Feminism Does anyone know any good feminist fiction?

pandawinx posted on Apr 04, 2012 at 11:25AM
And by fiction i mean novels, tv shows, movies etc featuring strong, independent woman.

I thought it'd be cool if we could pull together a list of pro-feminist in the media, and maybe discover some great new shows and books.

So, if there ARE any pro-feminist fiction out there, share em' hear! Dont forget to include why and in what way you think it qualifies as feminist fiction.

Feminism 5 replies

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over a year ago Dragonclaws said…


*Author Tamora Pierce. - She is an author of young adult fiction, many about young women trying to be strong in fictional patriarchal cultures. I like the Protector of the Small quartet especially.
*Author Laurence Yep. - He is an author of young adult fiction about Chinese and Chinese-Americans. Many of these books feature strong female characters fighting against adversity. One in particular is The Serpent's Children about a young Chinese woman trying to be independent in a village that hates her for supposedly descending from a serpent.
*Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. This is a feminist parody of the usual damsel-in-distress narrative as well as fairy tales in general. Princess Cimorene is tired of being a proper woman, so she runs away to volunteer to be the servant of a dragon (instead of a prisoner like it usually goes) and has some exciting adventures.
*The Neanderthal Parallax (trilogy of Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids) by Robert J. Sawyer. - A rape survivor geneticist falls in love with a Neanderthal quantum physicist from another universe. The author clearly put in his research on rape trauma and the right things to say. Domestic violence situations are also explored. A good science fiction adventure based on human interaction and examining societal structure.
*The "Mode" series (Virtual Mode, Fractal Mode, Chaos Mode, and DoOon Mode) by Piers Anthony. - A teenage rape survivor meets her one true love--a wizard from another universe--but to run away with him to his universe, they have to cross a long series of varied universes. Along the way, they gather companions, including a woman with memories of the future but not the past, a telepathic horse from a world where horses rule humans, a girl from a world that is cyclically either oppressively patriarchal or matriarchal, and a weird creature from a world in which ancient life never died out. She faces her demons in the struggle to survive against various dangers.
*The Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins. - Set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, a girl named Katniss tries to protect her family from an oppressive government by participating in a Battle Royale type of event where she must fight to the death. For political reasons, she gets romantically involved with fellow fighter Peeta, and they function as a good team without either succumbing to gendered stereotypes. The Hunger Games movie, currently out in theatres, is great too.
*Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. - A girl watches her midwife mother's life be torn apart by an investigation looking into possible negligence that allowed a client to die. This is all about women and their relationships, and how other people look down on them for being open about female sexuality.
*Dragonfly by Frederic C. Durbin. - This is perhaps the best fantasy-horror book I have ever read, about a girl named Dragonfly traveling into a secret underworld to help rescue her uncle from boogeymen figures. Though put in distress often, she plays a major role in the rescue.
*Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. - This is a graphic novel autobiography about her growing up in Iran and France. She becomes a feminist in Iran. There's also a movie, but I haven't watched that.
*Aliens vs. Predator: Prey by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry. - This is a weird choice, I know, but I think it is feminist. The protagonist Machiko Noguchi fights against rapists and joins a Predator against the ultimate symbol of rapists (the Alien monsters).
*The Young Wizards series (starting with So You Want to Be a Wizard) by Diane Duane. - This is a series about kids becoming wizards and essentially becoming soldiers in a war against Satan, who keeps trying to hasten the demise of the universe. The main protagonist is a girl named Nita. My favorite is the second book, Deep Wizardry, where Nita faces becoming a Christ figure to save the continent from destruction.


