Writing the Modern Woman

I’ve been exploring the concept of feminism over the past month or so after running into a modern, non-militant feminist who saw me as a fellow modern, non-militant feminist and was surprised to see that I don’t see myself that way. In fact, she was upset that I very clearly practiced the values of modern feminism while simultaneously distancing myself from any form of feminism.

In my studies, I came across such great reads as Girls Read Comics and information on heroines in fantasy novels. My reading interests have mostly been science fiction and fantasy for most of my life. I’ve been compared to Honor Harrington more times than I can count. I can think of some wonderfully strong female characters.

I never really stopped to think about what that meant until I started looking through a deliberately feminist lens.

Now I’m planning for National Novel Writing Month next month, and I was seriously thinking about doing some sort of character study on the modern woman in the hero’s journey. I’ve sketched out a few ideas on this, all of which would fall flat in light of many of the feminist arguments.

The simple fact of the matter is: it’s hard to conceive a strong, spirited woman without dulling some of her compassion. Trying to picture the death section of her journey is challenging. I’ve tried framing it as “well, how do guys do it” and then by framing it within my life, because most people would argue that I’m not motivated by what “typical girls” are. (I often feel like I’m Catherine Watson from Mona Lisa Smile when people say that to me with a sugary or apologetic smile on their face.)

It’s an interesting idea, a deluge of potentially great ideas. But I’m almost thinking I want to spend the next year engaging literature from the feminist frmae of mind and doing some research, and thern attempt this novel idea next year.

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