Monday, August 8, 2011

In Response to The Harry Potter Effect

Okay, so I read this article today trolling the net for interesting things to blog about that made me want to shoot myself in the hand as a female writer. Apparently, there's a poll compiled by the Independent in 2005 stating that most people, even women, prefer male literary characters to females. WHAT? Sixty-seven of the one hundred characters listed were men. It would seem the literary world is sorely lacking in good female characters or is it? I'd rather pick my nose in better/more intelligent company with my garden pog then listen to any more of the Independent dribble.

You can view the poll results here, if you must:

In response, here are some of my favorite female characters from some of my all-time favorite reads:

1) Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison's The Hollows Series. This witch can kick some butt and take a beating.

2) Ivy Tamwood from Kim Harrison's The Hollows Series. Beauty shouldn't be mistaken for vulnerability. This vampire has teeth.

3) Jilly Coppercorn in Charles de Lint's Newford books. She is a strong artist who has overcome a lot of hardship.

4) Taylor Greer from The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. A strong woman with no money who picks up her life and moved out of state by herself, trying to make it and raise a child (Turtle) that found her along the way.

5) Door, the fantastical character created by Neil Gaiman in Neverwhere, the story of a girl trying to save her family and the London underworld from destruction.

6) Sissy Hankshaw and Bonanza Jellybean, two of the most outrageous and strong female characters you will ever meet in the Tom Robbins novel, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

7) Neef, the human (Changeling) stolen by the fairies in Changeling by Delia Sherman. A great young adult female character with spunk and wit.

8) Maggie Black, the girl who left the West Coast city life for the Southwest and discovers the magic of the land in Terri Windling's, The Wood Wife.

9) Tiffany Aching, the preteen and Granny Weatherwax, the granny of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Both have quick tongues and nimble minds. One is a human girl and the other is a human witch, but they think alike.

10) Sethe and Beloved both in Toni Morrison's novel, Beloved. A haunting story of slavery told from the female perspective.

11) Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter. I cannot even imagine going through what she went through.

I could continue with the list, but I think I've made my point. There are lots of good female characters out there to choose from.

What are yours?

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!


Cindy Little said...

Scout-To Kill a Mockingbird, Skeeter-The Help, Andy-The Devil Wears Prada,Jane-Jane Eyre, Nitta Sayuri-Memoirs of a Geisha...and those are just a few off the top of my head. Sounds like a skewed survey and misinformed author.

Erin O'Riordan said...

I love 17-year old Bosnian sniper Irena Zaric from 'Pretty Birds,' Daisy Giordano from Marlene Perez's Dead Is series, Milagro de los Santos from Marta Acosta's novels (even if she has the worst mother ever), Sookie Stackhouse and of course Hermione Granger. From the classics, there's Lizzie Bennett, Jo March, and Wonderland's Alice.