*Battlestar Galactica (the remake) - It's a show about the last dredges of human civilization trying to pull together while being hunted by the humanoid Cylon robots. The president title is given to a female kindergarten teacher because she's the only one left in the government, and a lot of people think she's not fit for the job, but she sticks to her guns and becomes a great leader because she has to. Female fighter pilot Starbuck is also a strong character who pals around with the boys while still retaining femininity. There are Cylon women who are also strong and capable, but I don't want to spoil anything.
*Bones - The genius woman Dr. Brennan, whose skills are more analytical than practical, teams up with the average-intelligence but practical man Agent Booth to solve murders. Dr. Brennan bravely puts herself out there to make the world a better place, knowing martial arts to protect herself, and despite seeming cold (being based on an autistic woman) is full of compassion. (Just don't watch it while eating, because the show creators try to gross you out.)
*Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Written by (radical?) feminist Joss Whedon to subvert stereotypes in horror fiction where the blonde cheerleader is just a screaming victim; in Buffy, she's the hero. The first few seasons featured several morality tale episodes about feminist issues, and the later seasons functioned as serious character dramas with strong female characters.
**Angel - A spin-off of Buffy starring her ex-boyfriend Angel, this continues the theme with strong female characters Cordelia and Fred (Winnifred) in the cast of heroes, as well as long-running villain Lilah.
*Dollhouse - Another Joss Whedon show, about prostitution via mind control technology. The enslaved Caroline tries to rebel and save the other victims. The show is a socialist narrative that uses the setting to symbolically tell a story about how people are objectified by capitalism. Fox tried to sex it up, though, so your mileage may vary on how feminist the final product is.
*Firefly - Another Joss Whedon show, about ex-Confederate cowboy thieves in space. It's better than it sounds. One of the veterans is a badass woman named Zoe, who has a soft side like a real person would rather than being a "strong woman" caricature. Her romance with her husband Wash seems realistic. There are also the characters River, a victimized girl with hidden power, Inara, an extremely dignified professional courtesan, and Kaylee, the mechanic. Kaylee is a positive mix of both traditional femininity and tomboyishness.
*Mad Men - A series about how the '60s were FUBAR'd and should not be viewed with nostalgia. Characters Peggy and Betty regularly deal with societal misogyny.
*Once Upon a Time - This Disney show is a spin on all their fairy tale movies, many of which are given feminist revisions. For instance, Snow White is now a Robin Hood kind of figure, who Prince Charming fell for because she was a strong, capable woman. Snow White's daughter is the heroine of the story, fighting against the evil queen from Snow White to save the people of the fairy tales, who have been magicked to our reality and think they're normal people.
*Veronica Mars - A modern noir show about a smart daughter of a discredited town sheriff, who uses the skills learned from her father's current job as a private investigator to solve mysteries presented to her by her classmates, as well as try to solve multiple town conspiracies. The first two seasons are very feminist. Avoid the third season like the plague, though.


*Aliens (extended edition) - Ripley isn't just a badass; she's a good mother figure contrasted against an evil mother (the Queen alien). She wakes from cryogenic hibernation to find that her daughter died of old age, and she becomes a mother figure to an awesome little girl named Newt. Newt is the sole survivor of the colonists after they were attacked by aliens, and she survived by being smart. In the climax, Ripley fights the Queen to save Newt.
*Just about every (anime) movie made by Studio Ghibli, but especially Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, and Howl's Moving Castle. The main animator, Hayao Miyazaki, is both an animating/storytelling god and a feminist who loves strong women. What better combination is there?
*Let Me In - The American version of Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, this goes in a more feminist direction than its predecessor. The androgynous boy Owen is harassed by bullies for looking like a girl, which is associated with weakness, and he then falls for a strong vampire girl. Let the Right One In is also good for its depiction of femininity, but the vampire is a feminine boy (played by a female actress) and the human boy (there called Oskar) isn't harassed in a gendered way.
*Pleasantville - It seems like a stupid plot--two modern teenagers are transported to the world of a Father Knows Best type of sitcom by a mad scientist--but it's actually a deep story about spiritual growth, social change, and how nostalgia covers up the ugly truth. The boy romanticizes this fantasy of the '50s and wants to keep it a paradise, but his sister thinks everyone must be repressed and tries to awaken their sexuality, leading to the rise of feminism and other social revolutions in this pocket universe. I think it's interesting for having a sympathetic portrayal of what are essentially MRAs while still being feminist.
*Temple Grandin - A biographical film about an autistic woman who used her ability to understand cattle psychology to create humane and effective slaughterhouse designs that are still in use today. She had to fight to be taken seriously as a woman with a disability in a heavily male-dominated business, including dressing up as a man so that the guy at the gate would even let her in to speak with the men in charge.
over a year ago Dragonclaws said…
Also, anime TV shows:

