So on Tuesday 6th June, I presented the first of my trio of presentations about empowering fiction. I started with a question inspired by Nikki Gamble’s book ‘Exploring Children’s Literature’ where I asked the beautiful audience to reflect on their favourite childhood book characters. The one thing that each response had in common was I could see the book character in each of them – resilient, caring, passionate, determined, brave…
They had proven my point. Fiction empowers. A truth I realised very young; a truth I will continue to share and enable children to see. I presented a range of fiction that features a self-assured, confident, brave…fierce female protagonist.
My final point was to ascertain that humans will project and perceive based on the ‘archetypes’ they’ve formed from early experiences. The way you behave enables individuals to hopefully change their perception/ projections - enables them to respect rather than objectify - see rather than look.
You write your own story…it’s up to others to choose to read it.
My second presentation will continue to look at how fiction is an enabler of empowerment. Power is within us.
The spectrum of fiction for children (especially young girls) I hope will enable them to see that there are many possibilities of being a girl. The idea of being fierce and what that means.
Fierceness is complicated word from my point of view as it has many connotations, from many different viewpoints. Fierce to me means being fearless. Having the integrity to do what is right for you. Fierceness should mean something specific to each girl. It shouldn’t have one meaning because no girl is the same. We need to encourage young girls to own language so it fits them. Their perception of themselves should be grounded in purpose not preconceived preconceptions. language is organic. It’s meaning should organically change to suit the nature of each individual.
My final presentation is titled ‘A Literary Legacy of Language’ and will look at how archetypes are being re-imagined. I will share sound bites from the children in my class, sharing their thoughts and opinions on certain language choices and characters from classic and contemporary fiction.
The thread that weaves through each presentation is that fiction empowers. Books hold the infinite beauty of possibility. Possibility that fosters hope, understanding but most importantly a gateway to imagine better. The spectrum of fierce female characters that are flourishing in the world of books, I hope will enable girls to flourish with THEIR sense of fierceness. A fierce or fearless belief that they can be themselves without having to fit into one type of being. That being a girl means being what you want to be. That they can take inspiration from the spectrum that is shining a new light on empowerment – hopefully enabling girls to be fearless.