Women

International Women’s Day 2016

At the time of writing, the day before yesterday was International Women’s Day. I view this day as one to celebrate the achievements of women all around the world and to inspire young girls and women to do what they want to do in life, despite gender stereotypes.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me” – Ayn Rand”

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I want to celebrate some of my favourite female authors. 

Authors, Novels & Characters:

  1. Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is one of my favourite book series, and is beloved by millions of people around the world. This woman created an entire world! Let’s not think about the characters for a moment and just think about a world, all of which came from her imagination. Aside from a few well-known mythical creatures (i.e. dragons, centaurs, unicorns, witches/wizards, ghosts etc.) she created Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hogsmead, Diagon Alley, Butterbeer and Quidditch! 

J.K. Rowling wrote the characters as real people. The characters in this series are so easy to fall in love with because they face real issues that real people face in terms of love, friendship, exams etc. We experience their highs and lows, their heartache and elation because J.K. Rowling took us on an adventure. Her writing inspires people.

Hermione Granger:

We saw Hermione grow from a young girl who cried in the girls bathroom when Ron teased her, into a strong, intelligent, courageous, loyal and caring woman. Hermione shows all of these qualities throughout every book, and she owns it.

Her intelligence is shown through her grades, her willingness to speak her mind and her ideas and creativity when it comes to problem solving.

She shows her caring nature and loyalty throughout when she stays with Harry and aids him throughout his seven years at Hogwarts, be it magical, educational or emotional.

There are many times she shows strength and courage however, the moment which stands out for me is when she came to the decision to ‘obliviate’ her parents. She removed herself from their lives to keep them safe. 

Hermione Granger embodies the qualities and flaws most girls and women see in themselves. The best part about her character is that she is who she is and she doesn’t apologise for it. Women should not apologise for being themselves.

“Young girls are taught you have to be the delicate princess. Hermione told them that you can be the warrior” – Emma Watson

As for Emma Watson, I think her roles have shown you can be a princess and a warrior. When writing about International Women’s Day, I can’t not include her.

  1. How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran

When I first saw this book I did the unthinkable. I committed the ultimate reader sin. I judged a book by its cover. 

When I first downloaded this book I prepared myself for someone wittering on about how woman should act, speak and dress with a tonne of ideals dating back to the 1920’s.

This book is so refreshing. Caitlin Moran speaks frankly about real issues with the world concerning young girls and women. She is candid with her words and proves that women, when they know what they want, can be an unparalleled force. This book tackles many issues however, the quote below is my favourite: 

“…These days, however, I am much calmer – since I realised it is technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor – biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game – before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female columnists at The Daily Mail – giving their daily wail against feminism – amuse me. They paid you £1600 for that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going into your bank account and not your husbands. The more women argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy it’s hard-won privileges” – Caitlin Moran: How To Be A Woman

  1. The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins

When I finally read the Hunger Games, I blitzed through the trilogy in one week. I loved the female lead, Katniss Everdeen. Again, she’s a character with a lot of good qualities and a lot of flaws however, she does what she needs to do in order to survive. She takes the place of her younger sister and enters The Hunger Games knowing exactly what’s in store when she arrives, but does so willingly for many reasons including love and protectiveness.

I don’t want to give too much away. What I will say is, if you haven’t yet read them, and are looking for a new series, this is a great one to sink your teeth into.

  1. BONUS – A Trail of Cards or Mirror Land: Kirstie Riley

A friend of mine, Kirstie Riley, self-published two books through Amazon and I am so damn proud of her.

I really do love these books and I am so proud of her achievements. It isn’t often women celebrate one another, we’re usually too busy tearing each other down. Kirstie is a good friend and I know how hard she worked on both of these. One is a novel and the other is a novella. She is incredibly smart and talented and, as someone who wants to pursue writing myself, she is such an inspiration to me – so much so I couldn’t not include her when writing this International Women’s Day list.

Conclusion

I would like to see more books where a female character presence is more prominent and not just to be ‘the nag’ or ‘love interest’. We need more female characters who are complex, witty, funny, intelligent, brave, loyal, clumsy, who both succeed and fail and, more importantly who aren’t afraid to fail, because achievements and errors are all part of life. We are not perfect. What we do have is the mind-set, intelligence and capability to learn from our failures and try again, and again, until we achieve our dreams.

People ask why International Women’s Day exists a lot. The question doesn’t puzzle me as it’s usually asked by men who also question why there’s no International Men’s Day. What I ask is what is so wrong with setting these days aside to advocate for men and women. To celebrate them. To think about how far we have come, and how far we have to go in society. If you have to ask the question, then you’re asking the wrong thing.

Books I Plan To Read by Female Authors:

  1. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley ✔️
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank ✔️
  4. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  5. I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb ✔️
  6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou ✔️

 

Originally posted 10th March 2016

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