Mary E. Pearson on the Importance of Writing Strong Women

While we all love a strong hero, we love a strong heroine even more. Sadly, strong heroines aren't always as easy to find despite being incredibly important. Today, in celebration of her newest novel, The Kiss of Deception, YA author Mary E. Pearson shares her thoughts on the importance of writing strong women. Take a look:

Women are strong.

Damn strong. And clever. And brave. And resourceful. Their strengths are vast and varied and they use them every day to survive and make our world better — and their strength can be different from men’s in a myriad of ways. We aren’t just rewriting a male hero in a dress. It’s important to celebrate a woman’s strengths without a man’s strengths even coming into the equation. I think very often we speak about women in a terminology that has grown from a male centric viewpoint. The weaker sex? Not by a long shot.  

Sometimes I think this is a no-brainer. We all know this by now, right? Maybe not. I think we’re still working out the finer points of honoring the female experience, voice and perspective in our literature and in the world at large.

Strong women are our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and leaders, fierce in their own real world stories. Both our daughters and sons need to see these strong women in our literature, hear their voices and follow along through their struggles and triumphs.

A heroine isn’t strong because she is fearless. It is because she acts in spite of her fears. A heroine isn’t strong because she never makes mistakes. She’s strong because she keeps going even when she makes them. She learns and grows and fine tunes the steel within her. A heroine isn’t strong because she has special powers. She is strong because she uses whatever unique powers that she does possess.

A strong heroine is determined.

When I wrote The Kiss of Deception, I didn’t want Lia to be a pseudo-man. She’s a girl, strong in her own ways. She also knows what she wants. She’s feminine and likes men, and wants one in her life, but she is self-directed. She doesn’t need or want a man to tell her what to do. Yes, there are times she needs saving, but so do the men. It’s a partnership. It’s always been a partnership. And when it’s not, it should be.

I think one of the most important things about a strong heroine is that she is real. She has flaws and weaknesses in addition to her strengths. If she is perfect and super-human, how can anyone relate to her? A strong woman is us. All women have incredible strengths within them, mixed in among the flaws and fears. All strong women have doubt, but when push comes to shove they can wield a mighty big stick. I’ve known many. So have you.

When we hear and read stories about strong women, we see what we could be, what we are. We see that the strengths in ourselves that we don’t always recognize are indeed heroic, and that the women around us change lives and history every day.

That’s why it’s important to write strong heroines.

- Mary E. Pearson

Who are your favorite heroines and what qualities make them stand out? Let us know in the comments and be sure to purchase your copy of Kiss of Deception in-stores or online today! And for more YA authors, books and stories, visit our Everything YA page.