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Anne of Green Gables lauded for her patriarchy-smashing ways

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Anne Shirley topped a surprising list in Elle‘s India edition earlier this month.

P.E.I.’s favourite literary heroine came out number one on a list of feminist book characters that smashed the patriarchy.

Elle India book and culture columnist Moshita Prajapati said there were a couple things that prompted her to put Anne on the list, and one was her age.

“I wanted someone right from the beginning who was a pre-teen,” said Prajapati.

“Anne doesn’t usually feature on a lot of these lists. You have the regulars, which is a lot of Jane Austen characters.”

And Prajapati herself doesn’t shy away from Austen, including Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, but she said she didn’t want to leave girls with the sense that they had to wait until they were adults before standing up for themselves — and Anne was the perfect role model.

“An 11-year-old girl fighting for her place, embracing herself unabashedly,” said Prajapati, “not really seeing gender and just going after what she wants.”

And she did that in small ways, such as in the three-legged race, and in bigger ways, such as going after the Avery Scholarship, she said.

‘I can fight’

While the character is more than a century old, these issues are still relevant, said Prajapati.

She sees it in her own country, where the opposition Congress Party has adopted the slogan “I’m a girl and I can fight.” The very fact that Congress feels the need to take this as a slogan underlines the continuing relevance of Anne Shirley’s attitude.

“You have to get past the notion in your head that a girl cannot fight,” she said.

Anne both looked past gender and embraced her femininity, says Prajapati. (CBC)

“Of course she can fight. She just finds a different way to fight, and Anne is using her wits, her intelligence, to steamroll ahead. She knows exactly what she wants and she’s not going to be put down or rebuffed, ‘Oh, you’re a girl? You can’t do that.’ No, I can.”

Prajapati said she considered including George from The Famous Five, but in the end went with Anne.

“George isn’t really a strong feminist character, per se. George just wanted to be treated as a boy,” she said.

“Anne embraced her femininity as well.”

Anne was not the only young girl on the list. Also included were Hermione from the Harry Potter books, and Ella from Ella Enchanted.


Anne Shirley topped a surprising list in Elle‘s India edition earlier this month.

P.E.I.’s favourite literary heroine came out number one on a list of feminist book characters that smashed the patriarchy.

Elle India book and culture columnist Moshita Prajapati said there were a couple things that prompted her to put Anne on the list, and one was her age.

“I wanted someone right from the beginning who was a pre-teen,” said Prajapati.

“Anne doesn’t usually feature on a lot of these lists. You have the regulars, which is a lot of Jane Austen characters.”

And Prajapati herself doesn’t shy away from Austen, including Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, but she said she didn’t want to leave girls with the sense that they had to wait until they were adults before standing up for themselves — and Anne was the perfect role model.

“An 11-year-old girl fighting for her place, embracing herself unabashedly,” said Prajapati, “not really seeing gender and just going after what she wants.”

And she did that in small ways, such as in the three-legged race, and in bigger ways, such as going after the Avery Scholarship, she said.

‘I can fight’

While the character is more than a century old, these issues are still relevant, said Prajapati.

She sees it in her own country, where the opposition Congress Party has adopted the slogan “I’m a girl and I can fight.” The very fact that Congress feels the need to take this as a slogan underlines the continuing relevance of Anne Shirley’s attitude.

“You have to get past the notion in your head that a girl cannot fight,” she said.

Anne both looked past gender and embraced her femininity, says Prajapati. (CBC)

“Of course she can fight. She just finds a different way to fight, and Anne is using her wits, her intelligence, to steamroll ahead. She knows exactly what she wants and she’s not going to be put down or rebuffed, ‘Oh, you’re a girl? You can’t do that.’ No, I can.”

Prajapati said she considered including George from The Famous Five, but in the end went with Anne.

“George isn’t really a strong feminist character, per se. George just wanted to be treated as a boy,” she said.

“Anne embraced her femininity as well.”

Anne was not the only young girl on the list. Also included were Hermione from the Harry Potter books, and Ella from Ella Enchanted.

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