18 YA Novels for Smashing the Patriarchy

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY! Whether you identify as a woman or not, this is a day to celebrate and uplift the females in our lives we should all support and admire. And what better way to do that than by sharing some of my favourite YA novels featuring kickass women, by kickass women?

So I’ve compiled a list of 18 of my favourite empowering YA novels written by some of the most awesome female writers in our community. We’re so lucky to have such epic stories featuring strong women of colour, STEM girls, fearless feminist females, and just young women who we all should aspire to be like.

So gather ’round guys, gals, and nonbinary pals, because this post will provide you with all the feminist YA must-reads you should add to your TBR immediately!

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The Most Empowering Book of 2017

MoxieVivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Along with The Hate U Give, Moxie is the most important novel I’ve read all year. It was fierce and honest and left me wanting to riot. It was just phenomenal. I’d been looking forward to reading Moxie for a while, but little did I know that it would be so spectacular. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, you need to read this book. Moxie is one of the novels that I think transcends boundaries in its importance — it’s a book for everyone of all genders, and one that I’ll be recommending for years to come. It’s rare that you come across a book as raw and powerful as this one, but I’ve read two of them this year alone. A revolution is coming, friends, and words have even more power than most could ever believe.

Moxie is the story of Vivian Carter — a girl who’s fed up with the misogyny and sexism that permeates her high school. She’s sick of the sexist dress code checks that blame girls for distracting boys in classrooms by ‘showing too much skin’, the disgusting slogans on men’s shirts that promote women as nothing other than being objects for the male gaze and men’s enjoyment, and the casual dismissal of sexual assault and even rape. Inspired by her mother’s past as a kick-ass feminist in the ‘90s, Vivian decides to make a anonymous zine that brings the women of her high school together and prompts the beginning of a girl revolution. Read More »

Feminism in Fiction

Looking back on many of the fairytales I’ve grown up reading and loving, I’ve realised that the majority of them are incredibly sexist. They seem to indicate that women are not in control of their lives or their fate and are in constant need of saving. With awareness for feminism being the most it has ever been, it’s a wonder anyone thinks that reading these archaic, misogynistic stories to children is acceptable. Not only does it teach our girls that they have to rely on a prince to save them and that they have no say in the matter, but it teaches everyone else that women are helpless victims who will never feel fulfilled in life without a husband.

Let me stop you right there, sexist society. We don’t need saving. We’re perfectly fine on our own, thank you very much. The last thing we want is you Facebook stalking us to come to our houses and shove a mangy old slipper on our foot that will effectively manacle us to you for all of eternity. We’re done having you save us — we’re not damsels in distress or plot devices that enable you to show off your masculinity… and your massive ego. Oh, and for the record, not all of us want to marry you — a cisgender straight male. There there, go cry yourself to sleep.

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