leah's stupid life

Thoughts on female characters…

You might have noticed, because I’ve done little else but talk about it ever since, but I released an ebook last week. I’ve had some lovely comments on it already, but I think this might be the one that I appreciate the most:

photo (3)

This little texted review reminded me of a Joss Whedon interview. The quote I’m thinking of goes like so:

Interviewer: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
Joss: Because you’re still asking me that question. 

There is a lot of talk about women’s rights, and although I don’t think this is the right forum for that, I do believe that more should be done to shoot down this insane idea that men and women aren’t equal, and one way that this can be done is through the fictional characters that we see in literature and other such things. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I write characters, especially female ones, I write the kind of characters that I want to read about. I was lucky enough to grow up with the incredible Harry Potter series, which meant that the main fictional girls I had to look up to were some of the strongest ever created; Hermione Granger, intelligent, strong, independent, a girl who didn’t need a man to validate her. I had Luna Lovegood, I had Molly Weasley. Even evil characters like Bellatrix Lestrange were strong and as the comment above says “bad ass.”
The problem I find is that there seems to be a serious lack of strong female role models in literature today. Chick lit read by women all over the world feature girls who’s aim in life is to find a man and the belief that once they have found that man their lives will be complete (see Bridget Jones and every other chick lit book ever.) That’s not even starting on the list of problems that I have with Bella Swan and Ana Steele and the impact that those characters are having on girls. When you have a best selling novel that features characters that allow themselves to get into an abusive situation that they then claim to be happy with, it sets a bad example to the readers who think that this is model behaviour. Every now and again we’ll get a Katniss (The Hunger Games), a Liesel (The Book Thief) or a Lisbeth (Millenium trilogy) to balance it out but it does worry me that there I come across so few strong female characters, which is why I like to write girls who can stand up for themselves, who don’t need to be anyone’s other half, who can kick ass and take names all by themselves because that’s what I want to see in a book. That is what I want to influence me.


4 thoughts on “Thoughts on female characters…”

  1. I read a journal article the other day about strong women in Harry Potter that essentially argued that there were no strong women in Harry Potter — or that they could have been stronger. The author made a convincing argument (like that Hermione exists as a foil to Harry, and that Ginny is barely in the story), but I’m not convinced. I’ve been thinking about it A LOT lately. I’m with you. I think they are strong characters. If I can figure out my thoughts in an organized manner, maybe I’ll write a little something of my own on the topic!

    1. Yes do! I do think there is an argument for Hermione being foil for the boys and Ginny pining over Harry for most of the series is an argument against too, but I think in comparison to some of the female characters churned out today they are stronger than most! I would love to see your thoughts on it too! This post was a very rambly one! I have far too many opinions on the subject to word it properly!

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