"Who run the world? Girls!"
There's an overwhelming amount of powerful male characters in fiction, from superheroes, wizard savants, and knights. Women are often cast as clever sidekicks and distressing damsels. It's done often, because it's a proven methodology that works. Men want to be the heroes and women want to be swept off their feet. There's nothing wrong with that. Except once in awhile, it's a nice change to read about a woman saving herself, who doesn't need a man to validate the person she is. Today I want to showcase some of my favorite literary heroines.
Morwenna Phelps, the daughter of a crazed witch, goes to live with her estranged father and attends a boarding school. She's struggling to overcome her tragic past in an environment that is devoid of magic, except for Mor's personal talent for seeing fairies. She's a bookworm, she knows who she is, and she embraces it. For Mor, life isn't a popularity contest--You need a reason to live and that reason has to be your own.
Isabel Duncan is a primatologist working with bonobos. After her laboratory is bombed in a suspected animal rights protest that nearly kills her, Isabel's beloved apes are sold to a company that wants to exploit the animals. Isabel's willing to do whatever it takes to save them.
Jilly Coppercorn is a painter who sees magic everywhere and skillfully puts those visions onto canvas. She's a survivor of domestic violence, of sexual assault. After an accident confines her to a hospital bed, it's time to confront the reality of her past and acknowledge why she's so determined to bring beauty back into the world.
And how can you talk about leading ladies without mentioning, Elphaba? She doesn't need a man, she doesn't need anybody... She doesn't even need a logical explanation for her skin tone. She will strive for social justice by anarchy. If you can't love her, you can't love anyone.