Strong Female Character

Forums Fiction Characters Strong Female Character

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    @princessfoo Ha! You thought you were stealing my hat, but you were just stealing a decoy made of construction paper and glitter glue! The real one is safely hidden in a safe inside a bank vault in the center of a labyrinth.


    *shameless self promotion* https://weridasusual.home.blog/


    @theresa-play Last night I was reminded of a strong female character I know from a show. She is a soldier, and a very good one. She is an excellent fighter and a sharp-shooter without equal. However, she follows her SO without any hesitation. She completely respects every single member of her team, she doesn’t rule over them and trusts them to do their job. Even though she is a tough soldier, willing to die for those she cares about, she has broken down crying when she thought her SO had been killed. She wasn’t ashamed for that either.

    When she’s not in her soldier’s uniform she’s always in a skirt, she loves playing and taking walks with her dog. She cares for two young brothers as if they were her own children. Her motherly instincts are extremely visible. In another life she would have liked to settle down and have a family, but she doesn’t feel like she deserves it after all that she’s done as a soldier.

    Long story short, she is definitely a strong character but is still most certainly a woman. My favorite character in that series actually.

    F.C. Tait

    @theresa-play Hey! The others have already given some great advice, but I just wanted to add one thing. A lot of people have said to remember that girls are still weaker than guys, and that is true, but as someone who does martial arts I just wanted to point out that a lot of fighting styles don’t rely on brute strength, so she absolutely can defeat the guys at a fight, as long as she isn’t doing it by picking them up with one hand or anything! 😛


    Strong or tough? There is a difference within these types of gals. I personally do not enjoy strong female characters *hates Rae from Star Wars*.

    One huge thing is making sure that she’s not a super woman, which is one of the things I hate about strong female characters. When the body building men fight for minutes, and the the teen girl comes in *whack whack whack* and it’s done.

    Not every girl raves about eye shadow, and not every girl shrieks when she sees a mouse.

    Just one huge thing is to really make sure that the women don’t hate men and see them as inferior. I hate that. I personally am one of those girls who carries fence posts and gets dirty in the great outdoors and wants to learn to sword fight, but I stand by the door waiting for my brother or dad to open it/teaches my 4yo brother to open the door for girls. As long as she’s not a male hater or feminist, I’m all for the girl who can shoot a target in the dark.

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    Theresa Play

    @skredder, @fctait, @ericawordsmith, thank you all

    "My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
    - C. S. Lewis


    If you wanted to play with foil characters, you could contrast her with another woman in the story by (not explicitly, of course) asking “what makes a strong female character? This girl who goes fighting, or [for example] the woman who bears half-a-dozen children of her own body and looks after them all while dealing with the effects of the Fall on her body (let’s face it, any woman who goes through pregnancy and survives is strong); or [for example] this girl who’s seen all the darkest, deadliest evil the world can throw at her and is still hopeful despite knowing how much the odds are against her?” Cos I kind of think there’s more than one way to be a truly strong woman, and foil characters might be a way to present a balanced view without being preachy about it? But you’ve already had a lot of good advice about, you know, letting her be a human first, and all that.

    The Inkspiller

    So, I don’t know how helpful my comment will be on this thread, as very good answers have already been presented. But I’ll give it a shot.

    My MC, Baroness Kyreleis, is a very atypical main character without even considering that she’s a woman of power in medieval Europe (look up Matilda of Tuscany for her much more moral real-life counterpart). For one, she’s not a very good-hearted person, even by the brutal standards of a Europe at war. She’s totally ruthless, and wouldn’t even blink an eye at enslaving or sacking a town to advance her personal wealth and power. Her redeeming qualities are primarily in her strict adherence to her personal code of honor and her (generally speaking) integrity and loyalty to family and oaths made in blood. As a military and political leader who is the ruler in her own right and not as a lord’s wife, she is by necessity required to embody masculine attributes to maintain her authority over her soldiers and subjects – to assure her soldiers that she is capable of leading them in battle, she has to don armor and fight with them, and to keep her political enemies at bay she cannot afford to be overly gentle or meek.

    Part of what makes her feminine (I hope!) and not just a man with lady parts is that she in some measure resents this role, even if she has come to thrill at conflict and battle. This was not how she would have wanted her life if she’d had a choice in it from the beginning. As much as she is a warrior and statesman, most of her scant personal time is spent brooding on unresolved questions of morality, justice, the conflicts she must face, and her unfulfilled desires. And while she is a ‘strong’ female character, she doesn’t resent men for being men, and she’s not just a voice of feminism in the medieval era; she accepts that she is an abnormality, and she didn’t want this authority in the first place. And while she is a skilled warrior, she acknowledges there are knights who are far better than her – she is a leader first, and a fighter second.

    I don’t know necessarily how helpful this was, but I suppose this is my conclusion:
    By nature, a female character who is known primarily for fighting is going to embody some masculine traits as a result of their occupation. But rather than simply glop on some happy girly things to balance the gender arithmetic, I would spend time meditating on how she got into this role of fighting for a living, why she fights, and how she copes with the stress of said constant conflict (men are physiologically adapted to be the hunters and warriors, and even we do not hold up particularly well under constant conflict. Also bear in the mind the culture of the world you’re writing in: in the West today, war is a horrifying experience that scars those who participate in it, but in the warrior cultures of antiquity, when battle was fought face to face in gruesome fashion, we do not have accounts of anything resembling modern PTSD – and they also did not value life nearly so much as we do nowadays.)

    That went on too long. 😛

    Non nobis Domine, sed nomini, Tuo da gloriam.

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