I’ve been writing an article on female anti-heroes for Chicklish (look out for it soon, folks!) and it includes the wonderful Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts. That girl is crabby and MEAN. I love her so much.
She got me thinking about girls who know what they want, and how they’re described, and suddenly, before I knew it, I was cross. (There’s a great article called ‘I hate Strong Female Characters’ by Sophia McDougall – no relation – in the New Statesman, by the way, that I highly recommend.)
Lucy, of course, is a born leader, but you know what will happen to her? She’ll be told, by other girls and grown-ups alike, that she’s ‘bossy’. (Which, God knows, she is.) Other girls’ mothers will roll their eyes and call her ‘feisty’. Like it’s something she ought to watch.
As she hits her self-conscious teens, she’ll feel embarrassed and excluded, and she’ll tone down her behaviour to something more appropriate for her peer group. After college, she’ll become the the sterling Number Two to the big businessman who runs the show in St Paul, Minnesota.
Because nobody ever told him he was ‘feisty’ or ‘bossy’. They just kind of did what he said.