Clair Fraser, Outlander Series
Claire Fraser is a top notch female character (not because I’m completely obsessed with Outlander). Claire is a woman that has been pulled away from everything she has ever known, and thrust into the patriarchal society of the Scotland. She proceeds to give a giant finger to any scholar who claims that certain social norms have to be respected because “it was another time”. Claire is a strong independent woman who refuses to take abuse from anyone. She causes even the most masculine Highland Scots to blush as she curses like a sailor, and bosses them around like the badass she is. She refuses to keep her mouth shut in the face of injustice and will not let her husband spank her in a time when it was perfectly normal and acceptable for a man to beat his wife. She comes to the rescue of a large variety of people and continually sees the good in those around her. If I was ever thrust back in time to 18th century Scotland I can only hope that I can muster half the amount of courage that
Louisa Clarke, Me Before You
Louisa Clark was a strong individual even before her experience with Will Traynor. Her bold sense of style automatically sets her apart from a crowd, but what I really admire about her is her unwavering commitment to whatever task is set before her. During her time as a caretaker for the quadriplegic William Traynor, she experiences a wide variety of emotions ranging from giddy happiness, to crippling fear, to red hot anger. She powers through all of these emotions in order to stay true to her beliefs. She throws her heart and soul into a job that most people would find completely draining. Even when she is faced with one of the most difficult decisions ever to be placed in front of a human being, she is able to set aside her own feelings in order to be supportive of someone she loves. She proves herself to be a strong ally for those that have been handed a crappy situation, and she is able to rise up and shine after experiences that should have left her sad and broken. Also her outfits are amazing!
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter Series
I know that this one might seem a little cliché, but I am a firm believer that Hermione is one of the most positive female role models a young girl can have. Hermione shows that it is good to have brains. We live in a time where young girls are under a lot of pressure to fit into some kind of prepackaged image that society deems beautiful. Hermione throws away that image and brings a new one to life. She also displays character development that a lot of nerdy, awkward girls can relate to. She begins the series as a nerd who finds it difficult to make friends and often hides behind her intelligence in order to mask her insecurities. By the end of the series she is strong and completely comfortable with what makes her different and she has shown that the nerdy girls can come out on top. I like to think of myself as an academic and Hermione has been a huge inspiration to me and has helped me embrace my inner book worm so that I can be proud of what makes me unique.
Chiyo, Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha was one of my first book reviews on this blog and I will always believe that Chiyo is one of the strongest female characters in literature. Chiyo is a person who refuses to let go of things that make her unique in a profession that forces her to become the equivalent of a china doll. As a Geisha, Chiyo is supposed to adapt herself into whatever her clients want her to be. She hides her own desires beneath this façade and quietly works towards the things that will make her happiest. I adore her commitment to her own dreams and how she uses the tools available to her to build a life that she can be happy in.
Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief
I believe that The Book Thief is one of the most brilliant young adult novels ever written, and Liesel is one of the strongest young females in literature. Liesel is a young German girl living during World War II. She is supposed to be benefitting from Hitler’s new regime and yet she is not. She is a child who fights a broken system and refuses to fall victim to the propaganda spewed by the Third Reich. She becomes great friends with a Jewish boy and helps him survive by hiding him in her basement. She has a passion for books and reads constantly even though many of her favorites are being publicly burnt by the Nazis. She is able to express herself in a country that favors uniformity. I am dying to bridge this book with The Diary of Anne Frank to show my students two parallel girls during the Holocaust.