Emily over at Awesome Indies has granted me the fabulous opportunity to write a guest post for her blog. Originally intended as an exploration of Strong Female Characters in literature, the post took on a life of it’s own after I spent most of my birthday weekend binge-watching Orange is the New Black. Clearly, it was a great use of my time. It did, at least, provide some much-needed inspiration for the blog post. I have posted an excerpt below, but please read the rest at Awesome Indies:
The issue is not that we lack strong female characters—there are quite a lot of them cropping up in spandex jumpers and heeled boots—but that we lackstrong characters that are female. We are made to assume that the term is synonymous with “strong women”, meaning that at the end of the day these females are decidedly the heroes of their stories who fight against all odds (i.e., the patriarchy) and emerge with battle scars and a sense that they have got it all figured out. Simply putting a gun in a girl’s hand (or an arrow, or a tattoo gun) does not make her a strong character; it makes her a character with a prop.
What about those other women, the ones who are not fighting wars or preserving their innocence for the sake of personal sacrifice during the climactic moment of the plotline? A woman’s strength is not defined by her physical dominance or thirst for revenge. She does not need to be superior to the other female characters; she does not need to be equal to her male counterparts. She does not need to be a superhero or a badass warrior or a feminist advocate. More than anything, the female character must be human, a complex individual whose agency moves the plot forward separate from any other character in her story (man or woman), equally capable of failing and succeeding, equally capable of dishing love and pain, a woman who can both fight for herself (literally and metaphorically), but will also forfeit in a sob storm when she doesn’t feel strong enough … and sometimes in the same scene. That is what makes her a strong character. READ MORE