If you think that raising a girl is hard, try being one today. Women’s lib, equality, and rousing cries of “girl power!” not withstanding, growing up female without succumbing to typecasting or distorted expectations is as much a exercise in contradiction as it is in futility.

Just walk down any toy aisle, if you don’t believe me. As Peggy Orenstein writes in Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Girl-Girl Culture, the “pursuit of physical perfection,” the emphasis on appearance rather than ability, has become a leading source of young women’s “empowerment.”

Not that boys aren’t hemmed in by stereotypes, either. (Woe betide the little guy who expresses interest in so-called “girls’ toys.”) But while product marketers rally boys to explore their world and expand their horizons, girls get four principal archetypes to define their burgeoning concepts of identity and self-worth: the princess, the fairy, the ballerina, and the diva.

With such purposeful segregation of the sexes into “us versus them,” is it any wonder men and women are facing increasingly hostile interactions?

At a time when superheroes are peaking in popularity, and comics blazing new trails for storytelling, girls need representation more than ever.

At Girls’ Finest, a girl’s character counts more than her looks, and her choices and actions prevail over what she buys.

Whether she’s kind, empathic, competitive, brave, prissy, creative, aggressive, clever, adventurous, tenacious, all or none of the above, she’s the captain her own destiny—a fully realized person with desires and ambitions, flaws and foibles, and an agency that defines her as more than a background prop, a plot device, or a romantic foil.

Representation is important. At a time when superheroes are peaking in popularity, and comics blazing new trails for storytelling, girls need to see their experiences given heft and relevance more than ever.

This site isn’t anti-princess by any means. In these pages you’ll encounter warmongering homeschooled princesses (Princess at Midnight), spell-casting warrior princesses (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and magic-PJ-wearing princesses (The Radically Awesome Adventures of the Animal Princess). But you’ll also meet space-faring Queens of Egypt (Cleopatra in Space), demon-wrangling mages-in-training (Courtney Crumrin), gum-chewing crime-fighters (Gum Girl), and monster hunters out to avenge their families (Broken Age).

Girls matter. Their stories matter.

And everyone should get to be the hero.

What’s under the hood?

Girls’ Finest is powered by WordPress based on the Sparkling theme by Colorlib.

Fonts used throughout the site include Bangers by Vernon Adams, Open Sans by Steve Matteson, and Evil Genius by Nate Piekos.

The Girls’ Finest logo uses a modified version of Piekos’s Palooka font.

Who runs this joint?

Jasmin Malik Chua, journalist, lifelong comic-book fan, and mom.

How can I contact you?

Where can I learn more about women and comics?

For general geekery, visit The Mary Sue and Reel GirL. For commentary on the depiction of female anatomy in comics, click on over to Escher Girls, Repair Her Armor, The Hawkeye Initiative.

Other superlative lady-positive reads online include DC Women Kicking Ass, Girls Like Comics, Girls Read Comics, Too, Heroic Girls, Little Girls Are Better at Designing Superheroes Than You, Reel Girl, Sequential Tart, Women Write About Comics, and anything by Charlie Jane Anders, Janelle Asselin, Juliet Kahn, Laura Hudson, Lauren Davis, and Kelly Thompson.

For your listening pleasure, turn the dial to the 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast.

I also cannot recommend Feminist Frequency any more highly for its steely-eyed critique of how women are portrayed in broader media. Anita Sarkeesian is a superhero for our time.

What about on raising strong girls?

Check out Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Brave Girls Want, Girls Inc., Pigtail Pal & Ballcap Buddies, Princess-Free Zone, and Rebecca Hains. On Facebook, great links abound at A Mighty Girl, Girls Will Be, Man vs. Pink, and Toward the Stars.

Anything else I should know?

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