March 28, 2023


The Catalyst / Sophia Bao

Women were once shunned as authors, but many sought pen names to get their messages into print. Now, with the perseverance of early female authors, women have become a part of literature and have done so by fighting battles that male authors have never had to experience.

The Brontë sisters held much influence over literature in the 1800s and are the names behind a handful of classic literature. Charlotte, Emily and Anne all were forced to credit their writings to a pen name in order for their novels to even be considered

to print. They are most known for “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily and “Agnes Gray” by Anne. The three sisters defied the standards of literature that had been previously constructed by men and foreshadowed the feminist movements set to come.

Virginia Woolf is another trailblazer of female authors. She initially wrote under a pen name, but soon resorted to her real name. She played a huge role in the first wave of feminism, which is most famously portrayed in her essay, “A Room of One’s Own.” She is  still a celebrated author of the 1900s, despite gender inequality.

Maya Angelou was both a poet and a civil rights activist. She made her name known with political poems that motivated activism. She made revolutionary style choices in her poems, opting to have her voice be heard explicitly in them.

Women have used literature to voice their activism and have paved the way for female authors in today’s society.

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