Stop Giving Me ‘Strong’ Female Characters

I’ve been seeing more female characters lately, which one would think is a good thing. Unfortunately, female characters don’t mean much when they’re barely characters. Instead, they’re often one-dimensional props. You know the type I’m thinking of. Extremely sexy clothing & figure, sarcastic, literally kick ass aaaaaaaand . . . not much else. Deep background? Nuanced characterization? Complexities? Almost nonexistent.

In my experience, this doesn’t pertain as much to books, but then again I tend to mostly read books by female authors who aren’t as guilty of this (because women are *gasp* people!) That’s not to say this isn’t an issue, though. Because it certainly is.

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Damn it, Tifa. You better be glad I love Final Fantasy so much.

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It doesn’t help that Abrams straight-up admitted this scene was solely for the male viewership.

I don’t mind sexy, slim women. Truly I don’t. Physically fit and empowered women are by far my favorite characters to write, and are even inspiring in a way, but women are more than that. They are their backstories, their emotions, their inner conflicts. Instead of saying “okay, we have a walking pair of boobs that throws punches; diversity, check” and stopping there (please, please do not stop there–don’t even go there to begin with), instead give me more Furiosas, more Dana Scullys, more Marthas, and more Eowyns. (Also pls give me more PoC and LGBT+ characters thx.)

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I want women who are developed, fully dimensional characters, with flaws, backstories, and who’s importance isn’t relegated solely to her beauty or sexual prowess.

In short, don’t give me a female character who can throw punches, is therefore considered progressive, and stop there. Don’t give me a physically strong female character, give me a female who has strong characterization. That’s what makes all the difference.

Who are your favorite female characters? What do you like best about them?

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2 thoughts on “Stop Giving Me ‘Strong’ Female Characters

  1. *bashing head against wall in distance* *screaming* *profanity* *wailing* *deep breath*

    For SUCH a long time I defaulted to hating female characters, particularly in action flicks, because they were really just there for the purpose of a few swimsuit/nude scenes. I would rather have an all-male cast in a film than have females just there for a skin exposition.

    Now you have people (including some so-called feminists) proclaiming “strong female character/lead” all over the place, but all they really have is THE EXACT SAME CHARACTER. The individual in question pretty much always fits the assassin/mercenary archetype, is conveniently photogenic, and usually has an affinity for skin-tight leather. Every so often they play at real writing by making her POC. Sometimes even bisexual/lesbian (and not purely for the sake of that twenty second close up of her making out with the blonde in a bikini, why would anyone think that?), but she still HAS. NO. REAL. STORY.

    GAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

    On a happier note, my experiences with this particular fetish have been limited to the cinema. (And I do read a lot of male authors.) Some of my fantasy books (especially the older ones) do lean toward more archetypal gender roles, but the women still have dimension and complexity. Maybe it’s just the fantasy genre (SF/F does seem to be further ahead in that respect) or that I’ve just gotten lucky so far, but I can’t remember a book where the woman was just there for sex appeal (excluding one horribly written free Kindle download, but I’m not counting that).

    Even Game of Thrones gives women diverse and complicated stories, COME ON, HOLLYWOOD!!!

    • YESSSS THANK YOU
      I’m SO glad someone else gets it! (I mean, more and more people are getting it too, but still it’s just so gratifying to see this BS get called what it is.)

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