If you're anything like me, you have a long list strong female characters who inspire you. Today, I'm here to share five of my favorites.
Obviously, there are many, many others I could have included, but this is, at least, a start.
Rural southern Idaho, where I grew up, didn't offer much by way of quality TV programs in the 70s, and the selection shrank drastically on Sundays. If I got lucky and the sermon didn't run long and I ran really fast to get home on time, I could watch Pippi Longstocking after church on Sundays. Imagine, this incredibly strong little girl who was all knees and elbows and bright red ponytails with a chest full of pirate treasure. In Pippi I found my first role model. She had a monkey that rode on her shoulder, a spotted horse that lived on her front porch, and access to loaded firearms. I was inspired!
Better yet, I soon found out that I didn't have to wait for Sundays to spend time with Pippi. She was born in a series of books written by Astrid Lindgren. And, even more exciting, I was able to check them out at my local library.
I've read many, many books since then, but Pippi stands tall in my memory, encouraging me to push the boundaries.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was awarded a Pulitzer Prize that rests solely on the slender shoulders of Scout Finch. As irreverent and deviant as Pippi Longstocking was, Scout was earnest and curious. Through her eyes, we see her father, Atticus, struggle to do the right thing even though it goes against public opinion. Her youthful idealism never could quite make sense of the systemic racism in place around her, and for that, she quietly entered my imagination and never left.
With her wand clutched in one hand and her head tilted defiantly up, Hermione Granger demanded my attention and has since refused to relinquish it. A muggle-born witch and a girl in a world populated and dominated by boys, Hermione fought for respect and earned it. She was smart, driven, talented, and determined to define her own place in the world.
The idea that this powerful little girl struggled to find her emotional home spoke to the shy kid inside me who knew she didn't fit. Just like Hermione, I grew up and grew strong and found my space.
Thank you, JK Rowling, for bringing Herione to life in the Harry Potter series.
"You're just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode. That's what you are, a bee charmer."
And just like that, I fell in love with Idgie Threadgoode from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Farmer.
Idgie skipped church, played poker, smiled roguishly, and somehow managed to thoroughly charm the fair Ruth Jamison. As Ruth fell in love with Idgie, I did too. Their romance was timeless, impossible to deny, and too large to contain. Idgie inspires me to fall in love over and over and over.
Sometimes bad things happen to a girl. And sometimes that bad thing breaks the girl. But sometimes, as in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, that girl pulls herself together and finds her revenge. Lisbeth Salander is beautiful, brutal, and broken, and she refuses to be a victim.
There you have it, my list of five strong female characters. Who's on your list?