A girl should grow up with some fictional female crushes
As far as I remember it, I started reading non-school-required fiction books much earlier than my schoolmates did. After all, I had a sister eight years my senior whose bookshelf I made my personal library. It was her material that I grew up reading and it was her worlds that welcomed me and eventually made my own.
So, here they are: a list of the female characters who taught me plenty and kicked ass while doing it.
Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’s Diary
At this stage in my life, with batch mates getting engaged, married or pregnant left and right, there might be no one else I look up to more than Ms. Bridget Jones. Unafraid to love (almost to the point of What The Fuckedness) and awkward, she showed me how timing is everything—and just because things don’t work out the way you wanted them to, doesn’t mean you should hate the world (there’s always something good).
Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
This might be a slight copout, but nothing has become quite as iconic as Elle Wood’s reply to one Warner Huntington III, the boy who thought she couldn’t do anything but look pretty:
Jasnah Kholin, Stormlight Archive
Being intelligent doesn’t mean being “behind the scenes” as so many people think or have stereotyped over the years. To nip this in the bud, there’s been Jasnah Kholin, telling me that ruthlessness and getting my hands dirty is all part of the journey.
Keeping this one simple: Matilda taught me the power of books and imagination.
Life is hard—and it’s especially hard when people are literally after you and your family. But as Maya proved to me on the big screen, anything is possible (and, maybe more importantly, mistakes can be corrected sometimes).
Phoebe Caulfield, The Catcher In The Rye
Yes, it was Holden that narrated the beloved The Catcher In The Rye and yes, little sister Phoebe had barely any airtime but she’s a character I still had to include here. After all, it was through her example that I learned just how important it is to be there for the people you love—and just how much it can impact them when you are.
Samantha, Roberta, Teeny and Chrissy, Now And Then
Almost every movie has an underlying story about friendship and some of them even focus on friendship exclusively—but no film comes close to encapsulating my ideal girl barkada quite like Now And Then. Samantha, Roberta, Teeny and Chrissy each gave 10-year-old me something valuable: things will happen no matter how you try to keep everything in place, never tease a tomboy, embrace your sexuality and don’t lose your innocence.
Starr Carter, The Hate U Give
I’ve lived enough years to know that you can’t help what life throws at you. Sometimes, it will give you opportunities you never even dared to dream of and sometimes it will hit you with a nightmare you never thought was possible. But in The Hate U Give, Starr Carter showed me how not to let life get the better of you; we don’t have to be hardened.
The Rose, The Little Prince
Let’s be honest here, we all thought The Rose was a little vain and naïve when we picked up The Little Prince. But you know what? The Little Prince still loved her and she bloomed because that’s what love is: time and effort.
Violet Baudelaire, A Series Of Unfortunate Events
There have been more than enough attempts to conceptualize Violet Baudelaire on screen, but none of them hold a candle to the one I had in my head. Strong, intelligent, crafty and fearless, she was a leader personified. Did she have her faults? Of course she did, but she was on point whenever the need arose (and we know that was often the case for the Baudelaire children).
My sister’s bookshelf opened my eyes to the world of fiction. It gave me laughter and comfort, introduced me to love and heartache and sat me down with the realities that my head made up. Good or bad, I will forever be grateful for what it’s given to me.
Art Alexandra Lara