Ah, yes, that tricky "F" word. The one at the start of some of the great academic discourse happening today.
We are talking, of course, about fiction. The fiction that helped generations formulate their own perceptions of self, the ones that relayed — through fantasy or imagination — stories of identity and power. While great essays and treaties have shaped our definitions of feminism, it is through fiction that many of our conceptions of what it means to be powerful and strong were formed.
With yesterday's passing of one of the great feminist authors of all time, we sat down to think about how her writings have affected us, and how each of us read Caged Bird in class and began to imagine what it would be like to be a woman in different circumstances, and how important that exercise is to a young woman. So, we came up with the feminist-fiction primer. Think of this as Women's Studies 101, the wondrous books that opened up our minds to the debate of the sexes.
For clarification: To be considered feminist, it needs to have a strong female lead who has a strong female agenda and whose questions and concerns with womanhood take center stage and drive the story forward. For instance, a story like William Gibson's Neuromancer, which has a badass, incredible lead female character, wouldn't count because her being a woman is never a part of the conversation.