Strong Female Characters

I came across this article via Pinterest that was written in August of 2013 about strong female characters.

The writer does an excellent job of showing why we should hate this stereotype, since it is, indeed, a stereotype.

She goes on with multiple examples about male characters and their ability to be so much more than ‘strong’ and yet still be considered a hero. (Sherlock Holmes, anybody?)

The article is long, but well worth the read.

Since my main character is a female, I hope she does not allow herself to only be considered strong. Strength is admirable, to be sure, but we need the complexities of personality in female main characters just as much as in male characters.

Take the time to read it. It’s well worth it, I promise!

“The Strong Female Character has something to prove. She’s on the defensive before she even starts. She’s George from The Famous Five all grown up and still bleating with the same desperate lack of conviction that she’s “Every Bit As Good as a Boy”…

Nowadays the princesses all know kung fu, and yet they’re still the same princesses. They’re still love interests, still the one girl in a team of five boys, and they’re all kind of the same. They march on screen, punch someone to show how they don’t take no shit, throw around a couple of one-liners or forcibly kiss someone because getting consent is for wimps, and then with ladylike discretion they back out of the narrative’s way.

On the posters they’re posed way in the back of the shot behind the men, in the trailers they may pout or smile or kick things, but they remain silent. Their strength lets them, briefly, dominate bystanders but never dominate the plot. It’s an anodyne, a sop, a Trojan Horse – it’s there to distract and confuse you, so you forget to ask for more.” ~ Sophia McDougall


2 thoughts on “Strong Female Characters

  1. Interesting article, at that link.But it never occurred to me to try to write a “strong” character, of either sex. They behaved, and I observed them and wrote down their behavior.

    • Thanks for your comment! I tend to agree with you, but I think the author was trying to make a point about societal norms and expectations, as well as underlying views on male vs. female protagonists. I wish I could say all my characters just up and start being themselves, but sometimes I’ve had to create characters based on suggestions from editors and instructors. In that case, it is much harder to simply observe their actions. I think you’re absolutely correct, but I know not all writers have their characters running rampant in their brains like our characters apparently do. 🙂

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