I’m honestly really happy to be writing in this day and age. It seems recently women have really started standing up for themselves and being more self-sufficient. And what I mean by recent, is the last 10 years or so. If you’ve read my Inspiration post, you know how I feel about strong women. I am a little biased, of course. But trust me when I say, strong female characters are much better to read about, and readers care about them way more.
Switching things up this time. I will provide pictures of female characters who are well written and why I consider them strong characters.
- Wonder Woman. This is 100% based off of the recent movie and I’m not ashamed to admit it. She is my top favorite lead woman role ever. The way this movie portrays her is simply brilliant. Her traits include intelligence, courage, opinionated, head-strong and caring. Diana is a god; but not flawless. This is super important and makes her more relate-able. She is very determined to find answers, curious about things in the other world, and compassionate when it came to people in trouble. She has all the great qualities that any character should portray, especially in women. Even the love interest was well done. I’m not usually into romantic movies or over-tones, but the couple has chemistry and balances each other out very well.
- Katniss. Of course you all probably know Katniss from the Hunger Game movies/books. If not, let me explain to you why she is the second one on here. Like Wonder Woman, she is determined, quick-witted, family-oriented, smart and brave. After decades of the horror that is the hunger games, Katniss decides that she cannot let Peeta die, so they attempt to die at the same time. Her rebellious act to put a stop to the games puts her in the eye of the Capitol. Everything she does to overthrow the government has to be extremely well planned out. Her cunning acts and the ‘face’ she puts on helps her achieve this and brings peace to Panem. Side note: Ignore all the love-triangle stuff. But in reality, she is only human.
- Hermione Granger. Shame on you if you don’t know this great person. It’s quite obvious why she made this list. She is highly-intelligent, loyal, brave, curious and motivating. Throughout the Harry Potter series, Hermione has stayed consistent with who she is and never strayed. Writing several books can sometimes make it difficult to keep your characters consistent, but with each book/movie, she has shown us more and more of how amazing she is. I thought it was great how we all know she’s smart but was put in Gryffindor, which is known for bravery. Her mind is not all that makes up who she is, and she’s more complex. Also, her love interest is none other than a guy who she’s known for many years and finally falls in love with. She took her time, got to really know him, inside and out, and then let her walls down.
- Aloy. Aloy will probably not be as well known, but let me tell you… she is someone to aspire after. She is a video game character from Horizon Zero Dawn on Playstation 4. The main protagonist, actually. Her main qualities are curiosity, strong (physically and emotionally), dedicated, sarcastic and focus-driven. The story in this game was fantastic, but Aloy is a lot of the reasons why. She travels across the ‘world’ in search of her mother, for which she’s never had one. Nothing stops her from finding answers in the extremely complex story-line. Even with the war of the Shadow Carja going on, she helps out with that as well because they want to destroy the earth. She is relateable and her constant remarks and comments throughout the game make you feel like she could be your best friend. Even better, there was no romantic plots what-so-ever. Just her.
- June Osborn/Offred. June is the protagonist in the show, The Handmaids Tale, which highlights a lot of female set-backs. June is a Handmaid, one of the few women that can actually bare children in this post-apocalyptic world. The Handmaids are treated like cattle, and forced to procreate with a certain man to repopulate the earth. June is patient, strong-willed, clever, adaptable and realistic. Being ripped away from her former life and family, June has the type of qualities that make her a strong person and role-model. She’s also the most ‘realistic’ character in our list; not a god or a chosen one. A normal woman who does everything she can to survive.
BONUS! If you are still unclear of what makes a strong female character, these examples are of what not to do when writing women.
- Bella Swan. I’m sorry if you are a fan of Twilight, but you have to admit, Bella is not a great character to look up to. The story may have been cool (I guess) but the main protagonist should not exemplify these traits. Bella is whiny, dependent, indecisive, insecure and emotionless. The entire story reflects around her unexplained obsession with a guy. She also has insta-love and we’re not really sure why, except that he is hot. This makes her look weak and disposable as a character and it’s something that you never want for your people. Plus, she goes into a severe depression for an absurd amount of time, all because of something related to a man. Writers; don’t do this. Ever.
- Anastasia Steele. From the series of Fifty Shades of Gray, Anastasia is probably a worst example of weak women characters. I’ll admit, I have not seen the movies or read the books (nor do I care to) but I know from reviews and clips, that she’s awful. She is weak-willed, ditsy, unmotivated, bland and ignorant. The entire story revolves around pleasing a man because he’s filthy rich. From what I’ve seen, they have almost zero chemistry, making it unclear of why she fancies him. I understand that this is a border-line erotica, but a woman can be strong and still be in this story. Anastasia however, is not.
After writing this out, I want to make something very clear. I know I mentioned a lot of dislike towards men or love stuff. Having these in a story will not take away from having a strong female character. However, a lot of stories (such as the last two examples) will have men as the reason for the woman’s desires. There is no evidence or support as to why the woman falls in love with them. Writers can have trouble building up chemistry, history or both, making the relationships fall flat. In Hermione’s example, I made it clear that her feelings towards Ron was something that developed over time. Most stories won’t have that much time, but there are still ways to do this in a shorter book. It’s just something the writer has to work at. Your readers will thank you.
Love can make us do all sorts of crazy things. Men are just as susceptible to insta-love, but it seems less uncommon. Women in writing have gone too long with being the ‘damsel in distress.’ Every person, every character needs to have their own identity, just like in real life. We all have goals, flaws, hobbies and experience. If none of it comes across as such or explained, we might as well be paper-people.
My next blog, I will be talking about Male Characters, so don’t think I’m picking on them! 🙂 ##