Literature is stuffed full of strong, sassy ladies telling the patriarchy to stuff it. Georgia Clark, author of the hilarious new novel The Regulars, dishes the dirt her favorite invented feminists.

Georgia Clark

Georgia Clark

Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

When she wasn't cutting all her hair off, rejecting male suitors or finding a room of one's own to pen her populist plays, Jo March was busy being a Victorian trailblazer. Alcott's classic text was revolutionary for its time, arguably creating the first instance of the "All-American girl" as envisioned through the four March sisters. Our Jo was, essentially, the feminist. Strong-willed and hot-tempered, hilarious and headstrong, Jo largely rejected boring Meg's demand for domestic conformity. When it came time for her to marry, Alcott underlined it was Miss March's decision: "The crucial first point is that the choice is hers, its quirkiness another sign of her much-prized individuality." Hurrah for quarrelsome ladies who won't sit still! Hurrah for Jo!

Best line: "I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country."

Ifemelu, Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Who else cheered when they saw Cindy reading Americanah in the new season of Orange Is The New Black? This extraordinary novel explores race, gender, and world tensions in prose that is insightful, emotional and unflinchingly real. Ifemelu leaves left her home country of Nigeria as it was falling to military dictatorship to pursue her education in the U.S. Her need to process the racism she experiences motivates her to write a well-received blog, "Raceteenth or Various Observations about American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black," which cast a clever, critical eye on everything from Obamania to the politics of black hair care. Ifemelu rails against social norms, challenges traditional femininity and defines her own path. This is a must-read novel for contemporary feminists interesting in cultivating a global perspective.

Best line: "Racism should never have happened and so you don't get a cookie for reducing it."

Edna Pontellier, The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

Written in 1899, The Awakening was ahead of its time in articulating the complex rising of a feminist consciousness. Edna Pontellier is a respectable New Orleans Presbyterian who spends a life-changing summer on Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico. Strikingly, Edna is neither flawless nor fallen, operating in a shockingly ambiguous grey zone we would now call "a real person". She undergoes sexual, emotional and creative awakenings as she seeks to carve out an identity independent of her children and husband. Chopin digs into the idea that a female awakening is about creating space for you: your thoughts, your feelings, your creative aspirations, your sexual urges, at a time when women were not allowed to vote and were property of their husbands. But this is no easy transformation: the ending is complex and can be read as triumphant or, more likely, tragic. Still, a psychologically complex text that stands the test of time. You do you, Edna. We salute you.

Best line: "She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world."

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling.

There is only one queen in middle grade fiction, one girl to rule them all. Her name is Hermione and she is a badass. The brainiest character in the Potterverse (and also able to handily explain its many complexities), Hermione is the most striking and entertaining example of the new, young feminist in contemporary fiction. The coolest kid ever produced by two dentists, it's a true nerdy joy to watch her blossom from a know-it-all tween to a know-it-all adult. As well as being a competent fighter in Harry's many clashes with all things creepy, HG is also a social rights activist (she started S.P.E.W.: Society for the Protection of Elfish Welfare) and she once punched Malfoy right in the kisser. She also makes a very cute cat (Emma Watson: rawr).

Best line: "Are you sure that's a real spell?" said the girl. "Well, it's not very good, is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. I've learned all our course books by heart, of course."

Honorable mentions:

Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre

Katey Kontent, Rules of Civility

Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

Sarah Jones, The Mourner's Bench

And too many Margaret Atwood creations to name.