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4 Empowering Heroines in Female-Written Literature

WRITTEN BY Caitlyn Smith

Right now, many of us are spending most, if not all, of our time at home to protect ourselves and others. Inevitably, boredom and restlessness begin to set in. 

Never fear, hunnies. Reading is always a great way to pass the time, sharpen your mind and elevate your soul during this difficult time. If you are in need of some inspiration or recommendations for your next binge read, this is the article for you. 

Here are four examples of empowering heroines in literature written by women.

Offred, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” includes the incredibly persistent character, Offred. 

Though she is trapped in Gilead, a futuristic society in which she is forced to undergo sexual oppression and domestic labor, Offred endures and rebels in small ways to take back control over her life. 

Time and time again, she proves that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Capitola Black, “The Hidden Hand; or, Capitola the Madcap”

E.D.E.N. Southworth’s “The Hidden Hand; or, Capitola the Madcap,” published in 1859, stars one of the earliest tomboys in American history, Capitola Black. 

After being adopted out of poverty, she is moved to the beautiful Hurricane Hall to live with her new guardian, a retired war officer, who mysteriously knows more about Capitola’s past than she does. 

Only fourteen years old, Capitola challenges authority, especially the men in her life, and embarks on exciting adventures when she pleases. It is clear that Capitola, despite her gender and youth, has a strong voice in and possession of her own story. Her tale is an exciting, inspiring read for anyone.

Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, “Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family”

Gail Simone’s “Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family,” initially published in 2013, features an empowering portrayal of Batgirl, or Barbara Gordon. 

After being violently and sexually assaulted by the Joker, Barbara is forced to face her dark past and work through her PTSD and paralysis. In Simone’s comic, set three years after the attack, she can face the Joker head on. 

Barbara’s story is one of endurance and is an excellent source of inspiration.

Elizabeth Bennet, “Pride and Prejudice”

Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” features the witty Elizabeth Bennet. 

She is a memorable character who knows what she wants, when she wants it and never fails to speak her mind, consequently disrupting the social order throughout the novel. 

Elizabeth proves that a woman can aspire to more than traditional expectations, such as marriage. She also shows that a woman can be valued for more than her looks or domestic skills. 

This is a surprisingly progressive, empowering read for readers.