I grew up with books ‚Äì pages upon pages of heroines and stories. But it wasn‚Äôt until middle school that one of my most beloved heroines was published: Luna Lovegood of the Harry Potter series.
Now, don‚Äôt get me wrong ‚Äì I love Hermione. In fact, I‚Äôm a lot like her. But I love Luna more. While Hermione has a lot of praise-worthy attributes, Luna is something more. She is unquestionably, and amazingly, self-accepting of her individuality.
Luna is the daughter of Xenophilius and Pandora Lovegood. Her mother accidentally died when she was a child, leaving Luna with unique abilities, and her father is the editor of The Quibbler (a magazine of odd things in the wizarding world). She‚Äôs a Ravenclaw, a member of Dumbledore‚Äôs Army, and accompanies Harry and his friends on a variety of adventures. She also becomes one of Harry‚Äôs close friends, as Harry also learns he has abilities like Luna (I won‚Äôt spoil it for you).
But Luna is my favorite for more than just her story. I love her because she is so aware of who she is, what she believes in, and how that makes her unique. She takes pride in her individuality, showcasing a level of self-respect and self-love that I wish I saw in more young girls and women. She also stands up for what she believes in and for those being persecuted, even when those causes don‚Äôt make much sense to others ‚Äì such as the freedom of house-elves and the care of magical creatures that are invisible to most of the Wizarding World.
Other students at Hogwarts relentlessly tease Luna for her strange behavior and odd beliefs. Yet she maintains her dignity and generally ignores the comments of others (and her nickname, ‚ÄúLoony‚Äù). In one scene in the movie and books, it is clear that Luna is being bullied when she loses her shoes ‚Äì though she doesn‚Äôt blame the other children, but rather some magical creatures.
Luna is my heroine. Her flaming self-respect, courage, and dedication to her beliefs are attributes I wish all girls possessed. We need more Luna Lovegoods in the world.
Girl Museum Inc.