Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2017 – The End (For Now)

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?”

Well, another year of Her Story: Ladies In Literature has come to an end, and it’s incredibly bittersweet, as always. In four years of blogging, Her Story is my most sincere and proudest accomplishment, and while I’m always sorry to have it conclude for another year, I’m also overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to share it at all. My hope has always been that Her Story would act as a safe space for women of all racial, cultural, sexual, social and neurological backgrounds to speak their truth and tell their stories without fear of judgement or reprisal. Women spend their entire lives being conditioned to accomodate and prioritize the needs of others, to live in fear of being “too much”. Too loud. Too quiet. Too passive. Too aggressive. Too fat. Too thin. Too promiscuous. Too chaste. Please know that here, you are enough. I have read and treasured every comment and every tweet shared throughout this year’s series, and I’m eternally grateful to have had an opportunity to collaborate with women who inspire, educate, and empower me every single day.

To Robin, Lauren, Hayley, Laura, Rebecca, Rebecca, Laura, Brandy, Gwen, Candice, Dee, Janet, Danika, Lilliam, Tiffany, Jenn, Katie, Tracey, Shannon, Summer, Catherine, Liara, Nic, Whitney, Aditi, Lily, Rachel, Ashley, Emery and Sona: Thank you. I am inspired by your creativity, thankful for your voices, and humbled by your participation and support. Absolutely none of this would have been possible without you and I will never be able to express the depth of my gratitude for all you’ve done. I strongly encourage readers to pick up the work of these thirty brilliant women. After all, you never know where you just might find your heroine.

Missed an opportunity to read any (or all) of the Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2017 essays this year? No problem! Below, please find a list of all thirty posts to explore at your leisure. Simply click an author’s name to be taken to their particular post. Happy reading!

Robin BenwayLauren KarczHayley ChewinsLaura Weymouth

“We were children wrestling with becoming adults in an imperfect world, being raised by imperfect parents, going out into a world that would pay us less, respect us less, while still letting us know that we were too much of something else.”
– Robin Benway

“I realized that not everyone can be as bravely afraid as I was, and still am. I can throw myself into new places, my own various Tarrytowns, and come out the other side, stronger and more vulnerable, all at once.”
– Lauren Karcz

“I remembered the darkness I almost drowned in and the girl who saved me from it. I’m glad Nao got her happy ending. I like to think somewhere, somehow, she’s glad I got mine.”
– Hayley Chewins

“Vicky learns that, yes, our lives may be uncertain, and marked by shifts of light and shadow, but that in the end, it’s ours to choose which we turn towards. I learned right along with her.”
– Laura Weymouth

Rebecca PodosRebecca BarrowLaura SilvermanBrandy Colbert

“Teen girls deserve respect. (…) They stand on battlefields, trying to figure out what it means to be a hero in their own stories.”
– Rebecca Podos

“I like to imagine her now, a woman in her thirties, who was brave enough to ask for help when she was young and now lives and breathes and survives. Who says everything she needs to, out loud. And I like to think maybe I can be that person, too.”
– Rebecca Barrow

“It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be sad. You can mourn a loss and be grateful for all the good things in your life at the same time.”
– Laura Silverman

“When I began writing professionally, I didn’t set out to cover any certain theme or topic, but I always knew I wanted to focus on the stories of black girls. For the girl I was, and the girls I had always needed to read about.”
– Brandy Colbert

Gwen C. KatzCandice AmandaDee RomitoJanet McNally

“How curious that the biggest city in hypermasculine Greece had a woman as its patron goddess, and that they attributed all the highest ideals of Greek masculinity — wisdom, composure, prowess in battle — to her. Maybe they remembered something. Maybe, on some level, they knew that men weren’t the real builders of civilization.”
– Gwen C. Katz

“Theo is not a perfect person, but I think it’s because she was given the space to be flawed that I fell in love with her and, consequently, myself. She showed me that my flaws didn’t have to be put on display, nor did my ‘perfection.'”
– Cam Montgomery

“I’ve since donated most of my stuffed animals, and I know every one of them is somewhere in a little kid’s hands. Hands that will love my treasured friends, and know their names, and know that they are wonderful just the way they are.”
– Dee Romito

