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Yes, I’m behind the times. I just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy, knocking out the series over the last three weekends.

The quick-paced, intense books don’t lollygag around with page after page of descriptions. You get down to business in this series, and I like that.

What I also love is how strong the heroine is, Katniss Everdeen. She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s emotional and she’s feminine. She’s nails with a bow and arrow (which makes her freakin’ awesome) and she admits that she isn’t perfect. She also happens to be beautiful.

Thankfully, Katniss is not beautiful in a “Tomb Raider” way. In the book and the movie, her hair stays in a loose, out-of-sorts braid most of the time. She wears no make up unless she’s in front of the Capitol’s TV cameras. Usually a female heroine—who happens to be as tough as she is beautiful—wears shirts where her boobs are kind of, you know, not in her shirt.  She wears tight leather and spike heels while she’s shooting guns.

Yes, I’m quite certain if I chased criminals for a living, I’d do so in leather pants and spike heels.

My appreciation for strong female characters comes from my mom. Any book or movie with tough, kind of edgy female lead, my mom made us read or watch it.

My mom constantly encouraged my two sisters and me to be tough and to speak our minds. So when characters like Katniss are written, I’m so appreciative because I hope it shows girls and women you don’t have to be the damsel in distress. Grab your bow and arrow and do your thing.

On the other hand, take Bella from Twilight.  After her boyfriend leaves her, she lays in the forest crying until someone pulls her out. She goes emotionally numb for months.

Come on now. COME. ON.

It gives me hope when a book like the Hunger Games becomes a bestseller, so readers see a female character who, in the face of a horrific situation, becomes tougher and fights to the end to protect those she cares about most.

Most of us don’t have the choice of lying in the woods until someone rescues us.

So, don’t be that girl. Let’s all make it our goal to be a little less Bella (or honestly, a lot less Bella) and a little more Katniss.