Monday, January 21, 2013

Strong Female Characters

I must admit, I'm a lousy feminist. Why? Because I like female MCs that are strong and smart and funny, but apparently some feel that's just taking the qualities displayed by male MCs and putting them in a feminine body. Apparently in order to be a strong woman you have to be something other than the things that strong men are.

Whatever. 

Just to be clear, I don't buy into the whole idea that when women do certain things they're demonstrating girl power and when men do those same things it's just stereotypical. I don't think I deserve extra credit for being a woman who knows how to replace the battery in her car. This is not a skill that should be more extraordinary when one gender does it compared to the other. (Of course, these days it's hard to find anyone who knows how to do basic maintenance on their car themselves, no matter if they're male or female.)

So I get a bit, well... pissy when someone suggests that in order for a woman to be a "strong female character" she has to have more depth than a "strong male character". I even start to twitch when it's suggested that "true strength" encompasses more than physical dexterity. Are you kidding me? 

OF COURSE "TRUE STRENGTH" ENCOMPASSES MORE THAN PHYSICAL DEXTERITY!

But this doesn't mean that a female MC needs to be less kick-ass. And it doesn't mean that a male MC needs to be all sensitive and caring and shit. It means that all main characters need a certain level of complexity. Regardless of gender. Or sexual orientation. Or boob-size. It means we need to stop fretting over what it means to write "strong female characters" and focus on writing "strong characters" period. Better yet, let's just strike that whole concept of "strong" from our character formation vocabulary and focus on "complex" or "real".

Whether they use their brains or fists or boobs or smart-ass humor or really big guns to get what they want. Complex characters. 

That is all.

4 comments:

Jessica said...

Nah, that doesn't make you a bad feminist - just a clear-eyed and blunt one.

bettielee said...

Well. Put.

A.G. Carpenter said...

Thank you, ladies. :)

ifeomadennis said...

I agree!