Mainstream media (including movies and games) sorely lacks female characters who have a range of emotions, abilities and ambitions. In other words: real women.
So I was really excited when my sister told me about Rejected Princesses: "Women too awesome, awful or offbeat for kids' movies." The man behind the project is Jason Porath, who describes himself as an "unlikely candidate to make an illustration blog about feminist, historical, multicultural butt-kicking ladies", as he checks his straight white privilege (All the more reason to check out the site. Like now.)
A couple of the characters that I hyperventilated the most about are (in order of historical appearance):
1. Shajar al-Durr (early 13th century)
Shajar was a Mamluk servant who became a "full-on Sultan, with the support of the military. She printed her own coins and led her own prayers – both of which were big deals to solidify her legitimacy. She was the real deal."
I had never heard about her before. I love how her story has been written: loads of historical information and trivia in a simple and engaging way.
Read more about Shajar on Rejected Princesses.
2. Naziq al-Abid (1898-1959)
Jason even provides this gem of an explanation about why he drew Naziq as ripping off her veil:
She’s seen here ripping off a veil, since going veil-less was a big part of her life. Not that there’s anything wrong with choosing to wear a veil — she just didn’t have that choice for the most part, although she wanted it badly.
All about choice, baby. Seriously, it doesn't take that many words to give this complex phenomenon some nuance.
Check out Naziq's full story on Rejected Princesses.
3. Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944)
Aah, our beloved Noor. When I went to Munich two months ago and visited Dachau memorial, I saw a memorial plaque and wreath placed in front of the crematoriums. These were dedicated to the four British secret agents who served in the Resistance in France against the Nazis, including Noor Inayat Khan.
Check out her full story on Rejected Princesses.