*Azumanga Daioh - A slightly-surreal show about high school girls and a few of their teachers. There’s Chiyo, the cute young prodigy; Tomo, the energetic tomboy; Osaka, the weird but smart girl; Sakaki, the cool and tough girl who really just wants to surround herself with cute things; Kaorin, a girl with a strong crush on Sakaki; and Yomi, the straight man. There are also two teachers: the hot-headed Yukari, in a constant competition with the considerably wiser Kurosawa. As for the plot... I could compare it to Seinfeld; not much happens, but it's interesting to watch even if it's just some people doing everyday things like trying to cure the hiccups. This is a show about female characters and their friendships. There are some jokes about a creepy male teacher (being too interested in his female students) that might make feminists uncomfortable, though.
*Haibane Renmei ("Charcoal Feather Federation") - This is a spiritual anime blending Buddhist and Christian themes as it tells the story of two young women reincarnated into a purgatory world as the angel-like Haibane (essentially "grey-feathered"). It's about young women--teens treated as independent adults--taking care of themselves and each other while being faced with depression and philosophical issues about life and death.
*Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ("When They Cry") - This is a graphic horror story about people killing and torturing each other. I want to make that clear upfront. If you're triggered by depictions of stalking, killing, torture, or child abuse, stay far away from this anime! If you're cool with the horror genre, though, this anime has some appeal from a feminist perspective. There are plenty of female characters who show their strength in more ways than through swinging billhooks around. This anime is a murder mystery about city-boy Keiichi arriving in the small town of Hinamizawa in time for the annual murder/abduction, and he starts suspecting his new friends of involvement. It's kind of like The Wicker Man meets Lost.
*Kino's Journey - A contemplative anime about a young woman named Kino traveling around a fantasy world with her talking motorcycle companion Hermes, visiting a series of city-states that each represent some philosophic concept or issue. Kino stays three days in each city-state to try to understand it and always leaves because she doesn't want to give up the freedom of being a traveler.
over a year ago Dragonclaws said…
I'd also like to recommend the audio drama part of i love bees, which was an alternate reality game used to promote the release of Halo 2, but I think the audio drama can stand on its own. It's about people in the future (2552) facing a government conspiracy associated with an alien device that might do something bad, while dealing with their own lives with the threat of alien invasion hanging over them. It's a fairly large cast with some strong female characters such as Jan, the superhuman daughter of two special forces soldiers; Rani, the Sherlock Holmes type of genius; and Durga, an aggressive ex-military rogue A.I. of mysterious origin.

The audio drama chapters in their original order can be found link, and the fan-reordering can be found link. I prefer basically the original order, but with Jersey's chapters played first instead of Jan's.
over a year ago ivoryphills said…
Well, a lot of my ideas are pretty much in DC's list, LOL. So, with that being said, can I reccomend this creative nonfiction (or whatever the heck the genre is) : "Why Women Should Rule The World" by Dee Dee Myers. It's pretty much about Mrs. Myers experiences as a woman in the man-dominant government, and about how she was underestimated and pretty much discredited for all her hard work because she was a woman. I believe she also goes into how all women are still seen as less capable, even with our history of proving we are more than capable. I can't really explain it, so you might want to read it for yourself.
over a year ago SelinaKyle said…
There's a great science fiction/dystopian series by Suzy McKee Charnas called The Holdfast Chronicles. There are four books in the series: Walk to the End of the World, Motherlines, The Furies and The Conquerer's Child. It's set in the future after an environmental apocalypse. All women are 'Fems' and kept in breeding camps and are complete slaves to men. The heroine, Alldera The Runner, hears rumors of the Free Women living on the borders of the Holdfast, and tries to escape to find them.

It's an excellent, action-packed, thought-provoking feminist novel that deals with power, slavery, women's rebellion and freedom, and how to solve the divide between men and women. One of my all-time favorites, I highly recommend it.