2011

Women Protagonists

I prefer women protagonists in novels. However androgynous I identify, the way I'm usually perceived in the world, is as a woman. Protagonists who are treated as women in their worlds are more appealing, interesting, validating and relate-able to me.
Not all women protagonists in general. Although they are among my favorite authors, Lois L'Amour, Isaac Asimov and John Green (he may be removed from this list come January!) have rather one-dimensional, sometimes sloppy women characters. Asimov's Susan Calvin, to use the most famous example, is a feminist's heroine for being a strong-willed, intelligent woman of science; he managed to touch a few chords with her, but it isn't her cold demeanor that makes her so distant from the reader.
Clearly, making a general character, however strong, female isn't enough. However powerful or weak, pleasant or hostile, the way a woman character moves in her world can make the novel invaluable.

- "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb
- anything ever written by Toni Morrison
- "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston
- "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak
- "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
- anything ever written by Virginia Woolf
- "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath
- "Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong
- "A Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
- "Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean Auel
- "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera
- "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
- "Valley of the Dolls" by Jacqueline Susann

1 comment:

  1. About John Green -- Have you heard/read the first chapter of his new book? I'm encouraged re: the sloppy female characterizations. I can't wait to get to know that character better.

    The females in the novel I'm writing are based very heavily off of me and my best friend, so obviously they'll be complex, intelligent, and generally badass. :)

    P.S. Followed your NaNo profile link here, hope that's cool. :)