“If there’s a mystery to be solved, Trixie will solve it in the end. She won’t give up. That’s what I like best about the heroines of all those mystery novels I read as a girl. They stick with it — whatever it is — until they figure it out. That’s all I can hope to do, lately or ever.”
– Janet McNally

Danika StoneLilliam RiveraTiffany D. JacksonJenn Bishop

“In some ways, we are all time travellers, living either in the past that we can no longer change, or the future, which we cannot control. My goal then, was to be Clare: to exist only in the here and now.”
– Danika Stone

“How do we react in the face of a cruel administration that craves absolute power? I look at the Mirabal sisters, as depicted by Julia Alvarez, as an empowering reminder that you don’t have to have millions of dollars to be able to make a difference. Your voice can be enough to topple weak men.”
– Lilliam Rivera

“To me, Carrie will always serve as one of the best metaphors for embracing your power. Cheers to breaking glass ceilings, blowing people’s minds and burning all previous misconceptions down to the ground. Success is and will continue to be the best revenge.”
– Tiffany D. Jackson

“By all accounts, we had hardly anything in common on the outside. But the inside was a different story. And inside was what mattered when you were twelve. Suddenly, your body felt like a ticking time bomb, a mystery even to you.”
– Jenn Bishop

Katie BayerlTracey NeithercottShannon M. ParkerSummer Heacock

“Minerva was everything I knew myself to be: strong of mind and bold of heart. Maybe because she stuck to what she knew to be right under the most dangerous circumstances. Maybe because I saw that she felt scared sometimes too.”
– Katie Bayerl

“At the time, I’d read countless books with strong female characters, those steel-toed girls who save the world and make boys bleed. This was the first time since my diagnosis that I saw such overwhelming strength in something other than physical power.”
– Tracey Neithercott

“The strength of the women in The Memory Trees is as enduring as trees. It is rooted and selfless, strong and unwavering despite storms. Solid. Dependable. Just like books. And womanhood.”
– Shannon M. Parker

“Bridget is my Patronus. Imperfect and pure and determined to always do better. I owe so very many things to Bridget Jones. Cheers to all the alcohol units we’ve shared, and all the fuckwits we’ve endured.”
– Summer Heacock

Catherine LoLiara TamaniNic StoneWhitney Gardner

“Hermione Granger taught me about courage. She taught me about loyalty and grit and determination. And as I read, I wished I could go back in time and share her with 10-year old me.”
– Catherine Lo

“Esperanza’s background and struggles are very different from my own and perhaps very different from yours too. But her power to define herself in her own way and her ability to value her community and culture, while still breaking free from their limitations, can serve as inspiration for the self-creating dreamer in us all.”
– Liara Tamani

“Like Natasha, I eventually learned to accept that science is great, but there are things it doesn’t (yet?) have a concrete explanation for. Like People. Emotions. Personalities. And that’s okay.”
– Nic Stone

“I wish Luna came into my life a lot sooner than she did. Because even though Luna was strange like me, bullied like me, had seen some darkness like I had, she never seemed to let it stop her. She didn’t wallow. She fully embraced herself.”
– Whitney Gardner

Aditi KhoranaLily AndersonRachel Lynn SolomonAshley Herring Blake

“I want her to persevere, just as I want all women to persevere, to succeed, to taste the happiness and success that could easily be theirs, if perhaps they find a way to just keep going.”
– Aditi Khorana

“She grows from a snarling child to a thorny teen. She lets herself make new friends, fall in love, be vulnerable. She finds her softness and, despite her younger self’s admonishments, she learns to cry. She lets people call her by her birth name. They call her Lily.”
– Lily Anderson

“God forbid we learn about all the great things our bodies can do! We need a massive shift in sex education in this country, and characters like Sam make me hopeful, continue to inspire me.”
– Rachel Lynn Solomon

“Silence is easier, but not always better. For Marin, she could either let her hungry heart swallow her whole or let it break. Sometimes, the breaking is what saves us.”
– Ashley Herring Blake

Emery LordSona Charaipotra

“I am still a little lonely, but not for companionship. But now I believe this core, wispy loneliness is supposed to be there, a gap that character voices were always meant to fill. Maybe that persistent twinge keeps me seeking new characters, keeps me writing them.”
– Emery Lord

“When you don’t see yourself represented, it’s hard to imagine that you ever even could be, that you ever even would have the right to be. You’re so completely erased, you question your very right to exist.”
– Sona Charaipotra

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