A post came out in the NewStatesmen today by Sophia McDougall called “I Hate Strong Female Characters.” A lot of you may have already seen it. It’s been shared by lots of people I know, I’ve seen links from several sources show up on my dash, and I RTed it myself earlier today.
I highly recommend you read it for yourself, but the gist of it is that Hollywood has taken the call for “more strong female characters” to mean that we literally want strong female characters. That THAT is the way to combat the stereotypical female characters that have always existed in Hollywood movies (i.e. damsel in distress, sexy eye candy, etc.) and provide appropriate representation for women in films and television (though this is much more a problem you see in movies than TV). Moreover, that the public also often misinterprets the idea of wanting “strong female characters” to mean this, and that male characters (protagonists in particular) are not held to this same intensely literal meaning when categorized as strong male characters. Male protagonists are allowed be a number of different, varying things, and strong in ways that may not always include or highlight physical (or mental or emotional) strength. And the post also brings up perhaps the worst offense of all, that female characters categorized as SFCs are often shown displaying excessive amounts of strength or physical aggression towards men in ways that would cause us as an audience to recoil if the roles were reversed and it was a man acting that way to a woman — the reason being that the audience assumes (or the people behind the film assume the audience assumes) the female character is “weak” until it is unequivocally proven otherwise, something the male characters don’t have to prove.
The article really covers everything, and I agree with it so very much, but this is something I’ve been thinking about incessantly for the past year or two, both in my writing and in watching things, so I’m gonna talk about it because it’s my tumblr and I want to.
Excellent response to the ‘Strong Female Characters’ article I linked to a while past