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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Woman Is Like a Tea Bag

A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. -Eleanor Roosevelt

This was my quote of the day in my classroom today. It's definitely in my top three quotes of all time. If Hatshepsut had a quote it would be-

Well behaved women rarely make history. -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I love reading about strong heroines, especially those from history. And since Hatshepsut is the first successful female ruler in history that we know of I adore her.

There are plenty of other strong female protagonists in literature- two of my favorites are Scarlet O'Hara from Gone With the Wind and Sayuri from Memoirs of a Geisha. Scarlet is catty and selfish, but it doesn't matter because I just want her to be successful and end up with Rhett (not Ashley- he's about as exciting as watching paint dry). Sayuri is eloquent and graceful, strong and hopeful despite her often horrendous circumstances.

Do you have a favorite female protagonist? Have you written an amazing heroine? What makes her such a rock star?


Amalia T. said...

I love Princess Leia. I also love Elizabeth Bennet, because she is smart and witty and knows her own mind. The same goes for Princess Leia, too.

I like my heroines, too. Setta, because she faces death with such courage, and Eve because in spite of everything she's suffered and lost, she still loves. And I love that my Helen does not sit back and wait for things to happen, but takes her life and her future into her own hands with determination, in a time when that was totally not acceptable.

I am adding Gone with the Wind to my netflix Queue right now before I forget!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Egad! How could I forget Elizabeth Bennet? I love her! Hmmm... If I had an extra six hours I'd watch the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice this weekend.

Amalia T. said...

Seriously. Now that you just said that, I might have to!

Jade said...

I was going to say Lizzie too. I do have a soft spot for Scarlet as well though.

As for my own characters...I love Alex because she was brave enough to go out on her own to save her friends. I love Lola because even though she makes a lot of mistakes she's brave enough to admit she's wrong. Finally, there's Abbey who knows exactly what she wants and who she is and is damn proud of it all.

Matthew Delman said...

I seem to prefer reading about female heroines in adventure stories for some unknown reason.

Well, that's not entirely true -- see, the "failing" my male heroes and I share is an abiding attraction to strong-willed women, and what stronger woman is there than one that sets off to rescue the people she cares about?

If she happens to find a partner that stands by her side, all the more entertaining. Especially if it's not a cut-and-dry love story. Much more entertaining that way.

Jemi Fraser said...

My fave female character is probably Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. So much fun :)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Love strong female protags and the teabag quote! My latest hero is a local one. First big snowfall of the year, she came over a steep hill in a remote area, slid down into a snowbank and got stuck. Knowing that her back two tires had better tread than her front ones--she got out the jack, proceeded one by one to switch the back tires to the front and drove home. Impressed the heck out of me!

Mary Campbell said...

It's funny but I think of Melanie as being the one with all the strength in Gone With the Wind. I love the contrast of the two characters. When Scarlett balks at convention it's Melanie that stands up to the others and forces them to let Scarlett still be apart of them. The tribe follow Melanie. If Melanie says it's alright, it is alright. There's a lot of backbone in that meek little woman.

Susan R. Mills said...

My female protag was a bit of a wimp before my rewrites. It was one of the things I really had to work on. Someone else was always saving her. In my new version, she is still scared, but she faces that fear like a hero, and fights her own battles. What a difference it has made in my story!

Anissa said...

I love a strong female protag! Funny thing is, my current MC isn't there yet. But she's coming into her own. Hopefully in time to do what needs to be done in the climax. Great post!

V. S said...

Elizabeth Bennet rocks.

Voidwalker said...

Favorite Female Protaganist: The only female MC that I can think of at the moment is Bella from Twilight Series, but I didn't like her at all. I enjoyed the books, but she bugged the crap out of me :P

Otherwise, any other female MC's seem to evade me at the moment, so I'll come back and commend if I remember.

Natalie said...

I am going to be totally boring and say Elizabeth Bennett too. I love her. But I also l love Katniss from the Hunger Games.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Natalie- Hunger Games is on my list next time I go to the bookstore. I hear great things about it!

Voidwalker- Bella bugged me too.

V.S.- Glad you agree!

Anissa- Sometimes it takes a while, but I'm sure she'll get there!

Susan- Hatshepsut started out as a little weak in some areas too. I think I've buffed her up. :)

Mary- You have a point there about Melanie. There were several parts though where I wanted to scream at her to stop being so nice to Scarlet! :)

Deb- That is one tough lady!

Jemi- I loooooooved Anne of Green Gables when I was little. I can't wait to get them for my daughter.

Matt- Men who like strong women are A-Ok in my book. That's Senenmut for Hatshepsut!

Jade- Sounds like you've got some rock star women in your books! Yay!

Dawn Simon said...

I love Elizabeth Bennet. I saw Natalie mentioned Katniss from THE HUNGER GAMES. I like her, too. You know who I thought was an awesome female character even though she wasn't the title character? Hermione Granger. She's one of my favorites.

Tamika: said...

In my coming project the MC is a great heroine. I could never face fear and tradegy with her strength and resolve. She rocks even when she should be wimpering in the corner!

Lisa and Laura said...

We are going to be totally boring and say Elizabeth Bennet as well. She's SO good, we modeled the main character from our first book after her. Actually, I guess that's more of an insult.

livius said...

I have to give some love to Jane Eyre. She may not sparkle like Elizabeth Bennet or Scarlett O'Hara, but she's immovably loyal, strong beyond conception under consistently horrible circumstances, and stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell.

On a slightly more obscure note, I also heart Bradamante, the indomitable woman knight from Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso". She even has a magical lance that unseats every knight who has the misfortune to encounter it, wink wink, nudge nudge.

Just Another Sarah said...

When I first read Gail Carson Levine's "Ella Enchanted," I fell in love with her version of Cinderella...the same with Robin McKinley's "Beauty." Both are strong female characters, which I like. Oh, and Cimorene from Patricia C. Wrede's Dragons series. I should be able to think of more, but all I can remember right now are rewritten fairy tales!

In the story I'm writing, the female character is the hero of the story. And she's pretty strong, I think! Even if she doesn't think so, at first.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

I loved the teabag quote and I think it's really true.