Welcome to March Calendar Girls! I’m feeling good today. Spring is here, I’m bound to not be sick anymore soon, and the future is looking up! I’m ready to talk about books. Who else is ready to talk about books?
Our theme for this month is Women’s History Month: books featuring a strong female lead. I had to think for a bit about this one. What is a strong female lead?
Typically when we talk about the strong female lead we’re talking about the warrior women. And, of course, the first book that came to mind was my all-time favorite, The Lord of the Rings. Eowyn has long been one of my favorite characters in literature because she rides to war with the men, but does so for love rather than glory. I was very much looking forward to talking about her for a few hundred words until I realized she’s not the lead. *sigh*
Which got me to thinking about my other favorite book: Pride and Prejudice. Because, is Elizabeth Bennett not also a strong character? Strength doesn’t only have to refer to strength in arms. Elizabeth thinks for herself, knows what she wants, and doesn’t let the men in her life tell her what to do. To me that is the definition of a strong female lead!
And yet, there’s also the anti-strong-female-lead idea, which proposes that those characters are just proof of how we prefer men by putting traditionally masculine qualities on to women before we can get behind them. Perhaps a woman like Mrs. Weasley who does what makes her happy and doesn’t worry about what she “should” want or do would be the most appropriate kind of woman to celebrate this month.
As you can see, I am waaaaay overthinking this prompt.
So right now I am stopping and going with my gut. My favorite (or at least a favorite) book featuring a strong female lead is…
by Charlotte Bronte
Okay, so I admit that this pick is … unusual. But what I love about Jane Eyre is that she is strong. She takes control of her own life, despite the multitude of people who are trying to set her path for her. She doesn’t let society’s expectations dictate who she is or who she will be. She has the sort of strength of character to say no to something she really wants when she knows it is the right thing to do. Jane is a woman that I have looked up to for my entire adult life.
For those of you who don’t know, Jane Eyre is the story of an orphan raised in terrible, abusive situations, who rises to become a governess in a wealthy home. She falls in love with the master of the house, but there is more to Mr. Rochester than meets the eye. It’s moody, mysterious, brooding, and the original feminist novel. (my opinion)
While I’ve seen modern feminists critique Jane Eyre, at the time it was written it was like nothing literature had ever seen before. Even now, nearly two hundred years later, it remains one of the most celebrated works of literature in history. And it was written by a WOMAN. Y’all, that’s pretty amazing.
Women’s History Month
Favorite Book with a Strong Female Lead
Jane Eyre – Katie (that’s me!) @ Never Not Reading
The Poet X – Adrienne @ Darque Dreamer Reads
To Best the Boys – Teri Polen
Dread Nation – Deanna @ Deanna Writes About
A Court of Mist and Fury – Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile
Skyward – Lucinda @ Lucinda is Reading
Harry Potter – Samantha @ Modern Witch’s Bookshelf
A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Sophie @ Beware of the Reader
The Last Letter – Sophie @ Beware of the Reader
Kat and Meg Conquer the World – Dani @ Mousai Books
I Am Malala – Ashely @ Inside My Minds
An Ember in the Ashes – Liz @ Stellar Kitten Book Reivews
Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and is now be hosted by me (!), Katie, and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.
Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!