Should Feminism be Promoted in Novels?


Even though women have more rights than they did a hundred years ago, women are still treated unequally in our society today. I'm a feminist. I believe that everybody is born equal and I fight that women should have the same rights as men. It's 2016 and it has only been eighty-eight years since women could have the right to vote in the UK. As it was recently International Women's Day, I Tweeted out saying:

Feminism is becoming more and more heard of, and I've had some really interesting conversations discussing whether feminism should be promoted in novels or not. The majority of the books that I own include female characters who are written - usually - as the 'damsel in distress' or are portrayed as 'weak'. I have only read a few novels that have broken away from the stereotypical view that the media has created for women. (Don't even get me started on how the media pressurises women to look 'perfect', I can go forever on how women are pressurised.)

Back in the 19th Century, female poets would publish their work as 'anonymous' due to the fact that it was looked down upon for a woman to write. Even authors like Jane Austin had to write under a pseudonym because she (and other female writers) were afraid to be judged for their work because of their gender. And even in the 1800s, female writers were pushing for feminism after Mary Wollstonecraft published one the first feminist treatises. However, I know that even today some female authors are writing under a pseudonym - look at J.K. Rowling: she wrote under the name 'Robert Galbraith' because she didn't want to be judged for being a woman.

Growing up, I always read that the female characters were less of an importance and it was always the men who were the heroes who came to save the day and then ended up marrying the women they saved. Why can't it be the woman saving the man? As many people read novels, nowadays, I feel that authors should be showing what life with and/or without feminism would be like. I feel that authors should help show that feminism isn't a bad thing to support because why shouldn't everybody live in equality? People have this view in their minds that by being a feminist, one is a 'man hater'. Feminists are not 'man haters'. Feminism is not a dirty word, we just believe that women shouldn't be seen as inferior to men.

There are so many great novels out there that promote feminism, and I've only read a few, but I just love how passionate the authors are when it comes to supporting equality. There are authors like Louise O'Neill who has written two novels promoting feminism - her novel Only Ever Yours shows a world where women are genetically engineered to look pretty are are taught how to be a 'woman' until she is chosen by a man with whom she must bear children with, and her second novel Asking For It deals with a young woman who was raped trying to get justice for what happened to her. Both of these novels are inspirational, as well as novels such as Code Name Verity, The Hero and the Crown, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, etc. I cannot stress it enough that we are all equal. So why should feminism be promoted in novels? Feminism needs global voices, and words have the power to change people.

Perhaps in the future, sexism will no longer be a problem but whilst people are discriminated for their gender, we need feminism to help us gain equality for everyone.

To finish, I am going to include one of my favourite quotes about equality: "When I encounter people who try to make me feel lesser than equal, I don't argue. My equality is not up for debate, it is an implicit truth." - Rachel Wolchin.

Do you think feminism should be promoted in novels?

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