I’ll have to admit, this is a pet peeve of mine. Writers specifically writing to make girls weak. While this is becoming less of an issue, at least in some fields of the story telling, there is still a significant portion that still treat the female character as something to contrast with the male. Where the male is a heroic go getter, the female is a docile creature who’s main function appears to be cheering on said male. In some cases it’s actually worse when the author tries to make a heroic female character, and this is actually what I’m going to be writing on at the moment.
What I actually saw this in first was a manga. The Japanese have some real cultural issues with letting women be strong and independent. They’re a sort of extreme where a strong woman should in fact be relying on a man to be stronger. That’s something that I absolutely hate. There are many examples of this in their culture, and specifically in their writing and manga. Even if a female character will start out strong, its usually just a matter of time before she’s broken down enough that she has to rely on the help, or just rely in general on the male protagonist. And it annoys the heck out of me. Why is the author purposefully breaking down such a strong character? To make her into a proper woman of course. This does bring me to another point, though. One of the reasons I think that we don’t see more strong female protagonists in stories is that culture has yet to fully accept females in this role. Japan is just an extreme example of this. Or maybe not. With so many female writers out there, why are there so many writing weak female leads in stories? Or even weak female sides? I don’t mind if the female is a secondary character as long as she isn’t a useless bit of eye candy for the male protagonist. If she’s a character, I want her to be capable, or at least plausibly incapable. I despise the weak subservient female who has no reason for being so. I despise the female whose only purpose is to be a baby machine, and has not purpose outside of the male characters. And yes, I do that there are real life people like this. It makes me extremely angry.
For the note of female characters that I like, I would direct you to Robin McKinley. She is my favorite author, both for her characters, and for her worlds. Her females have depth, character, purpose. And I love her to death for it. The fact that they kick butt is actually just a bonus (okay, more than a bonus, they’re what make the stories truly awesome). Her characters and those of Patricia C. Wrede are what inspired me to be a writer. I’m still waiting for the day when I can mail Robin a copy of whatever I’ve written with the cover signed “You inspired me.” My female characters will have purpose, and they will kick butt. If they have a male friend, it’s because they want to, not because they need to. That’s what I believe.
Remember, that girl in the corner might just kick your butt.
Comments are appreciated. They make me feel loved.