On March 2nd, a friend of mine pointed me toward Feminist Fantasy, a new website dedicated to creating a ginormous list of feminist-friendly fantasy books. I was thrilled. It was one of those moments where you didn’t know something was missing in your life until you suddenly discovered that thing existed.
I grew up reading a lot of fantasy (particularly of the epic variety), and dynamic and interesting female characters could be hard to come by, especially in the classics of the genre. This was made even more difficult for me because I got most of my fantasy novel recs from guys who didn’t always pick up on the uncomfortable or frustrating roles female characters were often relegated to—when they existed at all within the work.
Feminist Fantasy is perfectly set up as a giant database in order to help solve that problem. Anyone can submit a book, and each book submission can include not only the category (epic, historical, paranormal, steampunk, etc.) but also tags (dragons, magicians, parallel worlds, zombies, etc.) for easier searching. In addition to the title/author data, users also need to include a description why a particular work is feminist friendly.
The categories and tags make it easy to find whatever kind of fantasy you’re in the mood for. If you want to be adventurous, there’s also a link that will send you to a random book instead. I think my favorite part of this website is that other people can comment on the submissions. (I fangirled over the post for Ella Enchanted for example.) This way you can get other people’s perspectives on a given work and leave your endorsements for your favorites.
Feminist Fantasy is still a very young database—I counted just twenty-nine submissions so far, the oldest dating back to February 29th—but I think it has some amazing potential. I’d encourage everyone to browse through the books they have so far and leave comments on the books they’ve read. If you have any books that you think should be on the site that aren’t already, I’d strongly encourage you to submit those books as well.
With enough “early adopters” submitting books and comments, Feminist Fantasy could really become the go-to place for finding fantasy novels that have empowered female characters, non-skeevy gender politics, and—above all—a great story.