by Alesha Escobar
A hero is someone we can look up to and aspire to be like. And, it’s a bonus when that hero shares something in common with us (culture, moral strengths, flaws, or gender). Growing up in the ‘80s, I remember rushing home from school with my older sister so that we could plop down in front of the TV to watch the latest episode of Wonder Woman, which starred Lynda Carter.
We loved watching a strong woman rush into danger to subdue criminals and save others. We also enjoyed that she did so while embracing and celebrating her femininity. As I grew up, I’ve realized that “strong heroine” can mean more than one thing, because there are many ways to display strength. Sure, it’s fun to watch Black Widow or Agent Carter high-kick a thug in the head without breaking a sweat, but what I also love about them is that their sharpest weapons are their brains.
This isn’t to say I can’t (or won’t) be inspired by a male protagonist–and there are quite a few in the sci-fi/fantasy genre that I think are amazing! However, now that I’m a parent and watch how my daughter perks up just a little more when she sees someone who looks like her appear on screen to save the day, or in a comic book to set off on an adventure, it hits home how the stories we tell, and the characters we use to tell them, can have an impact on our audience.
So why do we need heroines? Because their stories matter, just like real life heroines who’ve made history.
Have you heard about the woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands? Her name was Nancy Wake, and she had one of the highest bounties on her head during WWII as she fought alongside the Resistance in Nazi-occupied France.
Nancy Wake (c. 1945)
Or, think of Harriet Tubman, the famous American abolitionist who bravely spoke out against slavery and personally led men and women to freedom despite many perils.
So if there are heroic women throughout history, I say let us also have them in our books and stories. International Women’s Day is March 8 of every year (and some territories have designated the entire month as Women’s History Month). This is a great time to remember and discover some of the earth-shattering accomplishments different women have made to the world.
If you’re a bookworm like me, and enjoy escaping into fantasy worlds, dare I say that we’d also like to see female protagonists with the same heart, intellect, bravery and determination of the real life women who’ve earned their place alongside our heroes.
Alesha Escobar writes and blogs to support her chocolate habit. She loves reading everything from Tolkien, to the Dresden Files and Hellblazer comics. Alesha is the author of the bestselling Gray Tower Trilogy fantasy series, of which the first book is now being adapted to screenplay. Her latest novel, House of Diviners, will be released in the Daughters of Destiny Boxed Set (March 15).
To keep up with Alesha’s latest shenanigans and grab free books, please visit: http://bit.ly/FMMReads