Tag Archives: characters

“Strong” female characters, and why they’re bad for women

For all the writers reading along (and anyone else with an interest in the mechanics of modern storytelling), here’s a post at Overthinking It which cuts into the cardboard portrayals of “strong” women in modern film and television (and, by extension, in books). In a nutshell, a half-hearted accommodation of feminist demands has led to the “hottie with manskills” stereotype – which is a step up from the Damsel In Distress, but still massively unrepresentative of the spectrum of real people in the world.

… the feminists shouldn’t have said “we want more strong female characters.”  They should have said “we want more WEAK female characters.”  Not “weak” meaning “Damsel in Distress.”  “Weak” meaning “flawed.”

Good characters, male or female, have goals, and they have flaws.  Any character without flaws will be a cardboard cutout.  Perhaps a sexy cardboard cutout, but two-dimensional nonetheless.  And no, “Always goes for douchebags instead of the Nice Guy” (the flaw of Megan Fox’s character in Transformers) is not a real flaw.  Men think women have that flaw, but most women avoid “Nice Guys” because they just aren’t that nice.  So that doesn’t count.

So what flaws can female characters have?  Uh, I don’t know.  How about the same flaws a male character would have?

Written with plenty of snark, but that’s why it works. Essential reading for any writer, I’d say, if not for everyone. [via GeekFeminism]