Monday, 15 February 2010
YA Literary Heroes for Girls
I have just read an article in the 2010 Jan/Feb/Mar issue of Mslexia (my favourite lit mag) called 'The new It Girls' (Deep in the heart of Young adult literature, a real, arse-kicking revolution is brewing. Could this be the rallying cry of a brave new feminist movement?).
It was a very insightful, logically written piece that contrasts the different portrayals of young women in the media and in fiction books. The article compares 'drippy' heroines like Twilight's Bella Swan to the strong heroines of many modern YA novels, such as Lyra in Pullman's Northen Lights and Katniss in The Hunger Games (a book I've seen mentioned in quite a few articles lately - I think I'll get hold of a copy).
The article looks back, too, at heroines such as Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden) and how strong female characters are not simply imitations of male characters, but assert themselves in their gender.
I found another heroine at the end of the article, though: the writer. This article was written by Leonara Craig Cohen, who is 17-years-old and studying English, Russian, Art and History of Art. She's written for The Guardian and The Times as well as various other places. And she's just SEVENTEEN.
My initial reaction was jealously, of course. Closely followed by admiration. Sometimes you don't have to look to fiction to find heroes for young women.
Posted by Sophie Playle at 14:05