14 thoughts on “Childhood Feminist Heroes”

  1. My childhood feminist hero was my dad, who raised my two sisters and I with a feminism I have rarely encountered elsewhere, as well as the adamant knowledge that the trade-off for his insistent tutelage was that he would NOT be paying for our weddings.

  2. Elizabeth I for me; there is this amazing series, the Royal Diaries, which are fictionalized diaries of prominent women throughout history. Elizabeth was, I think, the second one I read and I loved her. Lifelong obsession began to be as awesome as her.

    This series is seriously the bomb, though. Another great one was the story of a girl of a tribe who is fighting against the Chinese Empire; it was Lady Chi’a Kuo. There were ones on Cleopatra, Isabella of SPain, Kristina of Sweden and another on an African Queen. I still have them and plan to pass them on to my kids. More info here:


  3. wow, now I need to read that book. Do you think if I got a good Dutch dictionary…?:) There are children’s publishers who make a point of sourcing children’s books in other languages and publishing them in English.

    My favourites: Eleanor of Aquitaine kicked serious ass in France and England (and brilliantly played by Kathryn Hepburn in The Lion in Winter); Queen Maedhbh of Connacht; and Gráinne Mhaol, the pirate queen.

  4. My Dutch is terrible but now I want to read about Trijn van Leemput. She seems to kick ass, and also having lived in Utrecht I’m sure I’d love the history too. I could be mistaken but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that Trijn statue on the Oudegracht, but never knew who she was.

    1. It’s sort of across from het Nijntje-pleintje (the square with the statue of Miffy), so if you’ve been at that side of the Oudegracht (and if you lived in Utrecht, you probably have)then you’ve seen it.
      I think ordering a copy of De Val van de Vredeborch and working your way through it would be a great way of brushing up on your Dutch!

  5. well, mine is exotic too… as an Israeli girl I had to read in the fourth grade the story called “Sarah, hero of NILI”. it tells the story of Sarah Ahronson who (I’ll give you the short version) was a spy for the British against the Ottoman before and in WWI in Palestine(her family created an intelligence network which she became an important part of). She was a young women, strong and independent, had an a fair with a man without wedlock. In the end the Ottomans capture her and she killed herself so she want reveal secrets. Heroic indeed.
    I was so impressed by her. later in life I learned that she was probably a horrible manipulative woman, and might have been involved in a “mystery death” of some woman. so she’s my hero no more.
    But she made me as a child wanted to be strong and independent, and that what I grew up to be.

    1. And really, isn’t that positive influence all that matters in the end?
      If Trijn van Leemput turned out to have been a typical hausfrau who never did anything historically notable, that wouldn’t have changed how much I loved the story or the influence it had on me.

  6. Mmm…Princess Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, definitely. She’s the first heroine I can remember thinking that I wanted to be like her not for her cool clothes or her prettiness or whatever, but for her BAMF-itude. There are many more, but Princess Cimorene was the first.

  7. I was a huge fan of Amelia Erheart, Marie Curie, and Joan of Arc (good Catholic school girl that I was) when I was a kid. For “scientists day” in my GT program in the fifth or sixth grade, I dressed up as Marie Curie and did this whole presentation about her. It was awesome.

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