Fantastic Femmes and Where to Find Them: Anne of Green Gables
Over the years we’ve highlighted our favorite characters in the running series “Strong Female Characters.” We wanted the name of the series to reflect how passionate we are about these characters, and came up with the name “Fantastic Femmes and Where to Find Them.” We hope you like the new name as much as we do 🙂
To kick off this series reboot, our newest copywriter Rebecca Anglesey wrote about her favorite fantastic femme, Anne Shirley. Enjoy! – GGC Copy Team
Anne Shirley, the indomitable main character of the beloved Anne of Green Gables books, has been inspiring girls everywhere for over a hundred years. Written by L.M. Montgomery in 1908, Anne’s passion, intelligence, and quirkiness endeared her to audiences of all ages. Anne blazed a trail for geek girls everywhere by being herself and wearing her heart on her sleeve, regardless of what others around her had to say.
As a child of the early 90s, I was first introduced to Anne in the Sullivan Entertainment movie adaptations of the book that were frequently aired on PBS fundraising telethons. I used to love sitting on my living room floor to watch Anne’s antics, and I quickly devoured every Anne book I could find at the library. As an adult, I think I appreciate the story even more.
Here’s the thing about Anne Shirley: she is a total geek girl! Anne had a passionate love of literature from the very beginning, and she was never shy about that fact. She loved to use big words, and she never hid her intelligence, even though people were constantly putting her down.
Anne had some hard knocks in her early life. Being an orphan, she was shuffled through the system and was frequently abused. No one cared enough about her to nurture her obvious academic talent until her eventual adoption by the Cuthbert siblings of Avonlea. With a little bit of encouragement and advocacy from people who loved her, Anne flourished and became a model student and high academic achiever.
One thing that I loved about Anne was that she never listened to the haters (I’m looking at you, Josie Pye). Anne was surrounded by people who could only be described as basic, but she never felt pressure to conform to what was considered “socially acceptable” because she was happy being herself. This lesson is relevant to everyone everywhere, which is another reason Anne’s story is so near and dear to my heart.
Remember the time Anne cracked her school slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head because he made fun of her hair?
Or when she told Rachel Lynde to stick it for calling her skinny and ugly?
Anne never took any crap from anybody, and she always demanded respect from the people around her. Anne knew her self-worth, and she refused to associate with people who didn’t respect her.
Even when met with adversity, Anne would adapt her plans. When Matthew died suddenly, she didn’t give up on her dream of going to college. She adjusted her plans so that she could help Marilla with Green Gables, but she still pursued her education while holding down a teaching position to boot. It is even more impressive when you think about the fact that women weren’t encouraged to go to college in Anne’s world. Most women were expected to get married and have kids and keep house, but that was never the goal for Anne.
All this isn’t to say that Anne didn’t have her flaws… Anne was terribly vain, and she had a quick temper, both traits that landed her in more than one embarrassing situation. She constantly bemoaned her red hair, but accidentally dying it green taught Anne that having red hair wasn’t so bad after all (I personally think redheads rock, but I may be biased). She even sold her cow, Dolly, in a fit of temper with the bovine troublemaker for getting out of her pen only to find that she had accidentally sold her new neighbors’ cow instead! Anne was able to use honesty and charm to turn that potentially alienating act around and make good friends with the man, showing that you should own up to your mistakes and take responsibility, and that you can make friends anywhere if you have an open heart and mind. I feel that these things make Anne a more relatable person, and she always learned from her mistakes.
Even after all these years, I still get as much enjoyment as I ever have from experiencing Anne’s trials and tribulations. She has always been one of my top role models. She was a loyal friend, she always tried to make herself better than she was, and she let her imagination run wild. Anne Shirley taught me that it was okay to be a girl who was smart and passionate and a total geek!