The Importance of Agency: Female Role Models in Young Adult Literature
Because of a history of gender inequality, women and girls are routinely misrepresented in mainstream media. For girls, especially adolescents, this negative representation can have a profoundly detrimental effect as they plan for their futures. Young adult literature has an opportunity to give young women strong female role models, and educators have a responsibility to guide our female students to books with positive representations. This thesis presents a framework which helps educators analyze the quality of a young adult novel’s female protagonist in terms of the ability to be a positive role model. The framework’s main concern is with the issue of agency (i.e. the female protagonist’s power over her own life). This project gives examples of high-scoring and low-scoring books along with an example of how the framework can be used in the classroom.