She Isn’t Ashamed – Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

The theme this week is strong, female characters from books or any type of media that we love. Because I adore the book Only Ever Yours, by Louise O’Neill, I thought I’d write about a character from there.

I had problems, though. Freida was out: Freida isn’t STRONG: she proves a point, but you could never call her a role model. I considered Isabel, too, but it just didn’t fit.

Then, I remembered Agyness.

For those who HAVEN’T read the book (you definitely should; it will stay with you forever) it is about a society where women are treated as, basically, inferior beings. Designed, raised in a school, selected as Companions or Comcubines or Chastities – or sent underground.

In this society, the norm for the women is to be vapid: obsessed with appearance, because that’s the only thing they know. Obsessed with making the boys choose them, when the boys come to the school. That’s what we see from nearly ALL the girls – Freida, Megan, Freja.

Not Agyness, though.

I won’t give away any spoilers. In my opinion, Agyness was the strongest female character in that book. It got her nowhere, but it proved a point: there were STILL people who could believe they’re worth something, even in a society where they aren’t.

She wasn’t afraid to voice her opinion. I don’t even think she realised what she was getting herself into when she DID voice it, and that’s what I admire. She didn’t care what anybody thought of her.

She was so different to everyone else, but didn’t seem to mind. She was treated as stupid – Megan, once, called her a Feminist. In that world, it’s considered an insult; it’s considered an awful, awful word.

One of the lines in that book that hit me the hardest was when Darwin, one of the boys, talks about Agyness.

“She’s smart. It’s almost like talking with a guy.”

That tells you all you need to know about her, and about how people view her.

Agyness may not have been the main character, and no one in the BOOK may have looked up to her and thought anything of her, but I did.

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