Reflection · Uncategorized · Writing

The True Definition Of Strong Female Characters

I don’t like them. I never did. Despite all feats of badassery they do, I rarely like them. Because they seem to always be cut from one mold, always being physically strong, sometimes outshining the male characters.

But they often fail to be real characters that I can relate to. To me, the definition of strength isn’t in how they break the mold of society. It is how they are true to themselves. Regardless of what the world thinks of them. Or expects them to think and behave.

That’s why for female characters, I want them to have diverse personalities. I want them to be as different as possible, and I seek to do it. Because I want to show that a girl can be herself, rather than try to conform to what we see or read. Because those standards are impossible, and not all will fit into the mold.

And that to me, strength is all about being able to do things the way you want it. Even with backlash, you make your own choices regardless of how others perceive you. And when others remove that right from you you choose to stand up. Not let yourself be taken over.

To me, being strong is all about able to make a choice that is what we want, and never fitting into the expectations of society. And being able to weather the consequences of our choices, face our inner demons no matter how large or trivial it is.

It is about not letting others dismiss us, belittle us just because we don’t make a choice that is either admirable or normal. It is about being ourselves, never letting society or another person dominate us, control us.

That to me is real strength. But not a lot manage to do it. Show a female character who breaks this reality, that we can and should act in a way that satisfy ourselves, because we have a right to do so. Even if it is not normal for them to do so.

So, what do you think defines a strong female character. Leave them in the comments below.

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7 thoughts on “The True Definition Of Strong Female Characters

  1. Literally, the best I’ve read all day. I read lots of shoujo and josei manga where authors genuinely try to present a strong female character (like in Maid Sama…), but they focus on quantifiable qualities like physical strength, intelligence, or confidence to like you say, outshine the men–and they often come across as misandrists. Their femininity is also often stripped away, which suggests that feminine does not equal strong, when it definitely can and does. I personally think a strong female is true to herself and no one else–she doesn’t need to overcome some huge obstacle or challenge to prove it because a truly strong female character has nothing to prove.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same, I fully agree with that. One manga which does it so right I believe is Gintama which ironically is a shounen. But it encompasses the fact that girls can be loud, demanding, childish, terrifying, competitive, masochistic, and still be known as good role models. Mostly because they are girls with both strengths and weaknesses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t read Gintama since I only read and watch the shounen that my boyfriend recommends xP but I’ll definitely check it out since it’s so popular and most of the critical praise has been directed at the character development. I’d love to see more realistic girl characters in mange and other literature instead of these over-hyped, idealized ‘dolls.’

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree, the main female character Kagura is already more realistic, albeit a little exaggerated, but still she isn’t just strong, she has a myriad of flaws which can be seen in her character, as well as the fact that she is one of the most straightforward characters I have seen(both a good thing and bad thing). And for once, her character arc has been done, finished in a very satisfying manner, which does justice to her character and her role in the story.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree. All too often a “strong female character” is just a male character in women’s clothes. The one that got to me the most was a police captain on the TV series Castle. She demanded that everyone call her “sir.” The character was very much a woman trying to emulate a man, rather than being her own person. On the flip side, done right, strong female leads are always my favorite characters. Ellen Ripley. Princess Leia. Motoko Kusanagi. San from Princess Mononoke. Tauriel from the Hobbit films. These characters just feel like they are who they are supposed to be, regardless of gender or sex. They can be strong in a fight, but motherly and caring, empathetic and intuitive. That complexity is what makes them great. Nice topic! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and yes what I want is both real, complex human characters not caricatures or represnetstjlns. And recently, I hear that Black Panther holds all of these aspects, in comparison to Wonder Woman (having real, flawed women who play a role, who refuse to let themselves be sidelined, and don’t care about beauty standards) and the other is Gintama(where girls can be loud, aggressive, forceful, dirty-minded and still be seen as functional human beings.) And the irony is that both of this are aimed towards men, which somehow without a female main character, allowed female characters to become far more complex than if it is lead by a girl. It is one of the most astounding things I have just realized.

      Liked by 1 person

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