Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Dear Fictional Heroines ~ An Open Letter

This week people around the world came together in various ways to celebrate International Women's Day

To me IWD is a day to call attention to and support women; their abilities, their hopes, their dreams...and most importantly the concept of women supporting other women.

Today I want to focus on fictional women.


It's not something we give a lot of thought to in our daily lives, but fictional women have always been a source of support for women across the world. 

Authors have created figures that act as a source of inspiration for their female readers - regardless of race, ability, and circumstances, these heroines not only show what women can achieve in their lives but how strong they truly are.

So I decided to write an open letter to the heroines who have affected me and have taught me wise lessons that I will carry with me always. Of course, although this letter is to the characters, I hold the authors who created these characters in even higher regard. I want to express my thanks to them for gracing us readers with these fictional role models.


Where do I start besides obviously fangirling over your outfits and your weaponry collections? Well I've heard it's a good idea to start from the beginning, so let's try that.

Growing up the term 'ideal woman' came with a long list of do's and don'ts. Do make yourself appealing. Don't talk too much. Do what you can to appease males at all times. Don't have goals and ambitions because all you can do in life is be a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.

That's not to say that I wasn't surrounded by strong, amazing women who supported me because I was, and I am to this day. But coming from a traditional family meant there was always pre-conceived notions about how a woman should be a woman. And when I would fail to meet those expectations it felt like the entire world was frowning at me, shaking their heads and judging me for being less than I could be.

Books were my haven. Especially books featuring you guys - you heroines who slowly but surely began to change the way I viewed my life and lived it.

The first book that comes to mind is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Meliara...oh gosh, Meliara was everything. She was feisty, ever so feisty, and she took the kingdom by storm. Nothing she did was expected. Nothing she did was for anyone else. She forged her own path, flaws and all.

One of the parts of this book that stayed with me was when Meliara is talking with a dear friend. Her friend, a lady, bemoans the war that occurred and Meliara's part in it. She wonders whether they've lost themselves and become different people, to which Meliara replies:
“One doesn't lose a self, like a pair of gloves or a pine. We learn and change, or we harden into stone.”
Dear Meliara...reading about your struggles - your sacrifices for your family and your people - was life changing. You gave me the strength to fight for the right to make my own choices and stand by them, wrong or right.

I mean to some people it may sound awfully silly to say that one fictional character can change your life, but it's true nevertheless. Because to my teenage brain, if Meliara could take down an evil tyrant, help her people, and remain true to herself, then I could speak up and stand up for myself. 

I didn't have to follow a criteria to be an 'ideal woman' - I could make the criteria. I could just be a woman - ordinary but extraordinary in my ordinariness because that isn't a mind twister! I began to throw away the whole 'ideal' nonsense and focus on being content with the person I was. And for that, Meliara, I thank you most kindly.

There have also been times in my life where I have had trouble dealing with certain emotions, especially the overwhelming emotion of grief.

But with every book I cracked open, I came face-to-face with heroines who took their grief and turned it into something raw, something beautiful, something powerful. My lovely heroines, you never ever lay down or accepted defeat. Life didn't rule you - you ruled your lives and were masters of your own destinies.

Celaena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas has to be one of my favourite heroines of all time. Mainly because Celaena is Celaena full-stop. No question. No regrets. No re-dos, no second guessing, no makeovers. No magical remedies and fixes that cause rainbows to form and birds to sing!

Not everything about her was sunshine, rainbows and kittens. Not at all! The horrors she sees, the amount of times her heart breaks and heals and breaks again...you'd expect her to be heartless. To lay down. 

Dear Celaena...you taught me to always have an open heart. That if an assassin with scars on her back can dance, love pretty dresses, stare at the stars, befriend a princess, and fall in love again, than I can let people in despite the grief, despite the pain.

I recall when someone said of Celaena:
“You cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love.” 
How that stuck with me! What words to live by, for us and for those around us. Just as others should fully embrace us, so should we accept others as they are. Everyone is flawed, but it is our flaws that make us human and therefore so, so beautiful.

Dear Celaena, Meliara, and all the other wonderful heroines I've met - thank you for never being a list of do's and don'ts, but for being an infinite amount of try's, dream's, and love's

You guys taught me that being a woman isn't complicated at all. It isn't a deep, philosophical discussion. It isn't an array of crazy metaphors, crafty quotes, and self-help books. And it certainly isn't a set of antiquated notions made by other people who have nothing better to do than judge and be judged.

Dear heroines, you taught me that being a woman is as simple as waking up in the morning and starting your day. Your day. A day full of a million opportunities, a billion chances and dreams to seize and to make your own. 

And if I fall down, that's alright too. It's just a minor line, a sad paragraph in the giant book that is my life. But it's a part of my book, my life...it's a part of me. Big mistakes, small mistakes, happy days, sad days, good choices, bad choices, they're all mine. They've made me the woman I am.

Maybe I don't have your weapons, dear heroines. Or your gorgeous princes, knights, smouldering bad boys, lost lords, and dreamy dukes magical powers and effortless happy endings. But what I do have are your words of wisdom and your strength. 

You're reminders of what women are and can be - flawed, powerful, and beautiful.

Warmest wishes,
From Booknut 101

Which fictional heroines impacted your life and how? Do you have any fave fictional words of wisdom?

Let me know in the comments below


  1. This is perfect. Celeana affected me the same way she did you. I loved how she could still be herself after everything that happened to her and she still stood up every day and told herself that she could do it still have a heart. What I love about a lot of YA heroines these days are how they are strong on their own. Throne of Glass is a series I read whenever I need a pick-me-up or some inspiration!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. The ToG series is definitely the kind of series that leaves you feeling empowered with every read and re-read! I find it amazing how one character, like Celaena, can be such a wonderful role model in the areas that count - especially when it comes to dealing with pain, moving forward in life, and healing :)


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