I’m trying to find female tricksters in mythology and literature. I’m also trying to see how they are different from male tricksters. Scheherazade comes to mind. I’m think Judith, as well. Circe, maybe. Eris comes to mind as well. Dido, with her oxhide trick is another. Isis, for tricking Ra into giving her his secret name. Rosalind, in As You Like It. Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books is considered a trickster.
I’m looking through Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (On Famous Women), and will have to go down that list. Among many, he lists Semiramis. She’s credited with inventing the chastity belt – which seems like a rather mean trick all the way around. I don’t think that makes her a trickster.
One academic, Marilyn Zurich, labels female tricksters as “trickstars.” She takes a lot of care contrasting trickstars and tricksters. Most of the ones I’m coming up with differ from their male counterparts in that they aren’t troublemakers. They employ trickery to accomplish an end, rather than as a continuous expression of their being. Eris is an exception to that. I want to think about this further, I’m considering writing about a female character who is a trickster.
A true female trickster? Now that’s a story I would love to read. Circe, Judith, Scheherazade had some of those characteristics but not the pointed intent of their male counterparts, instead doing what they had to do to achieve a goal. Maybe Mrs Haversham? Weaving her web, manipulating people, not to achieve a goal but just because it satisfies her own needs.