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I work with teens and I frequently see YA novels described as "feminist". Sometimes all this seems to be is that the protagonist is a queer girl, usually badass in some way. Sometimes it's on a feminist subject - often rape.

I don't know. I'd like something more than this. I'd love to see YA novels where teen girls really question the fundamentals of patriarchy, and get political, even philosophical about it. Like there are books about fighting dress codes but the girls never really confront social norms with regards to female dress. They're just like "yay! we can wear camis".

What do you all think makes a novel feminist? What are some good feminist novels for teens?

I work with teens and I frequently see YA novels described as "feminist". Sometimes all this seems to be is that the protagonist is a queer girl, usually badass in some way. Sometimes it's on a feminist subject - often rape. I don't know. I'd like something more than this. I'd love to see YA novels where teen girls really question the fundamentals of patriarchy, and get political, even philosophical about it. Like there are books about fighting dress codes but the girls never really confront social norms with regards to female dress. They're just like "yay! we can wear camis". What do you all think makes a novel feminist? What are some good feminist novels for teens?

19 comments

Younger side here too, but Tamora Pierce ... her first series is about a young girl Alanna who wishes to become a knight ... now, she does have to pretend to be a boy for the first 2 books (there are 4) however, its not really about that, because as the reader, you are very much aware of her being a girl due to inner dialogue, etc, ... there is even an entire chapter in the first book called Womanhood where she gets her period, and while she is pretending to be a boy to the people around her, she is on an emotional journey as she accepts what Womanhood means to her, and who she is, especially as she sort of "comes out" as being a woman and learning how to be who she wants to be in a male dominated world ... The other stories from the Tortall Universe are female protagonists who s are able to live freely, strongly, and independently as a result of the female protagonists in the Alanna series, in some ways. Anyways, I think they are pretty amazing and, honestly, a detailed chapter about menstruation ais pretty uncommon, at least it was nearly 20 years ago when I was reading a lot of YA.

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