I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and the more I go over my first book (and the plans for my upcoming books) I’m quite proud of my female characters.
When I was writing The Iron-Jawed Boy, I was well-aware of the fact that because my book was centered around a 10 year old boy that the book would then be considered a “Boy Book”, but I reject that notion quite vehemently (spelling?). I chose to surround Ion with lots of strong female characters–be it older or younger–because I think it’s important that the book not just be a “boy with another male friend goes on all the adventures and what not” story. Girls are just as brave, just as strong, just as intelligent (most would argue more intelligent) and I wanted young readers who dove into the book to pick up on those themes.
Moreover, the female characters I do provide I make a point of not allowing to lean on the crutches of boys. It’s such an annoying thing (whether in reality or in a book or in a movie), watching some girl constantly rely on the boy for ideas or strength or something ridiculous like that. Not that it’s out of the question, but I thought it vital to attempt a protest of the Disney Princess Syndrome, commonly referred to as Ugh, Why She So Annoying? Disease. Yes, you have to include the question mark.
I guess my concern over boys learning early that girls are awesome comes from my upbringing. I was raised with two pretty cool older sisters, whom I looked up to for almost everything. To me, there was no one stronger than those two, and I still feel that way. Though don’t tell them that. Here’s one graduating. Also in the picture, you will notice the beautiful gelled “bowl cut” I was given. You might also notice, I rocked the shit out of that haircut.
In conclusion, if one day my series was picked up by a large audience, I only hope I could empower a generation of girls, just as I plan on empowering a generation of boys. No, I did not plan on that sentence sounding as epic as it did 😉