In a previous post, I talked about why I write feminist children's stories. I did not consciously set out to weave feminism into The Iris of Issoria when I first started writing it nine years ago. The theme seeped into the fabric of the story because writers construct their characters, setting, and plot lines in their own image. I am a feminist, therefore I write feminist stories. Here are five ways the characters in Iris are feminists:
1. Women are rulers and military leaders. Gracielle is the leader of Vorelle's army. Queen Ebanaysha rules the Dryads with as much power as the King. Asherali is a fighter and a scout. The glass ceiling is not an obstacle in this matriarchal society.
2. Their identify is derived from their own achievements, not their relationships. While it is clear marriage occurs in NoArah, marital status is not a focal point with the characters. Their focus is their role in the quest for the salvation of their world.
3. The male characters are not intimidated by females in authority. Janus, a strong male character, has no qualms about following the leadership of Gracielle and Vorelle. King Sequoious treats Queen Ebanaysha like an equal partner in their rule of Draasil. The male characters are feminists.
4. Anika chooses to be a warrior, defying the traditions of her ancestors. Anika, the main character, is a twelve-year old girl with no fighting experience. Early on we learn that she will fight any way she can to save her mother and later she asks to be trained as a warrior when she expresses to develop a role in the quest.
5. Strength of the spirit and mind is celebrated as much as strength of the mind. Asherali tells Anika that size and physical strength are not always an indication of a person's strength of character. All roles in the quest are respected.