Friday, May 10, 2013

Passing on posts: Strong Female Characters

           Technically, I didn't get permission to do this. Eh, I might get in trouble. But since I'm advertising/promoting/whatever it is you wish to call it, I thought it would be okay.

           I enjoy reading this blog called The Book Chewers. I love the discussions and topics they come up with. The other day Lydia wrote a post on strong female characters. It was really good. I tried to comment on it, but just as I was ready to publish it, the laptop's battery died. Temperamental technology.

           So here is Lydia's awesome post on The Book Chewers (or TBC). I'd like to continue her discussion. After you've read it, I'll tell you what I think. And I'd love to hear what you think.

           I agree with what Lydia says.

           I love strong female characters. They know how to get things done. Their humor (or lack of) is hilarious. They're are not over-emotional or whiny. They're independent and aren't afraid of a little fight. They're tough. You can count on them. And sometimes their rash actions get them into the most mind-boggling predicaments it makes a rather intrigue story.

           But after a while a "strong" female character can become cliched. And if she never asks for, never shows any emotion, never says anything that doesn't have a double meaning or a snicker behind it, never shows a little weakness, and can never think before anything she does or says, well- How realistic is that? As for the latter part, she must not be as clever as she believes herself to be if she can't think about what she's going to do before doing it.

          "Strength" is a little deeper. Sometimes it takes strength say, "Maybe I need some help with this." It takes strength to bite your tongue when your words could hurt someone, or it takes strength to apologize for what you've said. Sometimes it's strong to let someone see your emotions, to let them see you cry. It takes strength to admit that you have faults and try to better yourself.

           But I do also enjoy female characters who do not initially strike me as strong. Their strength is under the surface. Anne of Jane Austen's Persuasion for instance, is very quiet and seems passive for a main character. At first she seems emotionally unstable, but really none of her emotions surface for anyone to notice. She rarely confides in people. But other people often confide in her. She is their go-to when things get tough or they've had a disagreement with a friend. She bears the burdens of many people including her own without complaining. I find that very admirable and strong. She doesn't seek control of a situation, but she has a servant's heart. And in her romance life, she allows the man to lead. That's not very popular in today's culture, but I like that. I think it's strong to trust someone else and let them have control. Real strength is often hidden.

           So what about you? What makes a female character strong? Who are your favorite strong or not so strong female characters?


The Book Chewers is a blog with a good crew of writers and readers. They eat books for breakfast. . . lunch and dinner. Dessert. In between time snacks. Well, you get the point. Inkheart is the current course of the month, so grab a plate and join the feast!


  1. I have trouble writing girl characters. I like them to be ladies, though not the sit back and scream when they could be helping the hero out, but also not the hanging off a building and insisting their fine when help is just a hand away. But when I meet a well done character, I fall in love with the book they are in.

    1. It is kind of odd when female charactes just stand there and scream, while the hero is getting beat to death and they are quite out of harm's way. Except in the Spiderman movies, Mary Jane always tries to help, but for some reason it always makes more trouble. I hate it when people do that to a female character who is at least trying to be helpful. She doesn't have to outshine the hero, but really, give the lady a little break.

      And good characters always make good books.


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