Welcome to another appreciative post about the fictional women I adore. This idea was brought to me by Bookish girl and I’m loving talking about my favorite women in fiction, so again, thank you! You can find more details about my reasons to start this meme on this post.
Anyway, my goal is to bring women – including trans women, of course – to the lights every week. But without waiting more, here’s my choice for this week!
Along the weeks, I’m starting to notice a regular pattern in this series of posts : my love for women leads who are often dismissed, if not hated, by a whole category of readers.
Evie, the heroine of The Diviners by Libba Bray, is one of them.
Internalized misogyny, or : what we accept in men and reject in women
Often when reading about female characters, I’m baffled to see how many times the same words are thrown around : she’s so EGOCENTRIC, so FICKLE & VAPID, why can’t she THINK before acting, god she’s so ANNOYING!!!!
… and then we have beloved male characters who share the exact same traits and stay absolute favorites (*cough* Harry Potter *cough*).
Double standard, anyone?
Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of that in the past. Even though I was calling myself a feminist, I just couldn’t see how fundamentally biased my opinion was, influenced by gendered stereotypes as I was. If we don’t stop ourselves to challenge our knee-jerk reactions, chances are, we’re merely vomiting back what we’ve been fed all our lives.
Women are selfish and hate other women!
Women don’t know how to make a choice, they’re so fickle!
Women act without thinking, they can’t rule over their emotions!
Of course, most of us will condemn these false statements pretty quickly. But… are we checking ourselves when we start judging women in fiction? Are we really? We ask so much of women, it’s ridiculous – especially with teenagers that we call immature, somehow forgetting that they’re actual CHILDREN.
Some mornings, she’d wake and vow, Today, I will get it right. I won’t be such an awful mess of a girl. I won’t lose my temper or make unkind remarks. I won’t go too far with a joke and feel the room go quiet with disapproval. I’ll be good and kind and sensible and patient. The sort everyone loves. But by evening, her good intentions would have unraveled. She’d say the wrong thing or talk a little too loudly. She’d take a dare she shouldn’t, just to be noticed. Perhaps Mabel was right, and she was selfish. But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all? “Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough?
So, Evie. I adore this ambitious, smart-ass, complex lady, and I find her personal growth absolutely fantastic. So what if she’s reckless at times, so what if she wants to be famous, SO WHAT if she doesn’t fall in instalove with one dude once and for all? She’s seventeen. Her interactions with Sam give me life (SAM LOYD THOUGH ♥), she’s supportive of her best-friend, Mabel, even though, yes, sometimes she’s not a perfect friend (but who the hell is???) and SHE BLOODY FIGHTS GHOSTS.
Of course I admire her.
Now, you’re allowed to dislike her, of course. We’ll just have to agree to disagree^^.
TW – rape, abusive relationship, mentions of drugging people, suicide, cult, death, murder, animal cruelty, racism, eugenism
That’s it for today! Feel free to link your posts about your favorite women leads in the comments, I’ll gladly add them here!